CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJanuary 25, 2019


Professional salaries in the UK will remain relatively flat in 2019, as Britain’s pending departure from the EU impacts employee confidence and business willingness to spend.

The findings come from the annual Salary Survey produced by global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.

“Uncertainty around Brexit has created a fear of ‘last in first out,’ which in turn has meant that employees are less willing to move roles as swiftly as they would have in previous years,” states Chris Hickey, CEO of the UK, Middle East & Africa at Robert Walters.

“As a result, despite there being high demand for specialist and highly skilled professionals, companies are finding themselves contending with a UK-wide candidate shortage across most disciplines.”

The news will not be met with a warm reception, as almost half (46 percent) of professionals currently believe that companies do not offer a competitive enough salary, according to recent Robert Walters survey.

However, in-spite of Brexit there will be pockets of intense hiring activity and salary increases within banking and financial services – driven by demand for skills such as compliance, risk, and audit.

In fact, salaries in Internal Audit are expected to rise by as much as 20 percent across all levels. For those in the Risk sector, starting salaries (1-3 yrs’ exp) will see a five percent growth, with this increasing at each level to 8-10 percent for those with 7-10 yrs’ exp.

It seems it is a good time to be a professional in the West Midlands, with qualified accountants expecting a 10-20% rise, and HR professionals expecting a 10% rise in salaries this year.

As one of the fastest-growing markets across the whole of the UK – growing at three times the rate of the main economy – tech seems to be the shining light for the North West, in particular in Manchester where IT salaries in the region have increased by 20 percent.

Despite employees becoming risk averse, Robert Walters data shows that it has been ‘business as usual’ for companies, with the number of jobs being advertised remaining unchanged.

“Whilst trade may be consistent, freezes on spending have been commonplace for most companies, making it difficult for hiring managers to lure candidates into job offers without an increase in pay,” said Chris.

“To counter this, businesses have been investing in themselves and their own infrastructure, in order to become a more all-round appealing place to work.”

According to Robert Walters research, 75 percent of Millennials consider an engaging and fun workplace an important part of their job.

Chris added: “It will continue to be a competitive market in 2019 and so in order to attract top talent and high-performing millennials, companies should invest in their employer brand and improve softer benefits including flexi-hours and the workplace environment.”

Career progression (91 percent), brand personality & cultural fit (58 percent), rate at which company adopts new technologies (42 percent), a sociable team culture (30 percent), and job satisfaction (25 percent) are considered the most valuable to the Millennial workforce – outside of pay.

“Our advice to businesses facing candidate shortages is to be flexible and consider hiring professionals with transferrable skills. Companies should consider taking on candidates who are ambitious and fast learners, even if they are not an exact fit for the job description, in order to support areas of growth within the business,” said Chris.

A number of companies have already started to gear up for a post-Brexit market by setting up offices in major cities within Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxembourg.

Chris said: “The UK still offers some of the most competitive salaries in Europe, however it will not surprise me to see more and more professionals move to other European countries who are known for their work-life balance and lifestyle.

“It is crucial now more than ever that employers focus on retention and maintaining headcount – variety in the job role, cross-training, secondments and lateral moves will all help retention rates with less cost to businesses when compared to introducing pay increases.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 21, 2019


Mental health in the workplace remains a difficult subject, with most professionals uncomfortable discussing issues with colleagues, research has found.

The findings are included in a whitepaper from recruitment consultancy Robert Walters ahead of Blue Monday (21 January), which is commonly cited as the most “depressing” day of the year where people are said to feel at their lowest due to a combination of factors including Christmas debt and weather.

The report shows that 76 percent of professionals believe people at their place of work would be uncomfortable discussing mental health – citing anxiety of how they might be perceived by co-workers (82 percent); concerns over harm to career prospects (78 percent); embarrassment (76 percent); and fears they would not be trusted with more responsibility (69 percent).

Less than a quarter (23 percent) “strongly agree” that attitudes towards mental health in the workplace have changed in recent years.

Almost 80 percent of employees claim that management simply “making clear that mental health is a priority” would be a highly effective strategy in removing the barrier to talk. However, only a third (36 percent) of management feel that this approach would be necessary or effective.

According to the research, only half of UK employers have a mental health policy in place, despite the fact that 97 percent of professionals believe their employer has a responsibility to support the mental health and wellbeing of staff.

Chris Hickey, UK CEO at Robert Walters, said: “In our own industry we have seen a shift in professionals (88 percent) wanting to know more about a prospective employers approach towards mental health and wellbeing. However many employees (64 percent) are finding this information difficult to come by, not helped by the fact that just three percent of companies mention their mental wellbeing strategies in job adverts.

“As a result, more and more professionals (42 percent) are resorting to using employer review sites to find out about an organisations mental health policy.”

Only 17 percent of employers currently have a partnership in place with an external (mental health or wellbeing) organisation, despite most companies (89 percent) recognising the benefits it would bring. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of general staff – outside of HR – receive mental health training.

Chris Hickey continued: “Just six percent of hiring managers specifically recruit staff with expertise in mental health, and of these less then 10 percent feel that their skills are being used as effectively as possible.

“In addition to reviewing the recruitment process in order to seek professionals with specific skills and experience of dealing with mental health barriers in the workplace, employers should review their current workforce to identify staff who already possess expertise in the field and help to train them up.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 10, 2019


Poorly organised meetings are costing time and money for the UK’s employees, a new report has found.

Online scheduling platform Doodle has released its The Doodle State of Meetings Report 2019, based on data and new research conducted with 6,528 professionals in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and the USA.

It found that employees in the four countries spend two hours every week in “pointless” meetings, adding up to 13 days over the course of a year. The average professional has three meetings each week, with an average duration of one hour per meeting. Those surveyed felt that two thirds of the meetings they attend are unnecessary.

Poorly organised meetings are seen as the biggest cost to their organisation by 40 percent of UK staff.

Over a quarter of all respondents (26 percent) stated that poorly organised meetings impacted their client relationships, while others feel they create confusion in the workplace (43 percent), and impact their ability to actually do their work (44 percent).

Supporting this is the finding that a third (33 percent) of professionals find themselves unable to contribute to most of the meetings they attend – suggesting over-invitation is a major waste of time at work.

Responding to the findings, Dr Sankalp Chaturvedi, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at Imperial College London, described what makes a good meeting.

He said: “The secret of a successful and time-efficient meeting is preparation. The agenda mustn’t be too long. Otherwise there’s a risk of spending too much time on the first items and later items are rushed. The agenda should be circulated well in advance, including the goals of what is expected from the meeting, and specific detail on the subjects and time allocation.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 9, 2019


Bigger UK businesses should pick up the childcare tab for employees, according to a new survey of parents.

Research commissioned by Cuckooz Nest, a workspace with integrated nursery and sister company to Cuckooz, has found that 85 percent of parents believe companies with over 250 employees should subsidise the childcare costs they incur.

The survey of working parents also found that 91 percent of parents think the government should provide tax relief on childcare costs from an earlier age in order to encourage parents to return to work earlier if they should so wish.

The availability and affordability of childcare is a big issue and 46 percent of those surveyed stated that the cost of childcare in relation to their salary was the biggest obstacle when returning to work after having a child.

Flexibility was the second largest obstacle at 28 percent with just 15 percent stating separation from their child as the hardest barrier when returning to work.

Fifty percent of fathers stated that finance was the biggest blocker when considering shared parental leave, with 34 percent also worried about the risk to their career. Although 52 percent said that they were happy to wait until their child was between the ages of one and two before returning to work, 65 percent would return sooner if they could access more flexible childcare arrangements.

The issue of affordability and flexibility can also impact the career opportunities open to parents, with 52 percent only willing to commute for up to 30 minutes and 39 percent for just an hour.

Charlie Rosier, Co-Founder of Cuckooz Nest, said: “Childcare has always been a hot topic and while parents want to secure the best option possible for their child, the lack of flexibility and the high cost of doing so can often mean this just isn’t the case.

“We’ve seen the difference on-site childcare can have first-hand via Cuckooz Nest when facilitating new mums and dads, their early return to work and the positive impact it brings. But for many, this isn’t a luxury they can afford and more has to be done to breach this financial barrier to provide flexible, affordable childcare for everyone. Of course, there are changes the government can make but we really want to see Britain’s big businesses take the lead and get behind this initiative, whether it’s to provide an on-site nursery or to subsidise the cost for its employees.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 8, 2019


Employee Experience will continue to be a major factor in business success in 2019, according to a new US report that reveals staff will look elsewhere for work if professional development opportunities are not offered.

Recruitment firm The Execu|Search Group has released its 2019 Hiring Outlook titled, The Employee Experience: 4 Ways To Attract, Engage, & Retain Employees In Today’s Competitive Market. The report, which provides insights into the factors that most impact employee engagement and well-being, aims to help employers navigate today’s candidate-driven market.

It offers recommendations for improving the Employee Experience, from hiring to retention, and found that 66 percent of surveyed workers are not planning to remain at their current organisation in the long-term.

It highlights that 86 percent of professionals said that they would change jobs if they were offered more opportunities for professional development, while 66 percent said that there isn’t much support for those wishing to take on leadership roles.

In the findings, professionals ranked support from leadership/management as the most important element of company culture, while it revealed that employers are falling short when it comes to the all-important work-life balance.

A total of 45 percent of employees do not feel their employer promotes a healthy work-life balance, and 71 percent said they would change jobs if they were offered flexible scheduling in a new role.

Edward Fleischman, CEO of The Execu|Search Group, said: “With professionals in the driver’s seat, they’re commanding more than just higher salaries. Professionals consider their careers an integral part of their lives and they expect their job to provide meaning. Top performers who do not feel engaged or supported at work will be first to leave, so our 2019 Hiring Outlook is meant to provide employers with tools for creating a culture focused on building a strong Employee Experience.”

Entries are now open for the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards, which will take place in London in May. Click here to find out more on how to enter.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 3, 2019


The UK workforce is increasingly keen for companies to offer them more team-based perks such as company sports teams, according to new research.
A study of 2,315 UK workers published in the 2018 Great Perk Search Report by UK Customer Experience Awards winners Perkbox shows that employees today are eager for bosses to offer them incentives that they can enjoy with their colleagues, such as sports-based activities.

These workplace benefits are higher prized than more traditional ones which are enjoyed in isolation – sabbatical opportunities (64/100), duvet days (75/100) and free days off for your birthday (85/100) – scoring 75/100 on average.

Of those who are interested in sports-based workplace activities, more than 1 in 7 (15 percent) said they would enjoy a company fitness challenge undertaken with colleagues, such as a marathon or cycling peloton.
Interestingly, the data revealed how offering these sports benefits can have a clear impact on businesses’ productivity and recruitment costs – 27 percent said they would feel more loyal to the company, 20 percent would feel more productive and even 18 percent said they would be less likely to leave.

It has a positive impact on the workforce too – more than one-in-four (29 percent) admitted they felt workplace sports teams were fun, as well as quite simply being enjoyable (27 percent).

Despite the popularity of these kind of benefits and the positive impact they can have on boosting employee engagement and wellbeing, only a small number ( five percent) revealed their workplace offers a benefit of this nature.

Chieu Cao, CMO & Co-Founder at Perkbox, said: “It’s interesting to see that workplace sports teams are rated so highly by UK employees, and how these are proving more popular than more traditional perks like duvet days, free days off for your birthday and sabbatical opportunities – all of which are enjoyed alone and not with the rest of the workforce.

“This highlights a shift in how people want to be rewarded and interact with their team. This is especially interesting at a time when a lot of industries involve less face to face interaction than ever before. Although workers are more virtually connected and social than before, clearly this is making them value real-world connections with their colleagues more than they have previously.

“Successful businesses rely on employees working together cohesively and these types of team perks really help to make this a reality – as the sense of team and the interpersonal skills they promote will be carried into day to day work too. This is good news for many employers because sports-based perks can actually have positive implications for both the workforce and the company on a broader scale. Sports-based activities improve morale, team-building skills and health and wellbeing.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 19, 2018


Employees could be missing out on opportunities to strengthen office relationships, as new research has revealed how most workers don’t present their boss with a token gift at the end of the year.

A study of 1,000 UK workers published in the Most Generous Time of the Year Study by UK Customer Experience Award winners Perkbox, the UK’s fastest growing employee benefits platform, revealed that 90 percent of employees don’t gift their boss a present during the Christmas season.

This is in contrast to 70 percent of generous bosses who purchase a gift for their workforce at Christmas. Only a small few (11 percent) confessed they do it to benefit themselves at work, make their boss think favourably of them and improve their relationship with their boss, suggesting many could be missing a trick.

More than one-in-five (21 percent) workers said they present a gift to their manager simply just to be nice. Of those who give a token gift to their boss, this is a considerable amount as employees spend £15 on average.

Chieu Cao, CMO & Co-Founder at Perkbox, said: “With Christmas being the season of goodwill, it is a long-served tradition for employers to offer a token gift to their employees to thank them for their efforts throughout the past year. But what is surprising from our research is how many employees don’t return the favour.

“However, this can present a challenge as every workplace culture is different, so it can be difficult to determine what gift etiquette is appropriate. In light of this, employees should get a feel for protocol when it comes to gift giving to their boss in their workplace at Christmas. If an employee doesn’t feel comfortable buying a present for their boss by themselves, then why not club together with the rest of the workforce to buy a group present? It simply requires one person to get the gift organised and by purchasing it together you will be able to spend a little more and can choose from a range of options.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 18, 2018


One of the world’s biggest breakfast cereal brands has undergone an Employee Experience transformation inspired by one of their most iconic products.

General Mills, the 150-year-old US-based maker of Cheerios, has spent the last three years transforming their HR experience, focusing on creating consistency for their over 38,000 employees in 30 different countries. Working with software firm ServiceNow, they created a digital transformation for their HR experience which they claim was inspired by its flagship cereal.

“Cheerios were created in the 1940s. They were intended to be a transition from a hot cereal (oatmeal, porridge, and such), to a new kind of platform: cold cereal with milk. It was an innovative feat at the time because no one had made that leap yet,” said Lynsey Wherry, Vice President of Talent Acquisition & HR Strategy at General Mills.

She and her team worked with ServiceNow to build a new online portal called G&Me to help employees help themselves with HR issues, and easy avenues to escalate issues that require more hands-on support.

“They have this incredibly well known iconic brand that millions of people see and use every day,” Jennifer Stroud, Transformation Leader at ServiceNow, said.

“Memories are built around these General Mills brands, Cheerios being one of the most well known. They understood this, and they took that whole concept of the simplicity of Cheerios and all that it meant to really help think about what they wanted to design for their employees.

“General Mills has done an amazing job of putting the employee really in the centre of their design strategy. Not just thinking about the employee of today, but thinking about the employee of tomorrow, the future generations that are going to come. They realised that their operating model was not going to be sustainable, and that it wasn’t going allow them to compete for the types of talent that they knew they were going to need to continue to be this great successful organisation.”

Deepak Rammohan Bharadwaj, VP and GM for ServiceNow’s HR Business Unit, added: “We focus on those moments that matter for employees. We help them work through that journey through those moments, whether it’s professional, you’re being transferred, having a baby, leaving the company, you got married, those types of things,”

In August, General Mills announced that as of January 1, 2019 they will be expanding paid maternity leave to 18 – 20 weeks and parental leave to 12 weeks, as well as improving bereavement, caregiver, and disability benefits for employees. This follows trends in the market; Kellogg’s increased paid maternity leave from 10 to 14 weeks in 2017.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 17, 2018


The quality of workplace benefits provided by an organisation can significantly contribute towards the happiness and retention of existing employees.

Likewise, when recruiting, the generosity of a benefits package will have a bearing on the appeal of a business to prospective candidates. Given the positive impact workplace benefits can have on employees, such as improved morale and engagement, it is imperative organisations get their offering right.

Yet, according to research conducted by renowned recruitment company Michael Page, 64 percent of employees feel businesses are investing in expensive benefits that they neither want, need nor use. Interested in job satisfaction, training and qualification firm analysed findings from professional services company Capita, who surveyed 1,894 UK employees to better understand and discover the workplace benefits they most want.

The Knowledge Academy found that UK employees would most like employers to have private medical insurance (42.7 percent) as a part of their benefits package. Thereafter, employees are keen to receive retail vouchers (35.0 percent) to spend at some of their favourite brands. Moreover, life insurance (34.5 percent) and private dental insurance (32.1 percent) feature prominently at the top of the benefits employees place a high value on.

With people more health-conscious than ever before, it’s perhaps unsurprising 30.3 percent of workers think gym membership should be included in any benefits package offered by an employer. On the other end of the scale, gadget insurance cover (e.g. phones, tablets, laptops etc) is the least desired workplace benefit by employees in the UK at 16.3 percent. Slightly above that, 18.5 percent of British employees consider personal accident cover as an important inclusion in a company’s benefits selection.

In addition to this, the Knowledge Academy sought to determine the benefits employees would be most willing to pay for out their own pocket if an employer did not have a given one. From this, travel insurance (43.4 percent) was established as the benefit workers would most pay for themselves if an employer did not make it inclusive in their benefits packet. Life insurance (38.2 percent) and gym membership (28.9 percent) also ranked highly as the workplace benefits employees would be more than happy to splash their own cash on if an employer did not provide them.

Despite being the two most wanted benefits, only 16.6 percent and 12.8 percent of employees would respectively get private medical insurance and retail vouchers if it meant dipping into their own wallet to do so. Contrastingly, even though 26.3 percent of employees would like their employer to give them the opportunity to get regular health screenings, just 8.7 percent would go to one on their own accord. Similarly, only a small percentage would independently fork out on income protection (11.4 percent) and personal accident cover (11 percent) – though neither had a huge demand from employees for companies to provide them in their benefits offering (income protection cover 20.3 percent and personal accident cover 18.5 percent) to begin with.

Joseph Scott, a spokesperson for the, said: “The professional working environment for many employees is more than just about getting the work in hand done and earning a salary. Alongside the enjoyment they gain from their respective role, how well they are treated beyond the monetary level contributes heavily towards their overall job satisfaction. Consequently, this research indicates that employers should be aware of this and aim to have a mix of lifestyle as well as insurance-based products in their employee benefits offering. Additionally, they should take the responsibility to make workers aware of all the benefits available to them and which ones would be best suited to their individual needs.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 12, 2018


Recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that almost 600,000 workers are suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018, with 15.4 million working days lost due to work-related stress this year.

With the year coming to an end, Reboot Digital Marketing Agency has investigated the most common reasons why Brits felt stress at work in 2018 and the ways in which they’ve decided to deal with it.

A survey asking 1,274 employees about the most common work stressors revealed interesting figures.

The top work stressor Brits had in 2018 was an excessive workload, with 84 percent saying this was the biggest cause of worry for them this year. Unrealistic expectations came second at 79 percent, as employees feel overwhelmed by the need to constantly impress their superiors.

Seventy-six percent of employees taking part in the survey have been bothered by a co-worker’s lack of competence, while 72 percent struggle to find a work-life balance.

Other stressors that made the list were: lack of progression opportunities (63 percent), lack of job security (59 percent) and a negative company culture (42 percent).

When it comes to the ways in which employees dealt with stress at work this year, the results show the following: 76 percent of people taking part in the survey have confessed that they destress by complaining to another person, whether it’s a friend, family or even a co-worker, while 70 percent admit to taking frequent toilet breaks to get away from their work space. Some have resorted to actively searching for a new job (66 percent) while others have asked to work from home (44 percent).

Other ways employees dealt with work-related stress in 2018 include simply stopping caring (37 percent) and taking regular baths to destress (12 percent).

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