Motivation staff ‘key challenge in 2013’

Employment relations service Acas has highlighted motivating and engaging employees as key challenges for employers in 2013.

Looking forward over the next 12 months, John Taylor, Acas chief executive, said that with the economy still struggling, there could be increasing tensions and conflict around pay, adding: “Pressure on employers to keep wage costs under control could clash with the desire by employees to catch up with the cost of living.

“Motivating and engaging staff by other ways rather than pay will therefore be a challenge and may require employers to be more inventive.

“One way of engaging with staff may be to offer more flexible working arrangements. The government is proposing to extend the right to request flexible working to everyone, not just parents and carers. Acas will be producing a new code of practice and consulting on this in the new year.”

Mr Taylor added that the growth in outsourcing in recent years also presented challenges for employment relations.

He said: “This looks set to continue and businesses will be managing groups of employees with different terms and conditions. Moreover, those employers further down the subcontracting chain are likely to have less control over the terms and conditions of their direct employees.”

Mr Taylor said employers needed to develop channels for employees to be heard, so that concerns could be aired early on to tackle potential conflict. He added: “Consultation is particularly important where there are business transfers.

“Our experience suggests that disputes are far more drawn out in these situations as negotiations extend beyond the direct employer and trade union relationship as terms and conditions are renegotiated with the client as well.”

Link: Acas advice and guidance