Keeping employees happy has suddenly become much more challenging — so says Conor Skehan in the second year of the this Sunday’s Sunday Independent’s Ireland’s 150 Best Employers annual.
He’s right, of course — and if you’d like some illumination on the reasons why, this publication has it in spades in the Sunday Independent and on Independent.ie
For me, if there are two big takeaways, they are that employees have never been in such a strong position, and Covid-19 has changed everything even more than we thought possible this time last year, when the first edition of Ireland’s Best Employers was published.
Six of the top 10 companies on our list are tech multinationals. Apart from paying extremely well (Google’s average salary in Ireland is pushing €100,000), what did these companies do to win such impressive employee approval in our latest list?
In Sunday’s publication in print and online, Adrian Weckler argues they all had one thing in common: they handled the pandemic well. I’m sure that’s the case with the vast majority of our 150 best employers, but clearly some did better than others in keeping employees happy and fulfilled at a time of unprecedented upheaval.
Thoughtful gestures to make staff feel valued go a long way. Perhaps it’s a reflection on the media industry, but after 30 years in this business I had never heard of a “care package” until they suddenly started arriving at the front door on a regular basis during the lockdowns, courtesy of my then new employer, Mediahuis Ireland, owner of the Sunday Independent and Independent.ie. Delivering such packages to a large number of employees might hit the bottom line, but these days the name of the game is employee retention — and it’s clear companies are being judged very differently by the modern workforce.
For starters, if you pointblank refuse to offer employees any flexibility in their working week, you can expect a high turnover of staff (and don’t expect to find a place in our top 150 any time soon, or ever).
Also in Sunday’s package, Recruiter Barry Whelan tells Gabrielle Monaghan that more than half of the employers his firm surveyed intend to offer pay increases this year.
“It’s getting very, very like the Celtic Tiger,” he says, somewhat alarmingly. “Companies are doing as much as they can to retain staff. Employees are looking to move jobs for greater work-life balance and a change of scene and we’re seeing spectacular counter-offers from employers.”
The list of companies is compiled in partnership with Statista, one of the world’s leading statistical companies, which identified more than 1,100 employers with a staff of more than 200, the minimum level to qualify for inclusion. For reasons of objectivity, the only company of that size excluded from consideration was Mediahuis Ireland.
The world of work is changing rapidly. I hope Sunday’s print supplement and online content will give you a good sense of why — and what’s next for employers and employees.