By Maximilian Clarke

Three quarters of companies are struggling to recruit top talent despite the growing unemployment figures, a recent survey of HR Directors and business leaders reveals.

In addition 62% of The Curve Group’s survey respondents said they had also seen an increase of absenteeism due to stress over the last two years.

In response to questioning about how best to spend money on engaging with employees, over half of said that their strategy would be to invest in leadership development to create clear direction for their organisations. Surprisingly only in 1 in 10 companies would increase salaries or pay larger bonuses, while just 1 in 20 companies would hire additional personnel to relieve pressure on the workforce.

Perhaps the most interesting result of the survey was the focus on the need to develop organisational leaders in order to have a significant impact on employee engagement. For many organisations this represents a change in priorities. Resources for HR programmes have been squeezed and so finding cost effective options for developing internal leaders to drive employee engagement rather than investing in employee benefits has come to the fore.

“These figures indicate some of the challenges facing employers in times of economic uncertainty,” Lyndsey Simpson, Co-owner of The Curve Group said. “Redundancies or headcount freezes put pressure on the remaining workforce, leading to increased levels of stress. At the same time those who have a job often feel they should remain in a ‘safe’ position rather than risk moving, thus reducing the talent pool.”

Simpson continued, “While this shift is understandable in the short term, the danger is in neglecting the needs of the wider workforce — which may contain the stars of tomorrow - and leads to potential disengagement and reduced levels of output.”

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