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A lack of communication in the workplace is the single biggest reason why employees want to leave their jobs, according to a survey conducted by leading employment law consultancy Peninsula.

In a survey of 1,000 employees across the UK, 47% of the respondents said that managers fail to communicate with them regularly. Lack of communication related to not including them in key business changes, failing to provide clear objectives regarding their role and not providing an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

The survey, which aimed to examine the state of employee engagement within UK businesses also revealed that 41% of employees want more opportunities to develop within their company. Nearly two thirds (62%) of workers aged 45-60 felt like are being left behind in the workplace with no visible development plan, compared to 21% of 18-24 year olds.  Respondents also called for employers to offer more flexible working opportunities (36%), most prevalent amongst females (67%) who would like their employers to be more flexible regarding their need to balance work with personal commitments including looking after a child or significant other.

Alan Price, a senior director at Peninsula, said: “With the recent changes in employment law, including the controversial introduction of the National Living Wage, and with the uncertainty surrounding the EU Referendum, keeping employees engaged at work has never been more crucial. Furthermore, as UK productivity remained static in 2015, 20% below the average for G7 countries, gaining insight into why employees may be unhappy at work and developing an action plan to improve this should be a focal point for all employers. Our research indicates that many companies still have a long way to go in achieving this.

“Management play a pivotal role in fostering a positive workplace culture that gives employees a sense of value and involvement. Engagement generally begins with a solid employer-employee relationship built upon clear and open channels of communication. It is important to make an effort to keep employees in the loop regarding company news, to check in regularly with how they are doing and to seek their business-related suggestions and ideas. This goes a long way in making employees feel appreciated, valued and respected.”

Mr Price added: “It surprises me that more employers aren’t focussed on developing their staff. Recruiting the right candidates can take a considerable amount of time and money, so it only makes sense to ensure that you are doing what you can to enhance your employees skills. Age shouldn’t be a factor in whether employees are given the opportunity to progress. Every employee can bring value to your business and as such should be treated equally.

“Flexible working, on the other hand has always caused contention amongst employers. However, in certain situations flexible working can be beneficial to employers and employees alike. Employers reduce the risk of losing valued employees and employees have the personal benefits of being able to develop a good work-life balance.”