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New research finds flexible working aids recruitment – but may not stop resignations

Date Posted: 4 May, 2022
New research finds flexible working aids recruitment – but may not stop resignations


A new study by HR software provider CIPHR has found that employers offering flexible working may gain a recruitment advantage. At the same time however, the option to work from home may not be enough to stop current employees resigning.

The research was undertaken in the midst of what has been described as ‘the great resignation’. According to a separate report by IPSOS, around 47% of UK workers are currently considering leaving their job.

To gain a deeper insight into staff recruitment and retention, and a highly competitive talent market, researchers at CIPHR carried out a survey of over 330 British employers. The findings were startling, as nearly 75% reported an increase in employees voluntarily resigning over the last year. Just over 70% said they’d found recruitment more challenging.

Focus on flexible working

The CIPHR study also focused on the impact of flexible working on talent retention and recruitment.

It emerged that:

  • For employers whose staff mostly work from home (over 60% of the working week), only 51% reported new recruitment challenges over the last 12 months.
  • For those whose team members work from home less than 60% of the week, this rose to 71%.
  • 27% of companies whose staff work remotely 100% of the time have found that recruitment over the last year has been easier. This is compared to just 8% for firms which offer no flexible working at all.

Not such a clear-cut picture for retention

When it comes to talent retention, it appears that flexible working alone isn’t enough to keep employees from leaving.

The research found that 82% of companies whose teams work 100% from home have seen an increase in resignations. In firms which offer some form of hybrid working, this dropped to 70%. And for employers whose staff are fully office-based, this fell to 54%.

Claire Williams, CIPHR’s Chief People Office, explained to Business Leader how a multitude of factors can affect both retention and recruitment. The ability to offer flexible working can help companies to stay competitive in a red-hot recruitment market, where candidates can afford to be selective, but it would be a mistake to rely on this alone for retention. She said:

“Most people don’t resign from an organisation for just one reason. They can leave due to many reasons, such as career and development opportunities, management behaviour, salaries and reward, stress, and work-life balance – every individual has their own list. 

“Employers need to ensure they focus on communicating their organisation’s values, purpose, and culture to differentiate them from the pack, and that they engage and listen to their employees and act on their feedback, wherever possible, to mitigate increased turnover. There is no one-size-fix-all for ‘the great resignation’ but helping your employees feel valued and happy is a great place to start.”

If you need expert support to develop a recruitment strategy and hire the talent you need, RGH can help. Get in touch to start your search.