Employee retention a concern for half of Australia’s HR managers

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Ambius identifies need to provide comfortable working environments

Employee retention a concern for half of Australia’s HR managers

New research by office environment specialist Ambius has found that employee retention is a concern for 50 per cent of Australian businesses.

As part of the ‘Improve your Office Environment Campaign‘, Ambius surveyed a random sample of 400 human resource (HR) managers from around Australia. The research found that with many businesses struggling to retain staff, HR managers are seeking ways to better connect with their employees. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of respondents consider the office environment as having a significant impact on staff engagement and productivity.

Having good relationships with managers (75 per cent) and colleagues (85 per cent) and providing interesting workloads (61 per cent) were also cited as important factors in helping to keep staff engaged.

According to Graeme Armeni, National Technical Manager with Ambius, while it is not always possible to retain staff, business managers should identify alternative ways to keep them motivated and happy. “HR managers should think beyond the bottom line and consider improving staff work environments. An office interior has a significant impact on comfort and contentment and when people feel uncomfortable in their surroundings they are less engaged.

“There is an independent body of research which found that employees working in environments enriched with plants or artwork for example, and those who are empowered to personalise their workspace, felt physically more comfortable at work, identified more with their employers and were more productive. It therefore makes sense to consider what is known as the return on interiors concept - the benefits of investing in a good working environment.”

When it comes to the work setting, good office design (81 per cent), allowing staff to personalise their workspaces (65 per cent), having adequate lighting (41 per cent), ensuring good air quality (43 per cent) and providing office plants (17 per cent) are key considerations.
Ben Thompson, CEO of HR advisory firm Employment Innovations agrees that businesses should make the work environment as comfortable as possible for staff, “It is fair to say that there is uncertainty within sections of the economy and businesses are looking for a distinctive edge in the face of increased competition and rising costs”, said Thompson. “Improving the office environment can have real benefits. This can be as simple as providing colourful plants or keeping the office temperature at a comfortable level. These simple steps can reduce distraction and increase productivity – without breaking the budget.”