What organisations can learn from workers’ definition of ‘Good Work’

A CIPD survey reveals that pay is driving employee turnover, but a desire for greater job satisfaction is a top-three cause, too.

In order to keep your employees, you must keep your employees happy.

While the concept isn't new, the consequences of failing to do so have rarely been greater.

The UK's Office for National Statistics reported a record 1.3 million job vacancies from March to May. The CIPD Good Work Index 2022, based on a survey of more than 6,200 UK workers, aims to unearth the reasons behind the vacancies.

The findings provide some valuable insights for company leaders aiming to avoid a record number of blank spaces on their payroll.

Not surprisingly, pay itself is a good place to start.

Employees crave compensation

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) polled UK employees for the fifth consecutive year, providing a summary of what workers want from their workplace.

And, for the fifth consecutive year, the Employee Voice index score was lowest among the seven dimensions that define "Good Work" in the survey. The results indicate that employees don't feel they're being heard, yet their voices have remained consistent when it comes to wanting better pay: The Subjective Pay index regularly ranks near the bottom of the dimensions.

Twenty per cent of workers surveyed say they're likely to leave their current job in the next 12 months, citing a desire for better pay and benefits as the top reason (34%). Approximately one in eight actually left a job in the 12 months prior to the survey, and 53% of those reported that their job change netted higher pay.

While pay will always be a major driver of employee turnover, it should be noted that those relatively new to the workforce impacted the overall numbers in the natural course of early career advancement. Forty-six per cent of the respondents in the 18-24 age group reported having landed a new job in the last 12 months, with 78% of them reporting higher pay as a result.

Some employers may benefit from reviewing their organisation's approach to offering a clear path to upward mobility for younger employees — a strategy that could help retain younger employees and attract a new group of job-seekers.

Employees seek fulfilment

While compensation is crucial for employee contentment, it isn't all about money. Twenty-six per cent of the workers who said they're likely to leave their job in the next 12 months cited a desire to "increase job satisfaction" as a top-three reason.

And many of them are becoming more satisfied. Among those who left a job in the last 12 months, 58% consider their new role to be more fulfilling.

This is an area where listening to employees could pay dividends for organisations in their effort to retain their talent.

Employees want work/life balance

Twenty-three per cent of employees thinking about leaving their role expressed a desire for a better work/life balance. About half found what they sought: 48% of those who left a job in the last 12 months reported having a better work/life balance.

In this area, even small steps can have a big impact. Study after study has shown that many employees don't take all of their allotted holiday time. Organisations can start out by encouraging their employees to do just that.

— To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Bryan Strickland at