People Management’s 10 most-read stories and opinion pieces of 2023

From boomerang employees to accidental managers, these are the articles that caught your eye this year

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1: Two fifths of managers are reluctant to hire ‘boomerang’ employees, research finds

More than two fifths (44 per cent) of managers are reluctant to hire a former employee back into their team, research has found.

The survey of 3,000 professionals, conducted by Robert Walters, found that almost three quarters of professionals (71 per cent) are open to returning to their pre-Covid employer. However, the research suggests that they might not always be welcome.

Commenting on managers’ hesitation, Toby Fowlston, Robert Walters CEO, said: “I’m afraid managers/employers need to swallow their pride here. While the global recruitment market has slowed slightly in 2023, candidate shortages continue – and so the fact there is a pool of talent open to rejoining business should excite leaders.”

2: Pay setting in 2023: how much should you award?

Influenced by a series of health and economic crises, Duncan Brown advised on the best way to achieve a balanced, tailored and participative approach to pay reviews. We all look forward to reading his verdict on pay setting in 2024…

3: Supreme Court’s landmark holiday pay ruling – what HR should do now to prepare for the fallout

Following a ruling by the Supreme Court, many UK workers may be entitled to thousands of pounds in miscalculated holiday pay. 

The judgment on 4 October determined that thousands of police staff in Northern Ireland would be able to reclaim up to 35 years’ worth of miscalculated holiday pay, amounting to a bill of more than £40m. 

The court concluded in Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland v Agnew that a three-month interval between underpayments of holiday pay did not automatically sever the chain of deductions.

4: An employer’s guide to the new laws on holiday pay for part-time workers

The government announced draft legislation to reform holiday pay for part-time and irregular hours workers, which will come into effect in January 2024.

As well as simplifying calculations, the Department for Business and Trade said it will allow ‘rolled up’ holiday pay for part-time workers and those who work irregular hours, enabling employers to include an amount for holiday pay on top of the hourly rate in regular pay packets.

5: New employment laws for 2023

What upcoming legislation does HR need to know about? Audrey Williams made her predictions. Was she right?

6: Flexible working: the new rules

Stephen Morrall and Sophia Smout analysed the government’s proposed changes.

7: Spring budget 2023: six key points for employers

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered his spring budget with a primary focus on getting Britain “back into work”, providing many points for employers and HR to consider. 

Speaking in the Houses of Parliament, Hunt outlined his four pillars for growth – enterprise, employment, education and everywhere – which included a raft of reforms aimed at supporting those who are economically inactive or out of the labour market back into work. 

Angela Carter, legal director for England and Wales at WorkNest, said the initiatives would “hopefully help address recruitment and retention issues” and be welcomed by employers, but time would tell “whether they are enough”.

8: Almost half of HR professionals claim they are dealing with more employee relations issues than before Covid, study finds

A survey of 200 HR professionals, conducted by recruitment agency Wade Macdonald, found that ER issues were “taking up more time than ever”, with HR professionals citing struggles with managing remotely alongside mental health and performance issues. 

Katy Foster, senior HR consultant at Cream HR, said the rise could be generational, and predicted that as the “proportion of generation Z in the workforce grows, the number of ER cases may rise too”. 

9: Third of UK workers’ average day is lost to performative work, survey reveals

Just under one third (30 per cent) of the average UK desk worker’s day is lost to performative work – tasks that are done to appear productive, but do not contribute to company goals – according to new research.

The study from instant messaging platform Slack, of more than 18,000 desk workers across the globe – including 2,027 in the UK – also found that 37 per cent of UK workers believe their productivity is measured by visibility, such as hours spent in the office or online. This is most likely causing the time lost to performative work, Slack concluded.

10: ‘Accidental managers’ without proper leadership training contributing to almost one in three workers walking out, research finds

A survey of more than 4,500 workers and managers by the Chartered Management Institute, conducted by YouGov, found that 82 per cent of those who enter management positions have not had any proper training, known as ‘accidental managers’.

In the study a quarter (26 per cent) of senior managers and leaders and half (52 per cent) of managers also claimed they have had no formal management or leadership training.

And 31 per cent of managers and 28 per cent of workers have left a job because of a negative relationship with their manager, it found.