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I spend a lot of time on the phone to clients, both employers and employees, and in recent weeks I’ve spent a decent amount of time discussing the latest developments on Love Island with certain HR Directors and Managers who, naturally, know who they are!

YES, I know… It’s potentially unfashionable for me to admit that I watch Love Island. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like X Factor, Big Brother or I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, so how have I fell into the Love Island trap? No idea! I grimace at half of the challenges and find the ‘flirting’ outrageously dull half the time but, underneath the shiny surface, the program focuses on basic human behaviour when tempted by a seemingly better proposition and that is the real beauty of the show (rather than the fake eyelashes or the men’s apparent fixation with unbuttoned Hawaiian-style shirts this series!)

At its core, Love Island is quite similar to the retention and recruitment cycle between employers and staff. Bear with me here…

So, at the start of Love Island, the individuals (why are they called ‘Islanders’ when the show is set in South Africa?) are paired up into couples and, like the majority of first-time jobs, the majority of pairings are born of convenience without knowing much about the employer simply because the employer is happy to offer them a position when they have a blank CV.

Over time, it is likely that the individual will see that the job isn’t all that amazing and/or not that well paid so, to revert back to the Love Island imagery, when a new opportunity walks into the villa, they may be especially tempted and end up in a potential triangle.

Oh, the love triangle! No other shape has been mentioned so often on a TV show. To the uninitiated, this is a situation where an individual (“A”) is currently within a couple with “B” but is tempted by another (“C”), who has normally only recently joined the show, and B and C indirectly fight for A’s attention until A is put on the spot and has to make a choice between them.

Ironically enough, this is a common enough retention and recruitment situation. Naturally, I advise on both employee retention and recruitment on a regular basis and the following scenario tends to be the norm:

“Employee works for A. They are fine with the job, albeit perhaps slightly underwhelmed by pay or lack of potential career prospects, and a rival job at B comes to their attention. They arrange a discreet interview and the interviewers appear personable and friendly and offer the employee a similar role, albeit after describing better future job prospects and a slightly higher salary.

The employee is tempted, which is only natural, but at the same time, they realise that they already know all the negatives of working for A and can only find out the hidden downsides of working for B after they start a new role with them. The employee is most likely torn between their current comfort zone and/or the uncertainty of a new role which could well be better or worse. Basically, the employee has to ask themselves whether the grass is truly greener on the other side…”

Or, to use a Formula One analogy, the employee doesn’t wish to do a Daniel Ricciardo (i.e. move to Renault under promise of better hardware and quickly slip backwards down the grid and become yesterday’s superstar).

In reality, there are many ways this scenario could play out. For example, the employee could ask their current employer for a pay rise and, if refused, accept the other job or, quite simply, be honest about the job offer with their current employer and see if better terms could be offered to prevent a move (which is reported on quite often within certain sports, including Premier League football).  Alternatively, the employer may put two-and-two together and approach the employee and seek to have a chat about their future.

As an aside, employers should note that there are fairly limited circumstances in which they are safe to provide an employee with a formal sanction for looking for other jobs, as covered in our previous blog found here.

So, whilst the ‘Islanders’ (again, a weird phrase when it is no longer set on an island) have to face host, Laura Whitmore, and are put on the spot about who they wish to couple up with, employees usually have a job offer expiry date to consider quite similar factors!  At the end of the day, and to use a famous Love Island quote, I suppose it is what it is…