For many employers it can be a guessing game to establish just what it will take to retain their existing workforce as well as attract potential employees.

However, new research conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) has revealed just why it is so important that employer’s get an insight into what constitutes an ideal working environment.

A survey of 1,001 workers by the ILM showed that a fifth of employees are planning to leave their jobs in 2014, with a further 31% undecided as to whether they will stay in their current role.

With this uncertainty hanging over employers’ heads understanding what employees really want in the upcoming year should help guide them as to the measures that will help to keep their workforces happy.

On the wish list this year for 31% of employees questioned was an improved work/life balance, while 28% expressed a desire to attain a new qualification or receive more training.

A further 13% hoped to become a better manager in 2014, while 11% would like to increase their productivity at work.

19% of employees also revealed that they were keen to improve their own leadership skills over the next 12 months, while 17% are also hoping that their boss will demonstrate more transparent leadership.

Commenting on the survey findings, Charles Elvin, ILM’s chief executive, said: “The New Year is always a popular time for workers to look ahead and think about how they can progress. Our findings show that UK employees are beginning to reassess the job market and look into a range of new opportunities, from starting a new job to developing a new business.

“The survey illustrates just how crucial it is that workers feel valued in the workplace. As many workers like to make a change at this time of year, it is important that organisations adapt to this phase by offering the chance to learn new skills and opportunities to progress wherever possible.”

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