Positive Retention Report

Following the publication in 2022 of the MRS research into Talent and Wellbeing in the research and insight sector, entitled “Wellbeing in Research”, a working group was set up to explore challenges in our sector that could affect employee recruitment and retention.

Within this working group, a workstream was established to focus on ‘positive retention’. The remit here was to draw fresh learnings across the sector today on what factors are believed to help research agencies retain their staff. 

Download the Positive Retention Report 

While pay is an important factor in recruitment and retention – and all the more so in today’s inflationary context – this workstream sought to look more widely than financials. The group purposely focused on the idea of ‘positive retention’ because this looks beyond passively retaining staff regardless of satisfaction. To seek to ‘positively retain’ employees puts more emphasis on employers making an effort to ensure staff are genuinely satisfied, learning and developing, and feel valued as well as having a sense of belonging in their roles. Ultimately, that they can see a future they wish to be part of in their organisations.

The Positive Retention Report offers some inspiration, stimulus and practical prompts to help managers and employers consider what ‘positive retention’ best practice looks like in 2023 in an insight agency.

Cost of living and inflationary pressures

The cost-of-living and inflationary crisis is affecting many individuals and businesses across the world including the research sector. Businesses are grappling with the challenges of supporting staff whilst protecting their financial stability. Staff are having to cope with the stress of higher costs and increased financial pressures.

This guidance is to review different ways which businesses can support staff, and to consider some of the benefits and pitfalls of the options available, to help businesses identify what might work best for them.

Download the guidance on how to support your staff and business during the cost of living and inflationary pressures.

Not all of the available options are financial; communication, policies, working culture and accessibility can all help. Some of the suggestions may cost business significant sums, whilst others less so. Businesses should consider what suits and mix and match to find the best approach for their business and staff. But remember, even the smallest changes can often make the most difference if staff are really strugglingThe important thing is to manage staff expectations and to ensure that whatever is offered can be delivered.

Cost of living and the global consumer

Our ‘Testing the resilience of the global consumer’ Professional Webinar highlights the fascinating global study of consumer attitudes to the rise in the cost of living detailing reactions from across the globe, how behaviour has changed and how the crisis has impacted the emotional and health of individuals. Lucia Juliano, Head of Research UK and NL, Harris Interactive, Toluna Group outlines the importance of continuing to demonstrate strong social, ethical and brand values.

Understanding our Shortages of Talent - research programme

Following a piece of research conducted on behalf of MRS by Daughters of Sailors and Vela, a new programme of work has been put in place to help address the many challenges we face across the sector in attracting, supporting and retaining the best possible talent.

The research was conducted to understand what was driving the talent shortages, with high number of vacancies and low numbers of candidates.

Download the Understanding our Shortages of Talent report.

Although some of the findings emerging from this research are concerning, it is clear this is not a situation facing our sector alone – however, it does not mean that specific action cannot be taken to look at the issues being faced, and start identifying actions that could be taken.

The People & Talent programme comprises four key workstreams, each of which have specific areas of focus to drive action and achieve real change. The workstreams are:

  • New & returning talent which is considering recruitment targets, recruitment communications and channels, broadening out the UK University Roadshow programme and introducing a school’s outreach initiative to attract more apprentices and graduates into the sector. This includes the Market Research Executive apprenticeship programme and identifying further apprenticeship opportunities to broaden out the pool of talent attracted to the research sector.
  • Wellbeing which is reviewing existing resources, such as those provided by the MRS Flex Forum and the Company Partner Service and enhancing these where necessary to ensure that research practitioners and employers have the support they need.  
  • Learning & development which is building on MRS’ current training and qualifications provision, looking at skills mapping to support better informed career development and planning, as well as identifying a broader sphere of insight and related sectors to inspire people with the possibilities an insight career can entail.
  • Agency culture & leadership which is identifying areas within the supply-side and other sectors where there is good employment practice and staff support and use these examples to identify areas where sector wide improvements can be made.  MRS will work with suppliers, across all levels of seniority, to make changes, where necessary, within their businesses to improve supply-side culture and leadership approaches.

Outputs from each of the workstreams will be added to this page once available.

Becoming employee owned - an interview with DJS Research

In 2021, on its twentieth birthday, market research agency DJS Research became an employee-owned business, guaranteeing the independence of the company and placing its 70 permanent staff at the heart of decision making. 

In this interview Danny Sims, chairman and co-founder, discusses the benefits of the new model for employees and clients alike and offers advice for leaders considering employee ownership as their companies’ next chapter.

You can find out more about employee ownership here.

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