As the U.S. economy opens up following the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are experiencing growth again. While this growth is most welcome, many industries face skills shortages. For example, CNN revealed that the U.S. manufacturing industry experienced a surge in activity but struggled to fill half a million job openings.
Undoubtedly, skills shortages will continue to be a key theme in the coming months and years. And that investment in recruitment to address this issue will be very important. But vacancies take time to fill, and a turnover tsunami is unfolding.
So, keeping the talent that you already have becomes an even bigger priority as your existing employees will play a significant role in helping your company through these challenging times.
With this in mind, here are seven reasons why employee retention should be a primary focus for 2022.
Post-pandemic employee expectations
During the global public health crisis, many workers went above and beyond for their employers, taking on additional responsibilities and working longer hours. This may have caused them to experience burnout. The pandemic shows that remote work is possible and could be the long-term norm. But, as the economy recovers and more vacancies appear, people now expect companies to recognize that they have a life outside work and offer them flexible working options.
More competition for scarce skills
Many companies will invest considerably in improving pay, working conditions, benefits, and reward and recognition programs in response to skills shortages and increasing employee expectations. So, it’s crucial that you treat your current employees well, recognize them as valuable, listen to them, train them, reward them, and encourage them to grow within your company. Otherwise, they will look elsewhere for employment opportunities.
The hidden costs of hiring
You could easily spend nine months of an employee’s salary on hiring, recruiting, and training a new employee. This includes the time and money spent advertising the job, developing the online recruitment process, and reviewing and interviewing candidates. And then there are the intangible costs. The time it takes for a new employee to reach the same level of performance as the former employee. Or the toll the employment shortage will take on your other employees. This can lead to a temporary dip in productivity.
The best way to minimize these costs is to build retention in the recruitment process. This starts with clearly highlighting your company’s values and identifying candidates who share the same values. These candidates are more likely to stay long-term. Also, look out for longevity in previous roles on the candidate’s resume. This indicates loyalty and a team player attitude.
Existing employees fill the gap
With so much change happening and the skills shortages, having a loyal and satisfied workforce has become more critical than ever before. Existing employees play a crucial role in temporarily filling in the gaps left by the shortage of workers. Employees who feel appreciated and valued are more likely to go that extra mile and take on additional responsibility.
Keep customers happy
Your current employees will also be critical in helping you maintain relationships with customers. Even more so now, as you adapt your business practices and deal with labor shortages. The last thing your customers need is seeing new faces that aren’t familiar with their needs or problems. Customers want to work with people they know and trust in these uncertain times.
Successfully retaining your employees helps you maintain stability in your organization and creates a happier workforce. Conversely, seeing a few of their colleagues leave gives employees the impression that all is not well. This leads those left behind to question their desire to stay with your company. Conversely, if top quality applicants witness a culture of retention where employees value their organization, it bodes well for your company.
Identify great leaders
There will always be potential leadership material among your existing employees. And the current COVID crisis can bring out the best in people. So, you have a unique opportunity to identify employees who thrive as individuals and inspire others in difficult times. Once you’ve identified them, give them the training and development necessary to take on leadership roles.
As the US economy recovers, companies in many industries find themselves in a state of flux. With greater competition for scarce skills and turnover tsunami, you need to focus your efforts on keeping your most valued employees. They will play an essential role in providing continuity and helping you navigate through the turbulence as the economy resets itself after the pandemic.