For the best part of 15 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested employees both physically and emotionally. The economic shutdown caused by the global outbreak has pushed them into survival mode, with many working longer hours to protect themselves and their families from the resulting income uncertainty. This prolonged period of stress and uncertainty has compelled people to reevaluate their lives, both at home and at work. It has also caused employees to reflect on whether their current employers genuinely value them. As a result, experts predict a ‘turnover tsunami’ with many people seeking employment elsewhere as the economy recovers.
The findings of the Achievers Workforce Institute’s Employee Engagement & Retention Report support this prediction. The report revealed that organizations could anticipate 52% of employees will look for new jobs in 2021, while a quarter plan to leave their current positions when the economy fully recovers.
Recruiting, hiring, training, and onboarding new employees is always an expensive and time-consuming process. So, this oncoming tidal wave of turnovers could generate significant costs for your business. However, some strategies can help you stem that tidal wave and create an environment where your existing employees feel valued and appreciated.
Retention surveys and exit interviews
Gauging employees’ feelings and opinions throughout their time at your company is important. By doing so, you demonstrate that you value those responsible for your business’ success and genuinely care about their feedback. Employers can use employee surveys to find out what made them stay and uncover any warning signs that the employee may leave. Use exit interviews to ask employees to reflect on what they did and didn’t enjoy about working for the organization what ultimately led them to decide to leave. You can then use the surveys and interviews’ findings to develop strategies that make your company a great place to work for your current workforce and attractive to talented job-seekers. It is also a great idea to have surveys and interviews conducted by third parties as it provides your workers with a safe space to talk openly about their disappointments and frustrations.
Have a plan
You can only minimize turnover. You will never fully eliminate it. Some employees will leave your company no matter how much compensation, benefits, or developmental opportunities you offer. It’s therefore important to have a long-term talent plan that focuses on identifying your company’s most critical positions. Having a plan can help you determine which of your best performers are at risk of leaving. Then, you can develop a roadmap of how you’re going to retain or replace them. This could involve your HR team spotting potential candidates within your industry and developing a shortlist of promising candidates for key roles.
Invest in your employees’ growth and development
Employees, particularly high-performers, are driven to excel at what they do. If you don’t give them the space and support to do so, they will become disengaged and leave the company. So, it would help if you made their existing roles rewarding and challenging while providing them with the resources and support to fulfill those roles. This begins with understanding what gets your top performers engaged, what concerns they have, and what support they need. You can then use insights from these conversations to amplify current positions, provide personalized training opportunities, and allocate challenging assignments. You can also encourage employees to develop and grow by pairing them with mentors outside their reporting relationships and encouraging them to identify job and project opportunities across different departments.
Flexible/hybrid working models
The COVID-19 pandemic has more individuals working remotely, but this has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand, employees have grown to appreciate how remote work allows them to fit work around their lives. While others felt it has caused them to work longer hours and become disconnected from their peers and employers. So, when developing hybrid working practices, you need to do so in a fair way that allows you to maintain close relationships with both your in-person and remote employees. You can achieve this by hosting virtual meetings and online team-building events. Then, your remote employees feel a part of the team and have the same opportunity to excel at their jobs as their in-person peers. Educating employees to set boundaries when working remotely can also help them be more productive and organized.
Develop a compassionate culture
The burnout experienced by employees due to COVID means that looking after their workplace well-being has become more critical than ever before. This begins with developing a compassionate culture, which recognizes employees as whole people with responsibilities and obligations outside work. It would help if you also embedded diversity and inclusion in your company’s culture. Employees and job seekers consider it an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Another essential element is transparency, which can help build trust between you and your employees. You can create a transparent organization by openly sharing company developments with all your employees via the intranet. You can also encourage transparency by operating an open-door policy so that you can make yourself accessible to employees when they have concerns or questions.
Recognize employees for their contributions
Sharing success stories over your company’s intranet or internal communication system is another great way of making your employees feel valued. This can include successes such as completing a big project or appreciation expressed by customers for employees’ hard work. You can also hold monthly or annual events and ceremonies to acknowledge their commitment and recognize those who went above and beyond. These can serve as powerful tools that can engage the workforce and unite an organization.
As the economy recovers from the pandemic and communication technologies advance, new opportunities will arise. Employees will have greater freedom to choose when and where they work. This is why it’s important to act now in building a caring and rewarding work environment. You’ll be able to ensure employees stay in the face of an increasingly fluid labor market.