Companies lucky to make it through the pandemic unscathed now have another challenge: keeping their top talent. According to the Pulse of the American Worker Survey by Prudential, business leaders are now faced with possibly the greatest mass exodus of talent ever seen.
- 1 in 3 would not want to work for an employer that required them to be onsite full time
- A quarter of workers (26%) plan on looking for a new job when the threat of the pandemic has subsided
These statistics should be a wakeup call to every business leader. Employees have had over a year to reconsider their priorities – compensation , benefits, and work-life balance – which could lead to the greatest career migration in history.
Two obscure factors may be determining factors.
- Pre-pandemic, people identified themselves by their job title and employer. At social settings, conversations centered around work – promotions, work travel, and how busy each of us were traveling to see clients. When 2020 forced all non-essential personnel to work-from-home, the new paradigm effectively eliminated the social construct of defining ourselves through our work.
People started to have happy hour zoom meetings and outdoor socially distanced gatherings. The conversations revolved more around family, school shut-downs, or wanting to see family members and created a deep introspective view of ‘what do I truly value.’ Many now realize that job titles are no longer as interesting as being a wife, husband, father. That identity we have become accustomed to has vanished.
- We all want the American Dream – the dream house, nice car, and a better life for our children – but to realize that American Dream, we had to go where the job was located. To have that nice house or fancy car, living in the suburbs became an attractive, affordable option.
For many, that meant a brutal commute. Hours were spent driving to and from work leading to missed family dinners, soccer games, and school recitals. Working from home the past year has many thinking that time is now the priority. Employees are now thinking I can have the happy lifestyle with more family time even if I work for less money.
The most important assets to any business are your people. Highly skilled employees and key personnel are the hardest to replace. Options for business leaders may be limited if your top talent is switching fields, but there are levers to increase employee retention. Business leaders must look more intently at retention strategies and ensure employees are given opportunities even in a remote environment.
Four strategies to increase employee retention:
Provide Opportunities to Grow
Even in a post-pandemic, remote world, employers must give their associates an opportunity to grow. Leaders should support career advancement by taking a personal interest in employee career goals, encourage mentoring and shadowing, supporting work-life balance, and outlining how each employee contributes to the big picture.
Leverage Succession Planning
One of the most underutilized retention strategies involves a formal documentation of a succession plan. These succession plans provide an avenue for employers to fill the gaps when a key employee leaves or becomes disabled. Proper planning includes identifying those future key employees, providing ongoing training and education, and documenting the plan. Anything less and your key employees may become disillusioned in their roles, leading to increased employee attrition.
Provide Competitive Salary and Benefits
Benefits for the sake of providing them have little effect on employee retention. Businesses must provide benefits that make an impact on the lives of their employees. Employers that provide a comprehensive package that meets the needs of your unique employee base fosters sustainable engagement.
Gather Feedback and Reduce Employee Pain Points
When work-life balance is out of alignment for employees, job performance suffers and the idea of ‘the grass is greener’ starts to creep into your associate’s head. Employers should be asking for critical feedback, even if it may be difficult to hear, and taking specific actions to alleviate those pain points. Anything short and employee pain will continue to build until it reaches a boiling point, at which time it will be too late.
Covid-19 has been a wake-up call to business leaders about the traditional workplace model. Attracting and retaining employees will become increasingly difficult and we should be examining every available opportunity to provide employees a reason to stay. Getting ahead of this curve will provide you with a substantial competitive advantage.
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