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Given the high cost of losing an employee, retention should be a top priority for every organization. Employee retention is even more of a concern as we enter a post-pandemic world.

What’s Happening?

Turnover is a common occurrence throughout any given year. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, year-over-year turnover rates drastically fell. Instead, workers clung to their jobs as a way to maintain financial security, having seen countless others get furloughed or laid off. In fact, LinkedIn found that 74% of employees are “sheltering in job.” That means workers are staying in their current roles to collect a steady paycheck and keep household finances stable—that
is, until the pandemic is over.

Now, as the economy opens back up, employers are pushing for employees to return to the workplace. But a significant number of employees are unwilling to return to the status quo established pre-pandemic. Workplace stressors—worsened by the pandemic—are partly to blame. Additionally, dissatisfaction with compensation, benefits and work-life balance are top reasons why employees are job hunting.

Aside from workplace-specific concerns, the pandemic gave many people an opportunity to rethink their values and make significant life changes, which, for some, can include finding a new employer. A recent PwC survey revealed the following general shifts:

  • Employees are on the move, considering or planning to move more than 50 miles away from a core office location.
  • Employees deeply value extra paid time off, including dedicated time to upskill or volunteer.
  • Employees are focused on building skills learned from the pandemic, such as adaptability and the ability to learn and apply new skills quickly.

For these specific reasons and more, experts have begun to predict a massive wave of turnover in the second half of 2021. The typical turnover that happens over a year could virtually occur at once.

What Can Employers Do?


At this point, it’s clear that a significant number of employees are feeling restless in their current roles. To combat these trends and avert massive turnover, employers will need to look inward toward their unique employee populations to
assess the situation. This inquiry may include managers directly asking employees about their current mindsets, which workplace factors are most important to them and for any other feedback.

Generally, employers can also consider implementing some of the changes that employees are looking for, such as:

  • Providing remote or hybrid working arrangements
  • Revamping benefits offerings
  • Expanding employee assistance programs to help with mental health and burnout
  • Increasing compensation or bonuses
  • Having managers meet more frequently with employees about engagement levels and ways to improve them

Even the most important issue for most employees—increased compensation—may not be enough to prevent turnover if other problems persist. That’s why employers should consider surveying employees about their individual opinions. Doing so can help identify unforeseen opportunities and potentially give employers ideas for improving retention without breaking the bank.

 

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