Retaining employees and attracting talent is a full-time job all by itself. In the age of the Great Resignation, how are you supposed to retain the employees you need?
Brands are now experiencing the consequences of the pandemic. In a world that had to quickly pivot to stringent safety procedures and remote work, amid outcries for social justice and systemic change, everything is different now.
Employees are starting to wield their power. For instance, they may no longer have to live in expensive cities like San Francisco or New York City. Instead, they can live wherever they want, because companies are embracing remote talent.
They also are experiencing record levels of disillusionment and burnout. The Great Resignation is a phenomenon caused by the pandemic, where people's priorities shifted and workplaces changed. In the face of these changes, many people consider handing in their resignation and seeking other work.
In this employee-centric world, how can employers retain and attract talent in the face of the Great Resignation? We've assembled a guide to help you do just that.
#1 Walk the Talk
During the pandemic, and even now, many employers talked about safety procedures, diversity and inclusion, and caring for their employees. Some employers, though, didn't live up to their promises.
Instead of allowing employees to work from home, they insisted on an in-person atmosphere. Some bent the laws and guidelines to call themselves an 'essential business.'
Instead of allowing exposed employees to leave and take COVID tests, they didn't inform employees of the exposure until the workday was over.
Instead of doing the work to highlight diversity and inclusion, they handed out pamphlets and then stopped doing anything to combat discriminatory policies.
Employees notice these things. Have you ever noticed how acute a child's sense of 'fairness' is? The same thing is true for employees.
When employers are hypocritical or dishonest, employees notice. And now that the brunt of the pandemic is over, they're expressing their disgust by leaving.
If your brand doesn't live up to the values you talk about, it's time for an audit. What can you change to actually walk the talk? This can make a huge difference when it comes to resignation numbers.
#2 Create A Sense of Connection
Fostering a sense of connection has been hard on everyone, not just big brands. When you have employees in the office, you can have team meetings, coworker birthday parties, brainstorming sessions, holiday parties, and more.
When you're in the same room with someone, you can see their contributions. You can bounce ideas off them. That's the kind of positive conflict that binds a team together!
Removing that element was best to keep employees safe. But working from home has been hard on some people.
For instance, some stress over their contributions. They've been working really hard, especially while juggling childcare and other pandemic issues. But if their manager can't see it, what's the point?
It's also been hard for managers. How can they tell how their team is performing if they aren't there?
Connection is hard on every level. And when employees start to feel disconnected from their team, they feel disconnected from the company.
This causes company loyalty levels to drop like a rock. When that happens, productivity, morale, and work quality tend to go down too.
If someone doesn't care about the company anymore, then it's tempting to quit. If they don't care, it's hard to derive any sense of joy or accomplishment from the work being done.
#3 Support Your Employees
People start to feel burned out when they are spinning their wheels, or have plateaued in their career. Someone can only drive themselves so far without being rewarded or supported.
If you don't have programs in place to foster growth, then your employee retention rate may suffer. Employees are looking for opportunities to expand their skill sets, gain certifications and take classes, and get promotions.
If you don't support your employees, you'll have a hard time retaining them. Cultivating managers who really care about the career path and growth of those under them is a huge deal when doing this.
It's also important that employees know their work positively contributed to society. How do your products or services contribute to the overall good of the world?
If employees feel like their work is meaningless and doesn't do anything in the bigger picture, they will feel burned out faster. In other words, burned-out employees resign.
People spend the majority of their lives in the workplace. They're sacrificing time with family, friends, hobbies, and so much more. If people are making sacrifices, they want to know that it's actually worth it.
#4 Provide Flexibility
Prior to the pandemic, people were still Googling things like "retention employee" or "employee retention rate". But after the pandemic, it's the new buzzword because employees have more power these days.
Before the pandemic, people expected that 'it is what it is'. If employers didn't offer remote work options, this was normal. If they didn't offer flexible working hours, why should they?
The pandemic changed all that. To really have successful employee retention strategies, you need to be able to work with their new lives.
Children being in school is a precarious thing these days. It only takes one exposure before they're back at home again. Childcare is expensive and can be a hotbed for COVID.
People need flexibility in order to fulfil their roles outside of work. One thing that the pandemic threw into sharp relief was priorities.
Work is only one part of your life. It's a crucial part, but so many other things come together to make up a fulfilling life. People are resigning if flexible work options aren't available to them. If employers don't realise this, they may continue to suffer from the impact of the Great Resignation.
#5 Adapt to Your Employees' Needs
It's also important for employers to realise why many don't want to work in the office again. A commute eats up a significant portion of your day and turns an 8-hour shift into a 10-hour one.
For highly productive employees, many hours spent in the office are just bench-warming. If they accomplish their workload before everyone else, they can't walk out before 5 PM. Instead, they need to look busy until the proverbial buzzer goes off.
Trusting employees to get their work done goes a long way. Some employees feel like they're being called back into the office because they aren't trusted.
No one wants to feel like they're being studied under a microscope for eight hours a day. But if you want to 'keep an eye on them', or 'make sure they're not wasting time', that's exactly what you're doing.
Take a look at their results. Are they turning in work on time, showing up to all meetings, and making clients/customers happy? If so, there's no reason to change a process that's clearly working.
#6 Address Burnout
It's not your company's fault that the pandemic occurred. The stressors of a global pandemic, childcare, and loss of social life aren't on you.
But if employees bring their whole selves to work, like what happens in any healthy organisation, they're feeling the cumulative effects even in the workplace. It's hard to be productive after sixteen months of juggling childcare, lockdown restrictions, educating your child, caring for ageing parents, and so much more.
Have you considered adding mental health programs, a four-day workweek, or other measures? This can help combat feelings of burnout without corporate lip service that acknowledges it yet does nothing.
#7 Take A Look At Your Managers
When working on your employee retention strategy, consider why people leave jobs. According to some experts, most people don't really leave jobs. They leave their bosses, which is a big difference.
If you love what you do but loathe your boss, that's a recipe for resignation. After all, why not? If the feeling is mutual, you're likely to get fired eventually.
If this is the case, investigate your managerial culture. Are managers honest, supportive, and empathetic? Or have you fostered an authoritarian culture?
Workplace culture is everything these days, particularly if you're attracting younger Gen Z employees. If people don't like the culture, expect a flood of resignation letters on your desk shortly.
Implementing feedback on the managerial structure is also a way to improve your employee retention rate. When retaining employees and attracting talent, people want to know that they are being listened to.
If you take their feedback on those in charge and actually do something with it, people will know you're listening. They aren't being penalised for their honesty or blackballed for their transparency.
It's a great way to revolutionise your company culture, retain talent, and stem the flood of resignation letters that could be coming your way if changes aren't made.
Retaining Employees Through the Great Resignation
To retain and attract talent during the Great Resignation, employers need to prioritise fairness, build connections, and provide the resources and flexibility necessary to combat burnout. It's also crucial that employers prioritise employees' physical and mental needs, and maintain a roster of top-notch, empathetic managers.
Our HR and talent acquisition teams are built to cater to your needs. If you'd like to hear more about our top-notch process, request a demo today!