- As a result of the pandemic, many employees are considering career moves at considerably higher rates than in the past
- The key to fighting the labor crisis for employers will be focusing on retention
- Employers should consider expanding benefits and focusing on diversity, inclusion and social responsibility
Eighteen-plus months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the numbers remain concerning for employers. As the Wall Street Journal reported this September, workers continue to show frustrations with their jobs, a gap widening between them and employers on remote work and vaccine mandates. This was before President Biden’s recent announcement regarding mandatory vaccines for all employees at organizations with more than 100 employees (or mandatory weekly testing for unvaccinated employees).
Likewise, a Price WaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) survey this August found that 65% of workers are looking for new jobs, up from 35% that said the same this May. That same report found that only 23% of 752 executives surveyed believe workers are leaving because they want better benefits. Women, Black and Hispanic workers are also seeking higher pay as well, according to the report. PwC’s Global People and Organization Co-leader Bhushan Sethi said “leaders must consider these factors in both retention and their hiring practices.”
Employers must realize the key to fighting a labor shortage crisis isn’t tied to just finding the right talent, but retaining it, too. Explore how to attract and retain your most valuable resource – your people – with these strategies.
BETTER BENEFITS = HAPPIER EMPLOYEES
With many seeing remote work as a regular (if not standard) option moving forward, giving employees the option to continue doing so will likely not be enough to retain them. Offering expanded or revised benefits to address current concerns, such as access to mental health resources or childcare, is critical to employee retention.
With so many employees working remotely and others wary to utilize their paid time off as COVID cases spike back up, many organizations have provided employees the ability to roll over these days into the new year. Other examples include employer-provided help with childcare/benefits for working parents like tutoring services, tuition grants, home office stipends and expanded ongoing flexible schedules with rotating teams (where some work in the office while others do so remotely on a rotation).
Some like Noodles and Co. have expanded worker wellness programs. The company’s “Life at Noodles” program extended employees mental health awareness webinars, provided free flu shot access, weight loss program assistance, free dental services for employees’ children age 14 or younger, and 10 days of back-up child, elder or pet care to assist with unexpected situations.
While not every company may be able to provide this level of employee service, the actions beg a pointed question: What is going to cost more – investing in the employees you have or spending time, money, and energy to replace them?
TREAT EMPLOYEE CONCERNS AS AN OPPORTUNITY, NOT A BURDEN
In addition to physical and mental health concerns, the past 18+ months have highlighted two additional reasons people are leaving their employers: lack of leadership and concerns for social responsibility.
Recent Gartner research found only 49% of employees agree their manager understands their problems and needs. Additionally, both consumers and employees have started taking notice of corporate America’s response to social issues in the wake of the death of George Floyd and others like him.
The Harvard Business Review noted the importance of focusing on both inclusion and diversity in Dec. 2018, writing “To retain talent, most organizations offer typical things like free coffee and tea in the break room, competitive benefits, generous raises and bonuses, and employee recognition programs. However, none of that works for an employee who doesn’t feel comfortable in his or her work environment.”
The benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace to companies’ bottom line are well-documented. With more people looking to work for employers focused on social responsibility, diversity and inclusion will be must-haves moving forward. Proactive companies will construct policies promoting diversity and inclusion head-on before not doing so becomes problematic. Such policies need to be orchestrated, deliberate and strategic in not just training, but recruitment, implementation, and practice. Otherwise, organizations should get used to losing talent that values working for an employer who shares their beliefs.
TRANSPARENCY IS THE KEY
Whether it’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, compensation, and benefits, or addressing employee concerns for social issues, transparency is the key. It’s easy to be transparent when things are great. However, employers should foster a culture where employees trust management when things get rough to prevent isolation and doubt in the workplace.
People leave jobs. That is a fact of life. However, regularly surveying employees, will provide you with valuable insight as to why they are leaving and what your company can do to address that and help prevent others from following them out the door.
At Erigo Employer Solutions, we specialize in helping small- and mid-size businesses attract and retain talent by providing a wide variety of human resource needs and competitive benefits. These can often help you remain competitive against larger employers in your industry. Contact us today to learn how we can help.