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Preparing for a Post-Covid Turnover Boom

For most of last year, many employees were in survival mode, afraid to leave their current employer in fear of not finding work due to the pandemic. But now that vaccinations are underway and things are looking up, employers must be mindful of turnover as employees are more confidently feeling they can make moves.

One in four employees plans to leave their employer after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, according to a new study from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV).

Findings of the January study of more than 14,000 people globally included:

  • 1 in 5 employees voluntarily changed employers in 2020 – Gen Z and Millennials make up the largest portion of this group.
  • Of the 28% of surveyed employees who plan to switch employers in 2021, the need for a more flexible work schedule or location, and increased benefits and support for their well-being were cited as top reasons why.
  • 1 in 4 surveyed employees indicated they plan to switch occupations in 2021 – more than 60% of this group had already changed employers in January.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed employees’ expectations of their employers, and to retain top talent, employers need to understand employees’ motivations and needs. More than a third of respondents said they and their colleagues have asked their employer for more flexible work arrangements, improved compensation and benefits, and more physical and financial safety and security in the past year, but only about half of employees gave employers high marks on their ability to deliver this.

According to the survey, employees want:

  • work-life balance (51%)
  • career advancement opportunities (43%)
  • compensation and benefits (41%) *note: only 29% of Gen Z said this was key to their engagement
  • employer ethics and values (41%)
  • continuous learning opportunities (36%)
  • organizational stability (34%)

Some companies have rolled out Covid programs to boost employee satisfaction, offering things like free virtual healthcare, quarantine/confirmed illness pay, and a backup family care benefit. But there remains a gap – IBV found that “while 80% of executives said their companies were supporting the physical and emotional health of employees, only 46% of employees agreed.”

IBV’s Tips for employers:

  1. Proactively engage with employees to better understand what is really important to them and their careers. Employees are more likely to be their authentic selves and open up when employers have created a culture of belonging. Employees have options. They will gravitate towards employers who are listening and taking action.
  2. Foster a culture of perpetual learning that rewards continual skills growth. Most employees want to succeed and grow. Employers can either create learning cultures to nurture the skills and talents of their people, or wait for the exit interview to find out which of their competitors are.
  3. Don’t take people for granted. The pandemic has reminded us how fragile life is. Everyone has been through a lot in the past year. Employers must demonstrate empathy and care for their employees holistically—by considering their physical, mental, and financial well-being.

Priorities have shifted for employees due to the pandemic, and that means that leadership and executives must shift their thinking as well. To prepare for and hopefully stave off possible turnover, employers must create a supportive work environment, encourage open communication, embrace flexible work options, and provide learning and advancement opportunities. Employers must be mindful of how their employees are doing – burnout is running rampant as workers are attending more meetings, working after hours, and having to juggle balancing home/work life (including having children at home in remote learning situations).

This article was originally published by Liz Carey on the NPAworldwide blog.

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Without top talent, the potential for recovery may be prolonged and painful

Around the world, employees have had nearly 9 months to assess how their employer is responding and reacting to this pandemic. Many employers have realized that human capital is the most precious asset of the organization and are working hard to retain talent. Other employers may be on belt tightening, headcount reduction and reorganizations of varying types. Top performers are watching how organizations react and recruiters are watching top performers.

Without top talent or with the loss of top performers, the potential for recovery may be prolonged and painful. The best of the best are being sought out by other companies via direct hire or with the help of an independent recruiter.

Each passing week brings new challenges. This new environment for work has brought on unexpected challenges with work from home, virtual meetings and conferences, new cybersecurity demands, and the loss of traditional revenue streams. Project work in a dispersed environment has extended timelines and made deliverables more difficult to achieve. The future rests with your top talent, yet they are facing motivation and availability issues like never before. Childcare and elder care are consuming many top producers. Motivation and morale are on wild tides rolling in and out with each new stay-at-home order or closure of daycare centers.

Retention strategies are critical in addressing and retaining top talent now, more than ever. The pandemic has employees reassessing the cities and locales where they live, friends, health, their careers and certainly their employers. If your leadership team is not growing loyalty with their actions, then they are eroding the bond to your most critical asset. Recruiters are watching and hearing how employers are responding to the challenges they face. The actions of some employers, or their failure to act, is creating targets for recruitment of top talent. Now is the time to double down on your best and brightest because if you do not, someone else surely will. Retain talent or become a source of top talent. That is the simple choice you face.

This article was originally published as “Retain Talent” by Dave Nerz on the NPAworldwide blog.

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