Retaining talent in a post-Covid market

Company Culture

In May 2021, Professor Anthony Klotz predicted that the post-Covid workforce would experience a ‘Great Resignation’. Klotz gave several reasons why this would happen:

  • Workers stayed at jobs during Covid when they would have already moved on in a more settled market.
  • Workers had more time to explore new career paths during Covid.
  • Workers were changing their priorities when looking for new roles.

The early signs indicate that Klotz was right. Staff turnover is expected to increase over the next year as workers act on their post-Covid plans, with one in four UK employees saying they want to change employer in the near future.

For businesses, these staff resignations have a significant impact. Not only is there lost productivity after a worker has left, but there is also the time and financial cost of replacing them. In the next 12 months alone, UK and Irish companies are forecasted to lose £16 billion to staff resignations.

As such, employers must be active in their staff retention efforts, especially in this turbulent time. The big question is: How do you retain talent in the post-Covid market?

Covid has changed the workplace forever

The pandemic forced companies the world over to adapt quickly to remote working. Although the outside world was in lockdown, employees enjoyed added freedoms that home working gave them. 

And, despite the world opening up post-Covid, workers want some aspects of Covid life to stay. A Prudential survey found that 87 per cent of workers want to work from home at least one day per week in the future. This statistic tells us two things about the post-Covid worker:

  • “At least one day per week” leaves things open to interpretation. Some workers may thrive when working at home full-time, while some may prefer just a day here and there to escape the commute or spend time with family. It’s their preference.
  • While workers enjoyed the benefits of home working during Covid, workers still want to go to the office. Many missed having a separation between work and home life, talking to colleagues, and the informal ‘water cooler’ interactions that build a team culture, but don’t come quite as easily over video chat. 

The key takeaway for employers is that workers want flexibility. Sixty-eight per cent of workers say that a hybrid workplace approach is ideal, allowing them to work in the office or from home according to their preferences and circumstances. This is a critical factor for employers to get right; 42 per cent of workers say that if their company isn’t flexible with remote working, they’ll look for one that is.

Allow workers to grow with you

Learning and career advancement should be a core focus of companies that wish to hire and retain talent in today’s market. While Covid opened many employees’ eyes to remote working possibilities, it also gave them time to consider their career paths. This has resulted in a workforce that knows where it is going and how employers can help them get there.

That means that training and career advancement are vital, and employees want to work for a company that will invest in their future. By giving employees a clear path for career advancement, companies will see much more engaged and motivated workers while benefiting from the additional skills. 

Neglecting this would be a huge mistake – 80 per cent of employees say they would leave a job that offered them no chance of progression. Businesses that don’t allow employees to grow will damage not only their employees’ long-term success but also their own.

Reward loyalty 

Of course, Covid has not changed everything. Employers still need to offer traditional benefits to attract and retain talent, such as:

  • Competitive salaries that reflect the skills and experience employees bring.
  • Incentives for excellent work and hitting targets.
  • Benefits that increase over time, such as annual leave allowance, insurance and pension contributions.

Loyal employees should be rewarded for their service and encouraged to stay. It’s easy to take them for granted, but, if allowed to leave, they are the most difficult employees to replace.

Have a strong employee value proposition

Overall, companies must have a strong employee value proposition that gives workers a sense of purpose and reason to be proud of their jobs. They must also focus on inclusivity, making everybody feel part of a powerful team culture, even amongst remote teams that might only meet in person once or twice per month. This culture should be evident right from the start, allowing you to recruit workers that fit your company.

When this culture is combined with flexibility, advancement, and financial reward, businesses will be rewarded with a loyal and engaged workforce. The companies that manage this will be the most successful in the quest to retain talent in the post-Covid market.

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