As Annie put it, the sun’ll come out tomorrow. With vaccines rolling out and regions reopening, it finally feels as though we’re entering what will become our new normal. Businesses can begin to look ahead rather than scramble to keep up. Those hit hard by the pandemic can shift to rebuilding. The workforce can begin making five-year plans rather than sheltering in place.
But could these long ambitions create new challenges for businesses? With employees looking for brighter horizons, employers need to ramp up their retention strategies now—because if a tsunami of employee turnover occurs as predicted, employers could once again find themselves in scramble mode.
Turnover Is Normal. This Past Year Has Been Anything But.
A North American study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that more than half of employees surveyed said they plan to look for a new job in 2021. Yes, that’s more than 50%! Considering the average turnover rate is 22%, anticipating for more than double that should be a major cause for alarm.
There are three reasons why we should be concerned:
- Most businesses don’t have the resources to double their recruitment efforts.
- The competition for skilled workers makes recruiting in these numbers incredibly challenging.
- Time to productivity for new hires could affect businesses’ competitiveness.
Enough Doom and Gloom—What Can You Do?
We know that a lack of career progression is a major contributing factor to turnover, but the pandemic has introduced new factors not usually accounted for in retention strategies—burnout, family responsibilities, and a desire for increased flexibility, to name a few.
The answer seems simple: Give workers what they want.
So, what does that look like?
How to Give Workers What They Want
Understanding the elements that contribute to job satisfaction can go a long way toward creating a sustainable retention strategy. Many workers have felt increasingly disconnected and insecure over the past year. While that uncertainty may have led them to stay in their current role during the pandemic, it’s also what can drive their desire to seek alternate employment opportunities. Now is the time to show your employees you value them—before they dust off their resumes.
3 Tips to Increase Job Satisfaction
1. Show Them the Money
Pay continues to be the top recruitment and retention tool. If you’re looking to keep a valued employee happy, giving them a salary bump may do the job temporarily, but don’t fall into the trap of assuming that salary is the only motivating factor. Personalized monetary benefits such as parental leave, cell phone and internet subsidies, and extra vacation time to unplug can be just as important. In one survey, 89% of people surveyed in the U.S. said they valued added benefits as much as pay.
2. Let’s Get Flexible
Employers need to understand that being present doesn’t necessarily mean being productive. Workers want the opportunity to balance their careers with their personal lives. Giving them the freedom to pursue personal priorities—hobbies, side gigs, and preferred working hours—adds value to an employee’s life. Supporting flexibility can help create goodwill, increase engagement, and balance the retention scale in your favor.
3. Promote a Learning Culture
Your business needs up-to-date skills and your employees want to challenge themselves and progress in their careers. Sounds like a match made in future-proofed heaven, right? Not necessarily. Employees need professional development opportunities, but they also need the time, support, and guidance to take full advantage of them.
Time to dust off your workforce planning strategies and make sure you have a comprehensive upskilling and reskilling plan.
Start Small—Incremental Changes Can Have Big Impacts
Addressing all the components that make up a workforce planning and retention strategy can be a big undertaking. One step you can take right now in your transformational journey is to actively support employee career development. Professional development and sponsored training opportunities can be small-yet-mighty contributors to job satisfaction. You’ll be able to show employees that you’re committed to their future with your business, and you’ll be able to build the skills you need to stay competitive.
The good news is this doesn’t have to be difficult. Read the blog from Yvonne Bell, SVP People and Culture at D2L, about putting employees in the driver’s seat of their own professional development. In her post, Yvonne explains what went into deploying an employee-led professional development program throughout the organization. Not only was it incredibly easy, but the free software she uses to manage the program actually simplified her administration workflows.