Six Top Tips For Post Pandemic Talent Retention

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees means satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy

The 2020/21 pandemic has changed the way many people view the world and their own life choices so far. Lockdowns have made everyone feel more restless. Priorities are being reevaluated. People emerging from protracted self-isolation are seeing with different eyes and they are hungry for change. 

This desire to explore new avenues could spell danger for unprepared businesses - or opportunity for those who are ahead of the curve and ready to tap newly available talent: According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index, 40% of respondents to one extensive survey want to quit their current jobs this year.

Studies have shown that losing an employee can cost a company as much as an eye-watering $40,000. That’s taking into account the investment in time and resources for onboarding and training as well as recruiting a suitable replacement.

And if you’re losing good people because they’re not happy with the way they’ve been treated or their overall prospects, there’s the risk of even more damage in terms of your company’s reputation as an employer. This can make it difficult not only to hold on to colleagues of the employee who is departing but also to attract new talent.

According to a poll by Partners In Leadership, when employees are happier at work, 85% say they take more initiative and 73% say they are better collaborators. These two factors alone can make all the difference when it comes to successful long-term retention.

So how does one make a workplace somewhere people want to be – and plan to stay?

Offer Flexibility
See your people as people. Consider their individual needs. Will they work better in an open-plan social environment, or in a more private cubicle or office? Are they more comfortable with calculating logistics or with standing up to give a presentation? Is part-time an option? Will a hybrid working options help? Fully remote? Right now, wherever possible, flexibility should be an urgent priority. Overturn longtime rigid norms in favor of trust, humanity, basic good sense.

Show Appreciation
If you stay on the right side of this massively important action, everything else is easy. A simple, genuine, thank-you said often enough to assure people that their efforts are not going unnoticed. A tangible reward for achievements over and above expectations proves to them that they are valued. Remunerate more generously than - or at the very least as fairly as - your sector’s standards. Evaluate at a regular, agreed frequency and acknowledge a job well done with gifts, bonuses, and perks.    

Prevent Burnout
Simply? Don’t overwork your people. Apart from normal breaks, build wellbeing practices into everyone’s work schedule. Encourage a healthy work-life balance. Respect boundaries.  

Foster Relationships
As Apple’s former SVP Retail Angela Ahrendts says, "Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first." Frequent though non-intrusive engagement is vital. Show a genuine interest but never, ever micromanage. Always be honest and courteous. Remember, there’s no such thing as respect without mutual respect, and that loyalty is a two-way street.

Cultivate Career Growth
Make objectives as clear as possible. Every member of the team must know where they are going and how they will get there. Provide training and mentorship every step of the way. Above all, keep them fully informed at all times. 

Encourage Feedback
Keep lines of communication wide open. Sometimes people need to be asked the questions. Maintain unimpeachable confidentiality. Always, always, act on feedback thoughtfully, fairly, and without undue delay. 

“Leadership is the ability to facilitate movement in the needed direction and have people feel good about it.” – Tom Smith