Managing Employee Retention in a Post-Pandemic World

Managing employee retention has been a long-standing concern for employers even pre-Covid-19. However, one thing's for sure; employee retention has never been more critical than during these challenging times.

Managing employee retention has been a long-standing concern for employers even pre-Covid-19. However, one thing’s for sure; employee retention has never been more critical than during these challenging times. 

Imagine amid an economic downturn, your top performer exits out of the blue, and you’re facing a turnover cost of up to 15,000 U.S dollars in only one employee’s departure. On the flipside, many enterprises, especially small businesses, are currently struggling to find workers to hire. So, for the modern business leader, there couldn’t be a better time to tackle the issue of employee retention, once and for all. 

So, Why Do Employees Quit or Resign?

Did you know that even amidst economic downturns like the one we saw in 2020, two to three million Americans left their jobs in search of better ones each month? That doesn’t mean some companies are less desirable; instead, it direly reflects the need for proper employee retention management.

The first step is engaging employees to understand why they are leaving. Conducting an exit interview may come in handy at this time. You might be surprised to learn that employees are leaving due to causes that your leadership or management team can afford to prioritize and remedy. These may include:

  • Payments below minimum wages 
  • Poor management-worker relationship 
  • No room or limited opportunity for career development 
  • Lack of support or employee assistance programs 
  • Boredom and burnout in the wake of remote working

These are just but a few possible reasons that may drive employees to leave. But the question remains: how can you better retain your people?

Employee Engagement Amid a Reduction in Force

The hostile economic repercussions of Covid-19 triggered the initiation of cost-cutting measures across many businesses. And of course, one of the most prevalent cost-cutting measures during the pandemic was undoubtedly Reduction in Force (RIF)/layoff. 

These RIF initiatives can significantly affect the productivity, engagement, and commitment of the remaining workforce. Therefore, leaders must work harder to improve communication and engagement with remaining employees to increase their loyalty and reduce their chances of leaving. As a response, you might consider providing short-term assistance, such as holding employee-led feedback sessions to boost their engagement, input, and trust. At the same time, hearing from your own workforce and responding in kind can help you further your employee retention strategies.

Employee Support Programs

The reality is that even as offices are reopening, the harmful mental health effects of Covid-19 on employees, particularly during remote working, isn’t something to be overlooked. 

Modern leaders like you are tasked with not only improving Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) but also incorporating mental health support into company programming for employees. This will go a long way in improving people’s productivity, commitment, and of course, allegiance to your company. Furthermore, employees are likely to develop a strong relationship with your company, making them unlikely to leave or resign.

Employee Experience

Prioritizing employee experience through a recession that’s characterized by Covid-19’s economic repercussions is no walk in the park. But on the other hand, just like a positive customer experience is key in retaining consumers, a better working experience is crucial to keeping workers as well. According to a survey conducted by Gartner, employees who are increasingly satisfied with their work experience are 60 percent more likely to stay and increase their commitment. 

So, despite the economic downturn we’re facing, leaders must flex their muscles and ensure that employees are satisfied with their jobs in their day-to-day operations. Even the simplest expressions of employers’ gratitude – whether through shout-outs, financial or material awards, or broad recognition – can go a long way in ensuring worker retention and loyalty. It’s all about improving the employee experience and acknowledging the hard work your people do.

Capitalize on Technology and Training

“Anything you can do to simplify and automate tasks that are low value and repetitive, like filling out a piece of paper, will free up the power of HR to do something else. There’s so much space for automation to play a bigger role in making the employee experience better,” that’s according to Tatiana Goldberg, a management leader at Unilever. Simply put, you need to provide employees, particularly HR personnel, with the right tools to automate services such as record keeping, and in turn, put more focus on the employees. When more focus is on employees, you can be confident that you have improved employee engagement, employee experience, and increased morale, and as a result, this increases their likelihood of staying. 

In addition, we recommend that you invest in your employees’ professional development. This will not only improve their work experience but also help them remain agile, quickly adapting to current workplace advancements. Keep in mind that businesses’ requirements are continuously evolving in the wake of the pandemic, and technology is also increasingly playing a more significant role in how we work. 

Key Takeaway

In the wake of the pandemic, every company and human being is currently going through a lot of changes in terms of how we operate. Consequently, to maintain a good employee experience and retain workers, we need to allow for flexibility in work arrangements and working environments to keep up with the rate of change in our new normal.

The bottom line of managing employee retention is prioritizing the employee experience. Undoubtedly, navigating all these changes can be challenging. But our coaches at Sounding Board can help. Contact us to learn more about our leadership coaching. 

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Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

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