Odds are you know someone who has left their job during the pandemic. 4.3 million people quit in August 2021 which is roughly 20% higher than the number of resignations in August 2019, and more than 40% higher than the number who quit in August 2020 According to Time.com. The numbers aren’t out for October yet, but my guess is it’s not looking so great for employers right about now. A recent survey found that 41% of all workers are considering giving their job the boot.
The “Great Resignation,” a term coined by Anthony Klotz, is in full swing. This unforeseen phenomenon was in part created as a response to the pandemic. With the time off to consider options and reprioritize, many in the workforce are choosing to focus more on entrepreneurship, or family, or even just their mental and physical health.
Having a fulfilling career is no longer just about the money for most. In order for employers to attract high quality employees, they will have to adapt as well, catering to these newfound needs and desires of their employees. It’s clear that if they don’t, folks have no problem jumping ship for companies with values that better align with their own.
So if you’re looking to hire, consider factoring in what employees are looking for, and what caused them to leave prior employment as it hints at how big business needs to evolve to be sustainable.
Today I have for you five attributes companies can showcase that better align with the values proven to attract high quality employees.
1. Ensure Success and Teambuild
These past few years have been tumultuous for everyone, and promising stability and success over the long haul can really help to ease pandemic anxieties.
Some companies have had to physically change the workplace environment, or even allow remote work which can lead to disconnection. Employees can feel lost or worse, as though their free time and personal spaces are now intimately intermingled with work. A recent Microsoft report found that while managers and leaders reported thriving during the pandemic, many employees were struggling.
For those entering the workforce such as Gen-Z the issue is compounded. With virtual onboarding, Zoom training, and remote work, it can be very difficult to navigate the developing workplace all the while being on your own.
Consider initiating transparent incentives and clear direction to counteract any employee confusion. Communicate clearly, efficiently, and regularly with all staff members on every relevant topic to ensure nobody gets left behind. Show employees that they do not need to fear layoffs and will be adequately and fairly rewarded for their efforts and loyalty.
Streamline onboarding processes as fast as possible, and troubleshoot issues quickly. Ask for employee feedback and adjust accordingly.
2. Adopt A Hybrid Work Model
More than half of survey respondents said they would look for work elsewhere if they were required to return to the office five days a week. Remote work is clearly here to stay. Employers will have to heed this demand and make working remotely not only possible but comfortable and efficient.
So far one-third of companies surveyed indicated they will opt for “in-person first” employment. Yet, more than half of workers surveyed want to work from home or prefer a hybrid arrangement. Those companies who take note will surely be the first to fill their open positions, but not all have yet. Put yourself above the rest by embracing the new normal.
3. Offer Flexibility
While remote work already feels flexible compared to what we knew as a traditional 9 to 5, environmental flexibility is not the only ask employees have. A successful hybrid working model not only includes location, but also work hours.
The pandemic allowed for some to get into new routines, some which may optimize their most productive times of the day for work instead of traditional business hours. Many are prioritizing family, and those with small children may need those precious hours between 9 and 5 to raise a family.
The Gartner’s 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey showed that 55% of the workforce was more productive when they were able to choose when, where, and how much they worked during the week.
People differ so much when it comes to productivity and the factors that play into it. One of the attributes of high quality employees is this valuable productivity. At the end of the day, people know themselves best and creating a system where they are trusted to manage their own workload on their own time may be the difference between people taking or leaving open positions.
4. Prioritize physical and mental health
We all got a lesson in health during the coronavirus pandemic, whether it be as simple as the proper way to wash our hands or how quickly germs are spread through social interaction. We learned to call out sick instead of coming in, and take days off even at the expense of work to protect ourselves and others.
However some of these lessons extended beyond physical health. Mental wellbeing became a topic of discussion as some found isolation and constant fear of the unknown very difficult. Some realized that they’ve been feeling off, even before the pandemic rolled in and it was time to take a beat and focus on themselves.
According to the Gartner’s survey, employers that supported their employees wellbeing saw a 23% increase in the number of employees reporting better mental health and 17% increase in improved physical health.
To attract quality employees, consider offering employer-based support for mental health, financial health, and physical wellbeing. This could extend to guaranteed paid time off, unlimited time off, no-questions-asked sick days or benefit programs that include gym memberships and counseling.
5. Corporate Stewardship
It’s been long thought that millennials especially desire meaningful and fulfilling work. A Canadian study found “47 per cent of millennial respondents would give up a pay raise for more meaningful work” in 2019.
But as it turns out every generation wants meaningful work. Recruits looking at open positions may factor in corporate responsibility – whether that is a commitment to the environment or a commitment to serving their community.
Corporate-sponsored stewardship programs offer a way for employees to feel fulfilled in their work, especially so if employees have a say in choosing how to spend corporate dollars and time in the local community.
I would recommend finding a way to tie service intrinsically into what you do and finding ways to give back. Ask for feedback as to which causes hit home for employees and their interests, while also considering your businesses environmental impact and how you can minimize potential damage (and bad press) when it comes to your business practices. Transparency and intention is key here.
COVID 19 will eventually subside but business will go on. Employers need to think beyond COVID and prepare for a time unprecedented. Companies should reevaluate their corporate culture, salary structure, and policies. Now is a great time to reassess company branding and image and hone in on values.
Employees seem to know where their priorities lie, it’s time for employers to shape up and do the same.