Preventing Turnover Post-pandemic

The wake of COVID-19 leaves in its path a tattered and disheveled global supply chain in nearly every industry sector imaginable.  Everything from high end computer processors to basic building supplies like lumber to commodities as fundamental as toilet paper have been impacted.  As the vaccinated slowly begin to emerge and life resumes, a new supply chain shortage emerges – that of human capital. 

The need for a capable and willing workforce is evident in every corner of commerce. One impactful way for an employer to address this need is to retain the employees they already have.  To this end, I share with you the following HR Insights article published by Zywave on Preventing Turnover Post-pandemic. 

A pdf of the article can be downloaded by clicking here. 

Preventing Turnover Post-pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is finally getting under control. As more Americans get vaccinated, states are gradually lifting restrictions, and life is returning to pre-pandemic normalcy. Finally, individuals can get to the tasks they’ve been postponing for more than a year. Unfortunately for employers looking to retain employees, some employees are now ready to find new jobs.

Current Job Market Outlook

Turnover is a common occurrence throughout any given year. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, year-over-year turnover trends drastically reduced. Workers instead clung to their jobs as a way to maintain financial security, having seen countless others get furloughed or laid off.

Now, as the economy opens back up, employers are pushing for employees to return to the workplace. But, a significant number of employees are unwilling to return to the status quo that was established pre-pandemic.

Instead, they are taking stock of their current positions and contemplating what they truly want out of their jobs. For some, the most direct path toward their goals is to find a new employer.

That’s why experts are predicting a “turnover tsunami” coming in the latter half of 2021; all the turnover that would typically take place in a given year is expected to come virtually all at once.

What Employees Want Post-pandemic

Each organization is unique, and its employees may have varying opinions about what’s most important to them. However, workplace survey data from the past year illuminates some commonalities between worker desires across industries. The following are some of the most coveted changes workers are looking for post-pandemic.

Remote or Hybrid Work Models

Many employees were forced to work from home at the start of the pandemic. As businesses reopen, employees are reluctant to return now that they’ve tasted greater flexibility and autonomy.

In fact, 47% of employees said they would leave their current jobs if their employers forced them back into the workplace, according to an Envoy survey. Additionally, 41% of employees said they would take a job with a slight salary cut if it meant having a hybrid work model (working some days in the office, others from home).

Given this and other data from countless surveys conducted in the past year, it’s apparent that employees want at least some remote work opportunities. And they are willing to leave their current employers to get it.

While remote or hybrid work is perhaps the most desired workplace perk at the moment, it’s not all that employees want.

Protection From Burnout

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many employees feeling burned out and overworked. According to an Indeed survey, 52% of employees are experiencing burnout, and 67% say burnout has increased during the pandemic.

Worse yet, now that businesses are reopening in full force, employee workloads are likely to increase rather than reduce. This increase is spurring employees to lobby for greater mental health benefits, time off and other resources for reducing stress levels.

Greater Compensation

Compensation has been an employee motivator well before the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s particularly salient now. Across the country, the most recent example of this has been among fast food and retail workers. These segments have been working throughout the pandemic amid strict constraints, reduced staffing and elevated dangers.

Now, many industry workers are demanding better pay and benefits as compensation for their continued efforts—even walking out or quitting when their efforts are disregarded. In fact, 35% of surveyed employees said they would leave their current jobs for better compensation and benefits, according to an Achievers Workforce Institute report.

Turnover Prevention Considerations for Employers

At this point, it’s clear that a significant number of employees are feeling restless in their current roles. According to that same Achievers Workforce Institute report, only 21% of employees feel very engaged at work. Additionally, nearly half of respondents (46%) said they feel less connected to their workplace now than at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To combat these trends and avert a “turnover tsunami,” employers will need to look inward toward their unique employee populations. This inquiry may include directly asking employees about their current mindsets (i.e., whether they’re considering quitting) and what concessions would make them stay with the organization.

Generally, employers can also consider implementing some of the changes employees are looking for, such as:

  • Providing remote or hybrid working arrangements
  • Expanding employee assistance programs to help with mental health and burnout
  • Increasing compensation or bonuses
  • Having managers meet more frequently with employees about engagement levels and ways to improve them

While these methods may be sufficient for the majority of workplaces, they are not silver bullets. Even higher compensation may not be enough to prevent turnover if other problems exist. That’s why employers should consider surveying employees about their individual opinions. Doing so can help identify unforeseen opportunities and potentially give employers ideas for improving retention without breaking the bank.

Reach out to Libertate Insurance Services, LLC for additional retention strategies.

This HR Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

5 Ways Employers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health

5 Ways Employers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health

An employee’s mental health includes how they think, feel and act, and includes their emotional and social well-being. While mental health includes mental illness, the two aren’t interchangeable. An employee can go through a period of poor mental health but not necessarily have a clear, diagnosable mental illness. Additionally, an employee’s mental health can change over time, depending on factors such as their workload, stress and work-life balance.

While 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness annually, a recent study by Deloitte revealed that less than half receive treatment. A study from the Mental Health in the Workplace Summit also found that mental illness is the leading cause of disability for U.S. adults aged 15 to 44 and that more workdays are lost to mental health-related absenteeism than any other injury or illness.

Given its prevalence, you can expect that employees at your organization are experiencing mental health challenges or mental illness. That’s why it’s so important that your organization creates a culture that is supports employees’ mental health. While this may sound complicated, creating a workplace that is supportive of mental health and illness is easier than it seems. Here are five simple ways that your company can support employees and their mental health.

Promote Mental Health Awareness in the Office

The first step to creating a workplace that is supportive of employees’ mental health is promoting awareness and destigmatizing mental health or illness. Provide resources to help employees learn more about mental health or mental illnesses, and give information about how employees who may be struggling can seek out help. When you openly talk about mental health, employees are more likely to feel comfortable about the concept and reach out to managers or co-workers if they’re struggling.

You can also establish a workplace environment that is supportive of mental health by:

  • Encouraging social support among employees, such as an organized support group that meets regularly
  • Setting up an anonymous portal through which employees can reach out to let managers know that they’re struggling with high stress and need help
  • Providing training on problem solving, effective communication and conflict resolution
  • Promoting your employee assistance program (EAP), if you offer one

Offer Flexible Scheduling

Work-life balance, or a lack thereof, can affect an employee’s mental health. To help employees better balance their work and personal lives, employers across the country are embracing workplace flexibility. While this looks different at every company, workplace flexibility can include flextime, telecommuting and unlimited paid time off (PTO) policies. Flexible schedules provide employees with

job satisfaction, better health, increased work-life balance and less stress.

Address Workplace Stress

Nearly 80% of Americans consider their jobs stressful. Chronic workplace stress can contribute to increased employee fatigue, irritability and health problems. Additionally, workplace stress costs U.S. employers approximately $300 billion in lost productivity annually.

While it may not be possible to eliminate job stress altogether for your employees, you can help them learn how to manage it effectively. Common job stressors include a heavy workload, intense pressure to perform at high levels, job insecurity, long work hours, excessive travel, office politics and conflicts with co-workers.

You can implement various activities to help reduce employee stress, which can improve health and morale—and productivity.

  • Make sure that workloads are appropriate.
  • Have managers meet regularly with employees to facilitate communication.
  • Address negative and illegal actions in the workplace immediately—do not tolerate bullying, discrimination or any other similar behaviors.
  • Recognize and celebrate employees’ successes. This contributes to morale and decreases stress levels.

Evaluate Your Benefits Offerings

Review the benefits you offer to ensure that they support mental well-being, too. Evaluate your current health plan designs. Do they cover mental health services? Reviewing the offerings that your organization provides is essential to creating a culture that supports employee mental health.

In similar fashion, look to see what voluntary benefits you can offer to support mental well-being. Consider offering simple perks like financial planning assistance (as financial stress often contributes to poor mental health), employee discount programs (where employees can receive gym memberships, stress-reducing massages or acupuncture at a lower cost) and EAPs to support your employees.

Provide Mental Health Training for Managers

One of the most significant problems hindering mental health support at work is the stigma that surrounds mental health. Despite the recent moves in society toward destigmatizing mental health, issues still persist. To ensure that no stigma surrounding mental health exists at your organization, it’s important that you properly train management in recognizing the signs of mental illness, excessive workplace stress, workplace bullying and fatigue. Moreover, managers should be trained to handle potentially difficult conversations with employees surrounding their mental health. Ultimately, they should be prepared to speak openly about mental health rather than avoid the topic. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Workforce webpage to learn more.