If every storm cloud has a silver lining, working from home must be the silver lining in the pandemic. Remote work definitely has its benefits for most workers, and employers are beginning to adopt flexible working conditions in the workplace. Not every company has caught up to the times, and in some businesses, the powers that be, CEOs and management, haven't bought into remote work and are seeing employee retention rates drop.
"In the span of one quarter, The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growing remote work trend by at least 5 years."
Many companies have experienced economic crises during the pandemic, and replacing employees has been nearly impossible, leaving many businesses short-staffed and unable to function at full capacity.
As challenging as it may be, it is wise for a company to rally around the new work-from-home culture and meet the challenge of retaining happy, engaged employees.
Why Employees Stay
Why do valuable employees stay? It's more than a need for money. They stay because they become invested in the workplace by developing connections and building relationships within an environment that becomes a community. It's a mutual sense of giving and receiving. Employees who think their input is valued and get value in return become part of the company culture.
The largest post-pandemic (almost) reason employees decide whether to stay or go is being determined by the employer's flexibility or lack of, for remote working opportunities.
According to FlexJob's annual survey, 70% of respondents have reported staying at a job because it offered flexible working conditions.
Employees have always needed flexible schedules; however, with the pandemic forcing people to work from home, workers are realizing that several factors influence the need for their employer to be flexible.
According to FlexJobs, these are the top four reasons people seek flexible work:
• Work-life balance (75%)
• Family (45%)
• Time Savings (42%)
• Commute stress (41%)
"People leave when they don't feel appreciated. That's why we've made recognition a really high value. Our business is people-capability first; then you satisfy customers; then you make money."
David Novak - former CEO of YUM! Brands
Of those who reported commute stress as a factor, 72% of them said their daily commute was over an hour.
It's no surprise then why employers see significant benefits when they incorporate work flexibility into their company retention strategy. Flexible work options, along with reasons such as work-life balance and well-being, ranked higher than health insurance and retirement benefits for reasons people would stay with their employer.
Top 6 HR Employee Retention Best Practices
All roles within an organization must be on the same proverbial page. CEOs. Management, team leaders and employees should work together to develop and implement retention strategies. When organizations include everyone in the plan, they are much more likely to achieve their retention goals.
The biggest reason companies fail to retain employees is because they lack a retention strategy. These six practices have been cited as the top strategies to include in your retention plan to keep valuable employees.
Create a robust onboarding process– Glassdoor states that a good onboarding process for new hires improves a companies retention rate by a whopping 82%. Remote onboarding must educate employees in the beginning stages and consistently carry out training through their tenure.
Identify candidates who will stick around– Look for applicants who have longevity at previous jobs and pose questions that will examine factors like resiliency, adaptability, engagement and loyalty.
Offer flexible options– Flexible work options retain employees because it gives them the space to work however is most productive for them while also helping them create a healthy work-life balance. Flexible work schedules improve employee morale, increase productivity and boost engagement which increases employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees are loyal employees.
Prioritize learning and development– Employees want to learn, improve, and advance their careers. A Workplace Learning Report from LinkedIn states that 94% of the workforce stays if companies invest in their professional development. With remote workers, well-functioning collaboration tools and virtual meeting platforms are essential. All employees must have the same tools and the same skillset to use them.
Act on Feedback– Companies that ask for employee feedback and then never respond to it leave employees feeling like management doesn't care. Ask for feedback consistently. Maybe the last Friday of every month, gather all the feedback slips from the suggestion box and address any essential issues on Tuesday. When employees feel heard, they feel empowered and embedded in the company.
Shine a light on rising stars– Recognize and appreciate the top performers in the company. You can also recognize great ideas, low absenteeism, creative contributions, and appreciate people's efforts. Doing so will make them feel like they are part of what makes the company successful.
People stay where they feel their contribution offers value to the company. Sadly, 80% of the American workforce feels unappreciated. They don't feel recognized or rewarded for their hard work. (D. Gerdeman, 2019).
Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges companies face post- (almost)-COVID. In this new world we live in, money can't buy employee happiness or loyalty.
Employees want to be treated well, feel valued, have a work-life balance that enhances their well-being and live their best life. If your company organizes the right strategy, employees will do their best work wherever they are.
Here is a quick recap of important factors in retaining employee's courtesy of lumanapps:
• Define realistic, clear and reachable goals.
• Establish an expectation of trust between managers and employees.
• Ensure that teams understand their role in the company's success.
• Build a trusting environment and encourage managers to show interest in their employees' personal lives and development.
• Publicly congratulate, privately reprimand, and design improvement plans for those who feel disengaged.
When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program (a total Well-being Program) can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being. To enhance employee well-being, we also offer a vast array of digital employee training classes as well as in person training.
lumanapps. (2021). Employee Engagement A Strategy for Performance & Retention . Retrieved from lumanapps: https://www.lumapps.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/WP-Employee-Engagement-2021.pdf
Norman, M. (2012, March 20). 6 Ways to Retain Remote Workers – and Make Them Feel Part of the Team. Retrieved from TLNT: https://www.tlnt.com/6-ways-to-retain-remote-workers-and-make-them-feel-part-of-the-team/
Retaining Your Remote Employees. (2021). Retrieved from SHRM: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/exreq/pages/details.aspx?erid=1697
Reynolds, B. W. (2019). Survey Results: How flexible work plays a role in job choices. Retrieved from Flexjobs: https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/survey-flexible-work-job-choices/
SHRM. (2021). Managing for Employee Retention. Retrieved from SHRM: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingforemployeeretention.aspx