Employee Retention in a Remote or Hybrid Environment
At our Weekly Webinar on July 13, 2021, Holly DePalma spoke about employee retention in the post-COVID-19 world. As data shows, 40 to 60% of employees plan to leave their jobs in 2021, giving 2021 the label: “The Great Resignation.” Holly’s discussion highlighted for leaders and managers why this is happening and gave actionable strategies to help employers retain key employees.
The bad news is some of this turnover tsunami will be unavoidable for employers. We can boil this phenomenon into 3 essential buckets:
- COVID YOLO: The pandemic introduced many twists and turns that need to be navigated. In 2020, many people have realized that they are not prioritizing their lives correctly. As a result, many employees are leaving their jobs to better sustain their personal and family health.
- Bad Experience in 2020: Some people feel that their personal needs were not met by their peers and managers in 2020. Because of this, many feel hurt by what happened through the pandemic and want a fresh start somewhere else.
- Open Positions: Many employees are getting poached from their current positions due to major salary increases and other benefits offered.
So, what can employers do to increase employee engagement and thus mitigate the disruption to their business in light of the current circumstances?
DePalma recommends employers systematically examine talent practices at their organization. Specifically, she highlights four factors of an employee experience as they relate to engagement: Job Fit, Manager, Team, and Culture of the Organization.
Before you focus on anything else, you need to ensure you have employees in the right roles. Traditionally, hiring primarily focuses on skills and experience which highlight what a candidate “can do.” A good interview will also try to assess a candidate’s cultural fit. However, there is more to job fit. And it comes down to natural workstyles, the “how.” We tend to hire people for what they “can” do and then struggle with “how” s/he performs the job.
Insight into a candidate’s natural work style is essential for understanding “job fit.” All jobs have behaviors, as all people have behaviors. Ensuring this is a match from the start is essential to engagement. As an example, an employee whose natural work style is to be collaborative and people-focused, enthusiastic, and persuasive will likely not be happy working in a job where s/he is expected to observe, drive change independently with little opportunity to collaborate with others.
DePalma explains that employers must consider both what the candidate can do and how s/he will do the job before making a hiring decision. In order to ascertain “fit” many organizations utilize approved pre-hire assessments to add data into this process.
DePalma explains that the next key force is the manager. People may love their job and believe it to be the right fit; however, employees will quit their jobs if the job lacks a respectful and communicative manager. Employees want someone who can talk to them, understand them, and lead them in a way that meets their needs. DePalma explains that managers need to provide an environment where employees feel safe psychologically. This basically means that employees can be vulnerable and honest with their managers without fear of judgment. This kind of management requires a more human approach. DePalma explains that it is crucial to adopt this approach as it is the number one driver for employee performance and engagement.
According to Inc. Magazine, What Can Managers Do?
- Say Thank You
- Check In Frequently on their Employees
- Offer Feedback that fosters Growth, Innovation, and Inclusivity
- Build Resilience
Company culture is a “set of shared values, goals, attitudes, and practices that characterize an organization.” Company culture is “the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going, and what they’re doing to get it there.” It is crucial to consider cultural fit.
DePalma specifically investigates what the younger generations – Millennials and Gen Z – are looking for in terms of company culture. According to a survey conducted by Forbes in 2018, money is not the top motivator for Millennials and Gen Z. They want to work for a purpose and to feel secure in their positions. They are focused on personal growth and development. Because of this, they want to be coached and receive feedback to achieve this growth. They don’t want annual reviews and assessments. They want to be mentored and focus on their strengths, which, according to DePalma, is a huge culture shift.
Lastly, our fluid working environment has changed the nature of how teams work together and how people are staying connected. The team with whom we work and how we work together is the final engagement puzzle piece. With today’s combination of remote and hybrid workforces, it is hard to keep employees connected and engaged with one another. Creating the right environment for your organization is essential for productivity and engagement. Soliciting feedback from employees as to what is working vs what is not working and understanding unique individual needs is key. And while you can’t meet every request, getting input is an important part of driving engagement and keeping employees productive.
In some ways, 2021 is proving to be as challenging as 2020. More than ever before, leaders need to focus on hiring the right talent, as well as putting the necessary people practices in place to make sure they stick around.
Not sure how to get started? Assess your talent and people practices with a 1:1 Talent Strategy Session.