It’s been a strange few years for the U.S. workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about mass layoffs in a multitude of industries. Many businesses shuttered, unable to pivot their operations. And now that vaccines are finally widely available and states are reopening, employers are experiencing resignations at an unprecedented rate. (Nearly four million Americans quit their jobs in June.) The so-called Great Recession is wreaking havoc across the United States, with industries such as leisure and hospitality, professional services and retail trade in particular struggling to fill job openings.
Why are workers leaving? One reason is that employees are more disengaged than ever. The percentage of employees who actively disengaged rose from 69% pre-COVID to 74% post-COVID, according to Gallup. The old adage still rings true: people leave bosses more so than companies and these daya workers have more options than ever before. To keep and retain top talent, businesses need to look beyond money and focus their efforts on improving the employee experience.
Money Alone Doesn’t Keep Employees
Paying employees what they’re worth should be table stakes at this point. Yet judging by the sheer number of open positions in the hospitality industry and elsewhere, simply enticing workers with the promise of good wages isn’t enough. To retain employees, businesses need to create positive work cultures and deliver great employee experiences.
But what exactly do employees want? You don’t know if you don’t ask — keeping in touch with employees through formal and informal touch points is critical to understanding why employees stay and why they leave. Does your business have engagement metrics? Do you know how long and hard your employees are working? Work performed beyond traditional business hours is taking on new urgency in the pandemic age. Office workers might not appreciate their work/life balance being disrupted while retail and hospitality workers who are working long shifts to cover staff shortages may burn out quickly. It’s up to you to be aware of what’s going on with your employees and tackle challenges before they become too big to fix.
Think Longer Term
Getting employees in the door is one thing; keeping them in the room is something entirely different. To retain employees, businesses need to think about the total employee lifecycle, not just the hiring process. Creating exceptional employee experiences is also a matter of investing in your people long-term — through promotions, career pathing, learning and development and other incentives. You need to give your employees a reason to stay long after the elation of the hiring bonus has worn off.
Building Experiences That Retain Great Talent
Businesses will need to be mindful of their communications policies going forward. With health policies changing rapidly, office workers still mostly remote and high employee turnover, employees need the latest information on their terms. Having employee communications come from a centralized location can ensure that employees don’t miss the latest news item or policy change.
Providing employees with fair and equitable pay is fast becoming table stakes for many industries. Yet fair pay alone won’t keep employees from changing jobs. To retain top talent, businesses need to invest in their employees through more than financial compensation. Creating great employee experiences is one way of demonstrating to employees that their time and efforts are seen, valued and rewarded. Companies that prioritize and advertise exceptional employee experiences will have an edge over the competition as the Great Resignation continues and employees keep searching for the next best thing.
See how Simpplr can improve your employee experiences at simpplr.com.
Dhiraj Sharma is a serial entrepreneur and technology enthusiast who is passionate about promoting purpose and meaning in the workplace. He is the founder and CEO of Simpplr, a provider of modern employee intranet software that helps companies engage their workforce by transforming employee communication, learning, and recognition.