How to hold on to the employees you love!

No doubt you have heard about the “Great Resignation” of 2021 where large numbers of employees  voluntarily left their jobs.  The reasons for this economic trend, also known as the “Big Quit” are varied but the pandemic has certainly played a significant role in how, where and for whom we want to work.

The pandemic has caused a shift in terms of what we all want and expect from our workplace.  According to a 2021 IBM CEO Study, when asked what employers should offer to engage employees, workers placed work-life balance (51%) and career advancement opportunities (43%) at the top of their list of priorities, with compensation and benefits (41%) and employer ethics and values (41%) following close behind. While more than a third of employees mentioned continuous learning opportunities (36%) and organizational stability (34%) as key engagement factors.

As we enter a new “normal”, here are three ways you can create a workplace culture that will help you retain your best and brightest!

  • Consider the whole person

The idea that work stays at work and home stays at home and the two should be separate was completely turned on its head during the pandemic.  Whether it was because your employees were working from home or had to stay home due to covid related disruptions, the lines between work and home have been blurred.  The pandemic led employers to learn much more about their employees personal and home life and their physical and mental health.   

Going forward, employers who continually, consistently and compassionately show concern for the overall wellbeing of their employees will have a greater chance of retaining them and increasing their productivity.  According to the Harvard Business Review, “There is also a real benefit to employers, who see a 21% increase in the number of high performers compared to organizations that don’t provide the same degree of support to their employees.”

  •  Measure performance by output not hours

There is a shift happening in terms of how, when and where we work.  The days of 9 to 5 as the way we make a living (shout out to Dolly) is becoming less of the norm.  Today, in part due to the pandemic and in part due to technology, employees can find jobs that provide the flexibility to get the job done where and when it suits them.  

In numerous studies flexibility ranks on the top of the list of what attracts an employee to a job.  In many cases, employees will take less pay if it means they can have the flexibility that allows them to achieve greater work life balance.   Employers who are offering flexible hours and measuring productivity not based on hours worked, but on the work performed are more likely to attract and retain high performing employees. 

  •  Offer opportunities for growth and development

Most employees want to succeed, grow and learn.  Boredom and lack of opportunity can lead your best employee to find a new opportunity.  Employers who create learning cultures to nurture the skills and talents of their people are much more likely to attract and retain the best talent.  This can include opportunities for advancement within the organization and opportunities for continued education both inside and outside of work.  

For smaller organizations this can be challenging if growth within the organization is limited.  Employers who continually work with their employees to create new opportunities, challenges and excitement within their current position are more likely to retain those employees.  For many of us, once we feel like we’ve gone as far as we can within an organization and there is nothing left to accomplish, we will seek new employment opportunities.   Another way to offer opportunities for growth is to support your employees “side hustles” and creative outlets outside of work.

When in doubt, ask your employees what they need from you and what you can do to ensure they want to continue to work for you.  Sure, compensation may be high up on their list, but you might be surprised to learn that is not always the case.  While these times have challenged us as employers, they have presented opportunities to rethink what our workplaces look like and to prioritize what is most important to us, the people who choose to work for and with us.    


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