In a post-pandemic world, mass turnover has happened from people reevaluating their lives and their careers, and no company is immune. The Great Resignation is here and it's time for leaders to step up and put talent in the spotlight.
There are ways to curb the revolving door of turnover. In the second edition of its 2021 Talent Index, Beamery surveyed 5,000 employees in the U.S. and U.K. to gather insights on post-pandemic workplace policies and the retention issues plaguing employers.
Employees now appear to have the upper hand when it comes to careers, but there are steps business leaders can take to successfully navigate the talent landscape.
The top four ways leaders can attract and retain talent:
1. Provide career growth opportunities.
According to the Talent Index, 83 percent of employees think companies should help with career progression, yet 44 percent say their employers don't have talent acceleration programs. If companies don't give their employees space to grow, and with opportunities for promotion elsewhere, they can't expect their talent to remain at their company.
Abakar Saidov, co-founder and CEO at Beamery, believes in skills-based retention programs. He says, "When employees don't have visibility about opportunities, they also miss information about what the desired skills are that will help progress their growth and development. It's important to give talent clear indicators of mobility within their organization to entice them to stay and grow with the business."
2. Don't confuse contentment with loyalty.
While half of the respondents reported being happy with how their employers coped and supported them during the pandemic, 53 percent are still considering leaving their job within the next year, with nearly a quarter already looking.
Communication is key; leaders should regularly ask their teams how they can improve, and what they want to see. There are always more competitive job elements that can be met, such as flexible working, mentorship programs, and rewards systems.
3. Achieve a work-life balance.
The pandemic gave some employees a taste of an improved work-life balance thanks to remote working, and the Beamery Talent Index suggests they don't want to give it up. More than a third of respondents believed their work-life balance was better during the pandemic, while 42 percent want flexible working to continue as they return to the office.
"It's important for leaders to reassure employees that a work-life balance remains a priority," says Saidov. "This is done through embracing a hybrid approach where employees determine which option works best for them, whilst ensuring adequate in person contact time to achieve progress-based goals and keep morale high."
With this in mind, leaders should encourage creativity and connection points. Set up time for employees to pursue side projects and follow passions. Schedule breaks, and some video-free meetings, to give workers mental relief and avoid burnout. This will lead to more efficient work and a more balanced work-life culture.
4. Make mental health a priority.
Companies still need to do more to prioritize mental health and wellness benefits for employees. Nearly a third of the research respondents declared they wanted more mental health support in the workplace, yet only 24 percent felt HR departments were making changes to prioritize it.
Saidov emphasizes that leaders should be asking how to correctly assess or identify the mental health of employees, rather than waiting for employees to come to them. Seeking out proactive initiatives to better understand concerns first is critical.
A critical insight by Generation Z
On another interesting note related to attraction, the survey found crucial insights by Generation Z -- the latest generation to enter the workforce -- pointing to the need for traditional recruitment processes to evolve.
"Gen Z is a mission-driven generation [and] pivoting to non-traditional recruiting methods with a focus on company culture, employee engagement, DE&I and sustainability is key to attracting future generations," suggests Saidov.
To attract the "candidate of today," companies need to modernize the channels they use to engage with the market, leveraging platforms like SMS, WeChat, and Whatsapp to facilitate more effective communication, and emerging social channels (everything from Instagram to Tiktok) to make sure their brand message hits home.
The bottom line: As rapid turnover continues, it's imperative that leaders reevaluate recruitment and employee growth practices. By looking inward to identify gaps in talent retention and adopting new methods to bridge them, businesses will successfully attract, engage and retain their greatest asset -- their people.