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Handling the Spike in Employee Turnover Post-Pandemic

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Quick look: As more and more employees leave (or decline to return to) their jobs in recent months, employers and brokers who serve them must start evaluating new solutions to attract and retain top talent.

Call it the Great Resignation of 2021, a turnover tsunami… however you spin it, employee turnover is reaching record numbers post-pandemic. Regulating turnover rate is nothing new for most companies. However, most would agree the spike is a bit unexpected. For months, businesses struggled through furloughs and layoffs, which led to the assumption people would resume their regular roles once doors were open again.

Instead, there’s been a significant shift in the number of people who are leaving their jobs voluntarily. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of May 2021, 3.6 million people left their jobs to seek out new roles. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Monster.com reported 95% of U.S. workers were considering leaving their jobs, citing worker burnout and lack of growth opportunities as the two highest rated reasons. These stats, though shocking to some, are two of the many examples of similar sentiments being shared today.

Now, nearly every industry is on the hunt for good employees, which means brokers must take a closer look at the current HR solutions they’re presenting and assess where they need to shift. The rise in opportunity, in addition to the switch in priorities experienced during the pandemic, has put recruiting and retention on the rise.

How a Year at Home Changed the Way People Want to Work

Being forced to work from home in 2020 caused a dramatic shift in employee priorities and expectations. While remote work was challenging, many found this new work-life balance better suited to their needs as they adjusted to the new norm.

There was also a significant disconnect and sharp decline in company culture. Companies relying solely on perks like in-office lunches and after-work happy hours struggled to keep employees as engaged as they once were. With no in-person camaraderie to counteract the day-to-day, employees began to rethink their own definition of “job satisfaction.”

Although compensation and health insurance are still major deciding factors, the desire for a healthy work-life balance is not far behind and is giving people pause as they consider changing roles. For some, this balance translates to flexible schedules or hybrid working environments to avoid long commutes and spend more quality time at home.

Others acquired new skills during the pandemic, and are now considering career shifts toward different industries altogether. In short, people adapted, evolved, and found they have more opportunities than before. Therefore, they found value in the risk of voluntarily leaving their current positions in hopes of finding something more fulfilling.

Revisiting Employee Retention Strategies with a Look Toward the Future

Recruiting and training a new hire requires a much deeper investment of resources than required to retain a current employee. To weather the spike in employee turnover and make the most of this new era, brokers can help their clients revisit and revamp employee retention strategies to meet what workers are looking for in today’s world. These include:

  • Focusing on employee recognition
  • Engaging top performers
  • Conducting stay interviews

Employee Recognition

Employee recognition is consistently one of the top factors affecting whether an employee stays or leaves a company. One survey found 82% of American professionals feel they aren’t adequately recognized for their contribution. The less people feel appreciated, the more likely they are to look elsewhere. Experiencing high turnover rates can be particularly crippling for small- and medium-sized businesses already experiencing limited resources.

Fortunately, recognition can be translated in multiple ways: in company meetings, annual reviews, via performance bonuses, and more. However, recognition must be personalized for each employee to ensure it resonates as it should.

Top Performer Engagement

A second way to mitigate high employee turnover rate is to keep top performers engaged. People want to feel recognized and valued, but they also want to feel excited about their work.

Companies can recognize and reward top performers through professional development and career growth opportunities, as well as investment in their employees’ future through methods like education reimbursement or health and wellness stipends.

Stay Interviews

Lastly, conducting stay interviews provides important insight into how to improve company culture and benefits. Even as the current surge of “job leavers” dies down, reducing employee turnover should always be a focus for businesses. Employers must take the time to look at what’s working—and be honest with what’s not—in order to create a stronger company culture and higher employee retention rates.

Partner with HR Experts

Prioritizing these areas can feel overwhelming, especially for businesses still trying to resume a sense of normalcy. To give human resources its proper due, many brokers are partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) like ExtensisHR.

A PEO provides full-service, flexible HR solutions which provide support and strategies to help companies recruit strong candidates and retain top performers. With employees weighing their options and being selective, recruiting has become more competitive than ever, and keeping good people is a bigger challenge.

Dedicating specific time and resources to address employee turnover and constantly introduce new and creative ideas to engage and connect allows companies to grow faster, save on hiring costs, and lower employee turnover rates. Those who make the most of this time and give it the attention it deserves will build a solid foundation, which will withstand the ebbs and flows and serve them well in the future.

Learn more about how partnering with a PEO can help your clients weather the flow of employee turnover. Our expert HR teams are here to help.

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