Despite all the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic brought, Americans are becoming clearer on what they want from work. In April 2021, a record 4 million people quit their jobs. In May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 3.6 million people resigned, as well.
As we’re emerging from the pandemic, employers are finding workers want more flexibility and work-life balance from their professions. In order to retain your key talent and keep employees happy, businesses must adapt to changing worker needs and meet those demands. Here’s what to keep in mind.
1. Create an Atmosphere of Trust
In a world of instability, trust in the workplace can instill confidence in your employees and enable them to produce better results. As SHRM reported regarding a survey of 1,202 U.S. working-age adults, when workers trust their leaders:
- 33% said they’d stay longer with an employer.
- 23% said they’d offer more solutions and ideas.
- 21% said they’d be willing to work longer hours.
Trust in an employer can help employees feel stable and valued. A sense of trust can deter workers from looking elsewhere for employment. They may feel more motivated to contribute, knowing their employer has their best interests in mind.
How can you create an atmosphere of trust? Strive to:
- Be transparent. Share news with employees when it’s available. If you can’t divulge all the details about developments that are happening, be honest with employees about what you’re able to share and what to expect.
- Support professional growth. Today’s workers value learning and development opportunities. According to a survey of 2,000 employees by BetterBuys, 92% of employees said having access to professional development was important or very important. Employees with professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged and have 34% higher retention. Show employees you care by offering relevant training.
- Abide by values. Missions matter in today’s workplaces. According to Glassdoor’s Mission & Culture Survey, 77% of adults evaluate a workplace’s culture before applying there, while 79% consider mission and purpose before applying. Promote your mission and values in every action your leadership takes.
Open communication, honesty and relationship-building all contribute to an atmosphere of trust, as well. From the top-down, hire leaders and managers who show employees they can be trusted and who trust in their employees.
2. Provide Flexible Work Options
Companies that could offer remote work did so during the pandemic and the trend is likely to continue in the future, even as we emerge. According to a McKinsey & Company survey in August 2020, executives planned to reduce office space by 30%.
Remote work is here to stay. Upwork’s 2020 Future Workforce Pulse Report, a survey of 1,000 U.S. hiring managers, found that by 2025 the number of remote workers will increase 87% from pre-pandemic levels to reach 36.2 million Americans. Already, an estimated 26.7% of the American workforce is working remotely.
To keep employees happy, employers should consider offering:
- Choice of work environment: If it’s feasible, let workers decide whether they want to come into the office or work from home, or a hybrid of the two.
- Flexible hours: Remote work enables 24/7 productivity. Employers should consider ditching mandatory 9-5 office hours and agree that as long as deadlines are met, it doesn’t matter when the work is completed. A 2020 survey by Airtasker found remote workers averaged 1.4 more monthly days of work productivity compared to in-office employees, which benefits you.
- General PTO: Instead of bucketing paid time off into “sick days” and “personal days,” employers can offer a specific number of days for paid time off, whatever the reason. According to a 2021 report by Mental Health America, mental illness among adults has been increasing since 2017, when 19% of adults experienced a mental illness. The number of people screening for depression and anxiety has “skyrocketed” in the past year. Employers must provide flexibility when it comes to time off for mental health or to allow employees time to deal with any personal issues they are facing.
If you’re wondering what exactly to offer for your business, survey your employees. Each workforce is unique, so ask your employees what they want so you can meet their needs.
3. Support Work-Life Balance
With the high rate of employee turnover today, workplaces must offer more than just a job. Employers need to support work-life balance and contribute to overall employee well-being.
Gartner’s “2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey” found businesses that support employee work-life balance see a:
- 23% increase in the number of workers reporting improved mental health
- 21% increase in the number of high performers
- 17% increase in the number of workers reporting improved physical health
Supporting work-life balance requires looking at employees as human beings, not just workers. Think about how you can positively contribute to your employees’ lives. You might offer benefits like:
- Health insurance, including dental, eye and mental health insurance
- Social events, like happy hours and team-bonding activities
- 401(k) accounts and employer matching
- Tuition reimbursement for continued education that relates to the job
- Free childcare and parental leave for working families
- On-site exercise and yoga classes
- Stress management and sleep improvement programs
Tie benefits like these back into business results by seeing how these programs affect your company’s bottom line. Again, survey employees on what they want. Then, measure how new benefits and programs impact productivity, employee retention and worker satisfaction for your business.
Invest in Employees to Stay Competitive
Today’s professionals are more discerning with what they want from a workplace since work is such a major contributor to overall well-being. In March 2021, the National Federation of Independent Business found 42% of business owners had job openings that weren’t filled, which was a record high.
To attract and retain top talent, employers must show employees that:
- The workplace fosters an atmosphere of trust.
- The business offers flexible working arrangements when possible.
- The business supports work-life balance with valuable benefits and programs.
If you’re a business owner interested in finding talent for your workplace, contact AccruePartners. We can help you convey your value to relevant applicants and attract quality candidates.