Illustration by Signe Valentin Andersen

The Great Resignation, The Big Quit, the General Strike. Call it what you will, but the mass voluntary exodus of nearly 4 million American employees has been creating headlines for the last 6 months. This isn’t breaking news to the HR community, who’ve had to deal with the fallout. But, now there’s talk about The Great Retention. The desire, indeed the necessity to hang on to experienced staff in these turbulent times. So how do you retain your most valuable asset?

Here’s our top tips to ensure your workplace can weather this storm.

Take a pulse check 

Many company websites contain a list of values that they feel encapsulate their company culture, but do these values truly reflect what matters to their employees? It’s crucial to keep track of your people’s professional and also their personal values, as these can change with time, especially over the last 18 months.

  1. Be strategic in asking the right questions to your teams to understand their core values. There’s a difference between employees' values and what the actual culture of an organisation looks like. Data on this is key to understanding what drives your people and your company as a whole. 
  2. Make pulse checks a regular activity in your company, but do try and keep this as quick and simple for employees to complete. Transparency through communication of the results will help build trust and improve employee engagement levels. 
  3. Pulse checks can be taken at any level; company wide, departmental and/or personal - do this anonymously if possible to help you gauge a true reflection from your people. 

Promote Internally

Many companies forget to look inward when trying to fill their vacant positions. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that companies in the US spend an average of $4129 per job. This is an extortionate amount to spend on hiring, especially if there’s a hidden gem that’s gone unnoticed.  

  1. Consider investing in your existing staff with redirected funds from the hiring process. Motivation is what drives performance, so create a culture-first environment with opportunities for your people to progress and move diagonally.
  2. Workers come with a whole range of skills that can be under-utilised, make sure you have personal progression plans for your employees that can be called upon when needed.
  3. At a time when employing a recruiter feels like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, why not hire internally to alleviate this stress.

Communication is key 

With many workers now either fully remote or hybrid, communication is even more important. So how do you do this successfully?

  1. Workers can feel unheard, particularly if Zoom or Teams is not their forte. Make sure everyone has a voice, whether it be in a meeting room or virtually. 
  2. Avoid the risks of creating a two-tier workforce and be mindful of an unequal presence in the office that might affect promotions and pay rises. Remote workers are as productive as their office based counterparts and aren’t to be forgotten. 
  3. Regularly check in with each and every one of your team, not only on an individual basis but also as a company and department. Daily stand ups are a great way to catch up at the start of each day.

Flexibility

Remit Consulting conducted a study this October and found that occupancy of offices in the UK were at 20% of pre-pandemic levels. Companies have, at last, realised that productivity doesn't fall with remote working, rather there’s more energy and time that was previously absorbed by commuting.

  1. With employees opting for hybrid solution’s. Consider adjusting your office footprint in line with this trend, a solution of hot-desking might help with the reduction of overheads.
  2. Be open and encouraging when employees are looking to take a more flexible route, it’s important to support your staff regardless of their location.
  3. Be ahead of the game in making sure your people have their IT and office needs met when choosing to work remotely.

Wellbeing

Earlier this year the Irish Government passed a new code of practice, ‘the right to disconnect’, whereby employers are being discouraged from contacting their workforce after hours. The Portuguese Government went one step further and passed this as law. Work-life balance is becoming increasingly important, so how should you prioritise wellbeing?

  1. Wellbeing needs to be top of your management's agenda and prioritised along with inclusivity and diversity. Actively engage on this issue as part of your pulse check.
  2. People’s values change, and whilst a ping pong table and Friday bar might have hit the mark 18 months ago, workers are now demanding more. Be creative in offering wellbeing solutions that add meaningful value.
  3. As a company you need to make sure that you’re as adaptive as your workforce. Ensure that your employee feedback is acted upon quickly and effectively by setting up a feedback loop.

Culture is key when it comes to retaining your employees. You need to show that your company culture is reflected in your workforce, whether it’s office based or remote. Ensure that management has the tools to support and extend employee life cycles. But most importantly, go back to the basics of being a people-first organisation by understanding what matters most to your employees.

Written by
Claire
Stone
Content Specialist
at

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