Lynne Hardman, CEO, Working Transitions, advises companies on how to stop their staff exodus post lockdown
As we learn to live with the effects of the pandemic and embrace our ‘new normal’, many people are starting to re-evaluate their lives, and that includes thinking about whether now is the time to make a career change. In the UK, 60% of workers are open to switching careers, increasing seven percentage points since July 2020 (53%). As we come out of lockdown, businesses are starting to prepare for new opportunities, evaluate skill gaps and look to the future, which means the job market is expected to heat up.
Ensuring existing employees are engaged and satisfied at work will be critical in protecting against a staff exodus.
The reality is that the impact of furlough, salary reductions, possible or threatened job loss, and working – or even not working – from home will have made some people feel differently about their current employer. Many organisations have had to restructure, leading to altered career paths or progression opportunities for employees. Add an increased level of poor mental health into the mix, and, unsurprisingly, employers face losing people who have built up critical skills and experience over many years.
For most organisations, talent is a critical asset – but, unfortunately, potentially the biggest risk factor too. The more awareness you can have about what drives and motivates your team, the better. Your team members want to know that you care about them as people and individuals, not just as a headcount. Critical to the workplace experience is an individual’s relationship with their line manager and how they feel they are valued by them. Regular constructive conversations are required to cement this relationship– and a coaching-based approach is the best way to make these conversations feel personal.
However, many Line Managers struggle with communication. It is worth investing in upskilling your managers to improve coaching skills – this encourages open and honest dialogue that can really help to identify what motivates employees in today’s challenging and ever-evolving environment. Without this insight, it can be challenging to understand how to adapt your approaches.
Once you have an understanding as to what drives your employees to stay or think about leaving, it’s much easier to align solutions to keep your talent engaged. Sometimes it can be as straightforward as offering a more hybrid approach to flexible working.
For other employers, the skills gap is the biggest challenge they need to address. Don’t forget that in about 75% of cases, it pays for an organisation to reskill an employee rather than look to hire in. With many people feeling their careers have been on hold for the last 18 months, offering learning opportunities can be a simple and effective way to address retention, engagement and skills gaps within the business.
Addressing skills gaps and employee motivation is critical in the post-covid era to motivate and retain the talent critical to business success. The most forward-thinking organisations know that the best way to avoid any staff exodus is by embedding coaching across all levels of an organisation. This action allows you to create an environment of personal development and enhanced performance, giving employees the ability to overcome barriers and accelerate skills development ensuring a workplace that employees won’t want to leave.