Employee trends and retention during the pandemic years

Employee trends and retention during the pandemic years

All research about employment length is now out of date given what we have globally been through since the outbreak of the pandemic. A huge amount of fluidity happened during this time; with people being forced to work in entirely different ways. This in turn changed many employees’ attitudes to the amount of time they were prepared to travel, and indeed work in a day. We found that many dedicated hard workers, first in the office and last to leave, re-evaluated their lives and made it clear that this was not something they were prepared to return to. For highly valued employees to take this stand some cultural adjustments had to be addressed by employers, many of whom were hoping everything would return to the ‘norm’ after the pandemic. The real danger of losing valued staff is in how hard they are to replace. People were prepared to make lifestyle changes, to drop income levels, in order to improve their quality of lives going forward.

So, is this a seismic change? Well, yes…

Employees were clearly signalling to their employers that the old ways of working were no longer an option; they would leave if their employment could not be adapted to suit their new needs; their very wellbeing. During the pandemic, and after, more people left employment for lifestyle changes than we have ever experienced in our time as recruiters. And who is to say that this trend won’t continue. We are not out of the woods yet; Coronavirus has not gone away, the world has suffered its biggest cultural shock in centuries – and not everyone thought that was a bad thing.

Holding onto quality staff no longer appears to mean ‘endless supply of coffee,’ and ‘other staff benefits,’ they just don’t hit the mark anymore. Many employees valued the extra time they got through not travelling to the office, in some cases hours were gained back. Others enjoyed the increased thinking time, less office politics, wearing pjs all day!

On being asked to return to the office, many asked for reduced hours or to continue to work from home for some of the time.  This seismic change meant re-evaluating what employers need and want from their employees. These ideas often being juxtaposition to each other have necessitated new ways of thinking. 

Once upon a time, people stayed in good jobs for life. Now the average for most first world countries is 4.1 years. We are prepared to take a calculated guess that during the past 2.5 years, that has reduced significantly!

So, is this a bad thing?

Yes, if you can’t adapt to new employee requirements, as recruitment will be tough. No, if you enjoy bringing in new talents and fresh thinking into an organisation or are ready to go with a new style of operating. Whilst many companies loudly and proudly proclaim how long they hold on to their employees, these are also often companies where there has been little change and development over the years. Stagnation is a real danger, and ‘dead man’s shoes’ promotion prospects are no real incentive.

So, what have you found during the pandemic years?

Did you go with the flow, adapt and evolve, or did you feel you needed to hold fast? Or, were your team perfectly happy to return to the old routine, happy in the comfort and security that brought?

And, most importantly, have you seen an increase in staff turnover during this time and was this good or bad for your company? Please let us know what happened with you over the last few years…

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