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Our advice for businesses wanting to retain and hire valuable employees at this time.

The pandemic has changed our lives forever and many of us have re-evaluated our careers as a result. We’re experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rethink and restructure how work is done. Once we move into a post-pandemic world, many things are not going to be the same as they were, including how numerous jobs are structured.

In the US, evidence of some of this restructuring is already appearing, in what has been coined the Great Resignation, as millions of employees quit their jobs. There is some indication that this trend will head to Australia. Now is the time for businesses to adapt to and anticipate the needs of employees if they want to retain them.

We take a look at some of the best ways that an organisation can prevent a mass exodus of staff.

1. Show you’re adaptable. 

Businesses that are rooted in their previous methods and systems are going to struggle to retain employees if they simply try to reinstate them all post pandemic. For instance, it’s well known that many employees now expect to continue working from home 2-3 days/week. If you push them to return to the office 5 days a week, this might not be well received. 

Flexible work is here to stay – demonstrating that you have adapted to the times will work in your favour. Try to also reassure your staff by highlighting any other changes your company has made to adjust and mitigate risk at this uncertain time. 

2. Understand your staff as individuals. 

Now more than ever, employees want to be seen as complex individuals not simply workers. The pandemic has given many people the chance to deeply reflect on the role of working life. For some, this has spurred a career change. Others are resigning if they don’t feel supported and proud of the company they’re working for.

Ensure that your staff are feeling valued and supported. Some of the most cited causes of employee frustration are: too many virtual meetings, micro-managing, bosses that are inflexible and not feeling heard.

3. Reflect on your business’ motivations. 

Behavioural scientist Aaron McEwan recently stated on the ‘This Working Life’ podcast, that organisations should ask themselves a couple of key questions – “is the work that we are doing bringing joy?” and “does this work have value?”. If the answer is no, then companies need to reflect on whether or not their job model is sustainable and worthwhile.

McEwan’s message to employers is to “get ready to start providing an experience at work which is similar to how you approach your customers.” In many instances, companies will need to start selling the work to employees.

4. Offer incentives. 

So far, ‘The Great Resignation’ in America is not occurring to the same degree in Australia. However, there are predictions that a big movement of talent will occur in early 2022 as the economy picks back up. This has been attributed to record levels of employee fatigue. Replacing employees isn’t easy and the long-term repercussions of businesses that try to run their company too leanly are not favourable, as growth is typically hampered when this approach is taken. 

Companies who want to retain and hire staff at this time would do well to offer incentives. Some businesses have tapped into their employees’ desire for adventure (much of which has been stalled by travel restrictions) and offered plane tickets for staff to travel and work remotely. Other companies have clearly identified how their post-pandemic working structure will look, with an emphasis on flexibility for workers. Now is the time to take decisive measures to ensure that your employees are feeling valued and want to stay.