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How to Get On the Right Side of the Predicted Post Pandemic Labor Shuffle

Studies show as many as half of workers intend to look for a new job this year. (Source)

Reasons for Job Hopping

Respondents gave a variety of reasons for wanting to move on to new opportunities, including disengagement and burnout, as well as the typical career-oriented contributing factors like wanting a promotion or raise.

Better compensation and benefits (35 percent) and better work/life balance (25 percent) are the top two reasons why employees would leave their current job, according to research commissioned by the Achievers Workforce Institute, the research arm of Achievers, an employee recognition software company in Toronto. The institute surveyed 2,000 employed adults in February, finding that 52 percent are looking for a new job, up from 35 percent a year earlier.

The study also found that 46 percent of respondents feel less connected to their company, and 42 percent say company culture has diminished since the start of the pandemic. Just 21 percent said they are very engaged at work.

While remote work may lead to more flexibility, that flexibility may not translate to better work/life balance—as employees may be working more, Baumgartner said.

“More than half of employees who are currently working from home worry their manager doubts their productivity,” she said. “To compensate, more than 2 in 5 employees are starting their workdays earlier or working later, and more than a third are skipping lunch breaks in an effort to show productivity to managers.”

The many new opportunities to work remotely and relocate to a more desirable place to live is another reason why people are looking to make a job switch in the wake of the pandemic.

Advice for Employers

Melissa Jezior, president and CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting advises companies to embrace the idea that business strategy and workforce planning will look different post-pandemic and to get started on identifying the talent, skills and roles that will be necessary to prosper once the health crisis passes. “There is a knee-jerk reaction that often happens when managing turnover,” she said. “Companies default to backfilling roles with the same skills. But bouncing forward means identifying and cultivating new skills through upskilling, reskilling and in hiring practices.”

Other recommendations for stemming the expected tide of turnover include:

  • Keeping top performers engaged. “Companies should identify and engage high performers for obvious reasons—and because studies show they are the most susceptible to burnout,” Jezior said. “To help A players feel valued and excited about staying with them, companies should focus on their career growth, offer stretch exposure and exclusive training, and be more transparent about career progression and compensation.”
  • Recognizing employees. The Achievers report found that 74 percent of employees want more recognition for their work. “Training managers on effective recognition and holding them accountable for recognizing their teams regularly is critical to keeping employees engaged,” Baumgartner said.
  • Listening to employees. “During this crisis, companies have had to do a lot of talking to employees about everything from policy changes to the logistics of remote work,” Jezior said. “But it is equally important to listen to them. By conducting employee surveys, encouraging open-door exchanges, and providing career counseling and mentorship opportunities, companies can create a supportive environment.”
  • Conducting external stay interviews to better understand turnover risk. Nelms explained that conversations between managers and employees often fail to reveal underlying turnover risk because the employee doesn’t trust the manager with that information. “Stay interviews conducted by third parties, where the employee feels more able to be authentic in their responses, express truer risk factors related to why employees would consider leaving,” he said.

Melissa Marsh, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a human resources consultant and founder of HRinDemand, a human resources company in Reno, NV, offering expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth.

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