Recent surveys quoted by Society of Human Resource Management suggest that 52% of employees surveyed indicated they intended to look for a new job this year. Given the uptick in job searches that occur in the second and third calendar quarters and the renewed focus on retention risks, employers must actively manage talent solutions, reward programs and employee communications or risk losing valued employees.
Grant Thornton’s By the Numbers pulse survey, on the topic of employee retention, was conducted during the month of April 2021. Our results identified several areas that employers can consider as they examine their employee retention strategies and management practices for the future.
Intent to stay -- Similar to the survey sources cited by SHRM, when asked about the chance of searching for a new position with another employer, our pulse survey indicated that more than 40% of respondents were likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months.
Compensation and workplace environment -- It’s no surprise that the importance of getting cash compensation and the workplace environment right are key to employee retention. These results continue to reinforce the potential long-term residual effect of furloughs, pay reductions and reduced cash bonuses on engagement and employers’ future challenge to communicate their compensation programs in an effective and engaging manner.
Responsibilities and remote work -- Human resource leaders face unique challenges to help business leaders structure shifting job responsibilities following staff reductions and the introduction of a greater share of remote work. As a key driver of employee retention, our pulse survey questions indicate that employers have a unique opportunity to increase the long-term value employees can receive from the current remote work or work-from-home arrangement and expand responsibilities to develop their new skills for the future.
It is crucial that organizations examine their employee retention strategies on a recurring basis and from a variety of perspectives for the foreseeable future.
- Holistic view of total compensation. A mix of components, including base salary, annual incentives and long-term incentives, will be crucial for competitive compensation. This may require new strategies for employers to adopt for their hourly workers where a large percentage of regular earnings is allocated to benefits.
- Segmentation. In the face of uncertainty and limited resources, a one-size-fits-all strategy often doesn’t work. Employers will begin to address their critical workforce segments and key individual talent by differentiating rewards. This can include more intentional job responsibilities that expand skills and expands an employer’s ability to build a more resilient workforce.
- Employee listening. The COVID-19 experience has elevated many organizations’ internal communication capabilities as the need to inform employees about policy changes and the logistics of remote work. The shift to active listening creates another opportunity for employers to conduct brief pulse surveys, open-door exchanges, and mentorship opportunities to engage top performers and critical workforce segments.
Recruiting and retention strategies were already changing when COVID-19 transformed the economy and introduced profound change and uncertainty. As the economy stabilizes and recovers, employers must creatively structure their compensation plans and find ways to win the battle for increasingly valuable workers who can drive success.
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