Hands Holding Employees
Retaining Good Talent January 20, 2022

Boy, keeping talent in the seats isn’t what it used to be – and we have no one but the pandemic to blame. Now that we think about it, this might not be a bad thing (unless you’re on the wrong side of the table).

There was a time, not too long ago, when an employer called the shots. After all, a good position within an equally good company is (or was) a commodity and, well, supply and demand and all. Many current and would-be employees knew to keep things low key, not expect too much and definitely hold onto it for dear life.

Enter COVID.

If it has done nothing else, it has proven to be the great equalizer, flipping the script as it were: talent doesn’t need you, you need talent. Don’t believe it? Check out these stats from a recent Time article:

“A record-breaking 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August across an array of industries, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s the highest level since the agency started tracking such data in 2000, and the sixth consecutive month of sky-high quitting rates. Meanwhile, the 7.7 million people who remain unemployed aren’t, for the most part, jumping at the roughly 10.4 million job openings—leaving business after business with ‘Help Wanted’ placards in their windows.”

And surprisingly, it’s actually more expensive not to keep employees. It’s estimated that 87% of companies report it costs between $15,000-25,000 to replace each full-time Millennial employee they lose, meaning it’s about $20,000 to replace an entry-level worker. The cost of retention is linked to how senior the position is because higher-level positions command larger salaries. SHRM estimates it costs $20,000-30,000 in recruiting and training expenses to replace a manager making $40,000 a year. This calculation is based on it costing about six to nine months’ salary on average to place a salaried employee, while it costs about $1,500 to replace each hourly worker.

So, why?

One thought, according to Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, “[Employees] don’t want to return to backbreaking or boring, low wage, sh-t jobs” and “Workers are burned out. They’re fed up. They’re fried. In the wake of so much hardship, and illness and death during the past year, they’re not going to take it anymore.”

However, there’s a better thought further down in the Time article from Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics, who puts it perfectly: conditions are good for workers to exert pressure on their employers.

“For at least two generations, workers have been on their back heels,” he explains. “…It’s now going to be a workers’ market, and they’re empowered. I think they are starting to flex their collective muscles.”

All this to say there’s a new type of workforce and they’ve got a few demands. Not only this but employers will have to think beyond what they’ve been doing and provide more attractive opportunities for talent, and not just in the way of an office with a view and a good compensation package if they’re going to find and even keep talent.

We’ve collected a few of the top things employers are going to have to provide if they’re to remain competitive and even solvent for the foreseeable future.

  • Ensure employees have what they need and provide new tools to keep talent connected, focusing on well-being, re-skilling and restructuring
  • Employers should prioritize safety, flexibility, transparency, and technology when trying to win over job seekers or maintain their workforce
  • Retention and engagement are directly correlated. The more engaged a worker is, the longer they will want to stay at their organization, everything else being constant. And, engagement is tightly linked to productivity so by engaging a worker, they are going to perform better and stay longer, which saves costs and increases impact on the organization. Disengagement is an indicator that workers are going to begin their job search.
  • Even though a workforce is decentralized and isolated at home, employers can still create a healthy and supportive culture without a physical office space. Now that work and life are intertwined, people just want to be their full selves at work because work is home, home is work. When an employee feels like they belong, and they’re an important team member, they naturally want to work harder and stay longer in their role. When there’s psychological safety, workers can take more risks, be vulnerable, and most importantly, be themselves.
  • Give them the benefits they need
  • Create professional development opportunities (94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their professional development)
  • Make sure managers are not compelling great employees to leave (remember, people leave managers, not companies)
  • Create career advancement opportunities (for every 10 months an employee stays in a position, their chance of quitting increase by 1%)
  • Improve the onboarding process and make an extra effort to integrate and introduce employees (When there’s no onboarding process at all, there’s a higher employee turnover rate and lower productivity levels)
  • Monitor turnover risks (One-on-one check-ins, discussions and constant communication with employees ensure expectations are being met and they’re currently happy at the organization)
  • Make sure your employees are appreciated and recognized (Plan fun activities as a staff. 66% of employees say they would quit their job if they felt unappreciated and according to a recent Gallup poll, 65% of people feel unappreciated at their job)
  • Make sure your employees don’t feel overworked and overwhelmed, and monitor employee mental health and use of time off (Given the demand for talented workers and a renewed cultural focus on health and wellness, few workers are willing to tolerate such conditions)
  • Create flexible working arrangements (Remote working reduces one of the biggest pain points of going into the office: commuting. 23% of workers have quit their job because of a bad commute)

This is why Brand Labs we are constantly evolving and listening to our employees to create a company culture that is welcoming and nurturing. Brand Labs not only compensates employees fairly with a living wage, we also focus on balancing work and life with our Flexible Fridays that offers a shortened work week, fully paid maternal, paternal and miscarriage leave, and a paid holiday for World Mental Health Day. We take the time to listen to employees through individual one-on-ones so we can focus on how to continuously provide a work culture that makes employees want to stick around, for the long run–and it’s paying off. Brand Labs recently became a Certified Great Place To Work company! It is the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience. What this means is Great Place to Work certification puts us in a rare category these days, as an employer of choice.

We’ll close with this. When in doubt, just remember this: You don’t always need to pay more. You might just need to pay more attention.