Six Ways To Build Employee Loyalty Post-Pandemic

As organizations recover from the impact of the pandemic, retaining talent is going to be a major undertaking — especially because an increasing number of employees are seeking positions elsewhere.

A recent survey of 2,000 workers conducted by Achievers Workforce Institute found that 52% are looking for a new job, up from 35% a year earlier. This means that you quickly need to consider actions to take to retain your most valued employees. Here are six important steps.

1. Rethink talent needs.

Recognize that the world in which you operate has dramatically changed. As much as it might be comfortable to focus on backfilling people you may have already lost by looking for those with similar skills and experience, you have a golden opportunity to rethink what your organization needs to do to move forward.

Identify talent gaps and refocus your recruiting strategies to attract people who will drive future success. Analyze your most significant challenges and what kind of employees will help you overcome them. Seek people who have honed their remote working skills. Even if you plan to bring most employees back into the office, you are likely to find new demands for remote work either from employees themselves or from the need to cut your operational costs.

2. Identify top performers and engage them.

Your top performers know they are good at what they do, but do they know that you see them that way? Now is the time to build your managers’ abilities to evaluate current talent. Hold comprehensive talent reviews with your leaders to identify your up-and-coming players, assess their strengths and build actionable development plans.

Rethink succession planning: Do you have solid development strategies in place for these employees? Now is the time to do this quickly and do it well. Look at the most serious challenges your organization faces and integrate these with your development strategies to keep your A-players motivated and engaged.

3. Beef up employee recognition.

Does anyone think they get too much recognition? Your employees at all levels have been through a lot this past year, professionally and personally. Many are burned out. Some have suffered personal loss and grief.

Middle managers play an essential role in effective employee recognition. Be sure to offer them training on how to provide a variety of public and private recognition to employees and coach them on the importance of being specific when providing recognition. Such feedback should include what the employee did, what strengths they applied and how it positively impacted the company or team.

Help managers understand how important it is for employees to feel respected and valued by them and develop ways to hold them accountable for doing this. Further, set the right example and recognize those middle managers who are successful at recognizing others.

4. Conduct stay interviews.

Many companies conduct exit interviews, but unfortunately, these are too late to retain your valuable employees.

Institute stay interviews to find out who might be at risk for leaving. SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) provides a wealth of potential questions to ask, such as: “What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?” and “What would make your job more satisfying?” Work with managers and your human resources team to compile the answers to these questions and look for patterns where action is needed.

5. Find out what employees are thinking and feeling.

Pre-pandemic you may well have done a great job of assessing your organizational culture. Perhaps not. Either way much has changed.

Three ways to assess the current status of your culture include focus groups; employee spot surveys; and getting out of your office and walking around, observing and listening to employees. Use the information gathered from these approaches to develop an employee retention plan and include a diverse cross-section of employees to aid in its development. Make sure employees who are working remotely are involved.

6. Do not underestimate the importance of equity.

Employees leave organizations for many reasons and it is tempting to think that as long as your pay scales are competitive, compensation will not be a key driver of turnover.

Ensuring fair and equitable pay, however, is a vital component of your company’s reputation, both internally and externally. Do a deep dive into your pay practices from a diversity and inclusion perspective: Are women in like roles paid less than men? What about minorities or other diverse employees? Also, examine if your organization targets promotional opportunities as well and developmental assignments in an equitable manner.

Post-pandemic success is contingent on your ability to think and lead differently. A more employee-centered approach with all aspects of the way in which you conduct business will create a positive environment and a more loyal workforce.