Employees are quitting their jobs. One study by Microsoft found that 41% of employees are considering switching jobs or careers. In the US, over 4 million people quit their jobs in July alone, and there were a record-breaking 10 million job postings by the end of the month. Economists are calling it The Great Resignation.
The reasons for these sudden departures are multi-faceted. Some employees used the pandemic to reevaluate core aspects of their life and found their current career path wanting. Others are unhappy with their treatment from their employer and how they handled the pandemic. One major point of contention is back-to-work policies and a lack of flexibility offered by their employers.
In the blog, we’ll explore what employers can do to ensure their employees are happy with their situation and which programs and policies make their business attractive to talent on the hunt for a new job.
What Benefits Do Employees Want?
Questions about remote work policies, vacation days, and wellness spending accounts were, not too long ago, an afterthought in the interview process. They were nice additions rather than requirements. Not anymore. Expect questions regarding total compensation to be among the most important you will have with candidates for your business interviews.
The same is true for existing employees. They know what’s going on in the industry, from looking at job boards or hearing from friends that work at different companies. Keeping them happy means, at the very least, keeping your benefits program in line with the industry standard.
- Childcare and Family Benefits
Working parents have been under a lot of pressure. There was a collective sigh of relief when daycares re-opened and parents could look forward to stretches of uninterrupted hours of focus during the day.
Childcare is expensive though, and more employees with small children are hoping that their employers will foot some of the cost through child care stipends and other non-traditional benefits offerings.
2. Remote Work Flexibility
This one comes as no surprise. Anyone who has given so much as a cursory glance to the business pages of newspapers and magazines understands that employees are in no big rush to return to the office full time. The vast majority want to spend roughly 2 days a week working at the office and the remaining days from the comfort of their home (or favourite coffee shop).
Whether or not your business offers remote work flexibility may be a deal-breaker when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. This is especially true if your competitors are offering flexible work options.
To learn more, check out our blog on how to implement an effective return to the office plan.
3. Home Office Expenses
Working from your coffee table might’ve been fun and novel for the first three months, but after a year and a half of remote work, employees want proper home offices.
Most employees don’t want an executive desk and state-of-the-art office chair. They simply want a place to work that is more comfortable and private than their living room. Adding a home office budget to your benefits package allows them to purchase the items they need to make their daily work experience that much more enjoyable.
4. Mental Health Support
Mental health support was already trending upwards, but the pandemic took it to another level. Over the last year, it’s estimated that 56% of young adults experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety. This has led to an increased focus on improving mental health and has encouraged many employees to seek treatment.
With in-person support largely being unavailable, many companies heavily invested in secure telehealth options. This means that mental health support has never been easier or more affordable to receive.
Do Your Employees Feel Valued?
Prior to Covid, a lot of businesses paid a lot of lip service about caring for their employees. The pandemic showed who meant it. Employees found themselves furloughed or with their salary cut and their workload expanded. Some watched their work slowly seep into their home life, late-night Slack messages, email notifications at the dinner table, a feeling that there’s always one more thing to do before turning off the computer for the night.
In such situations, employees felt unappreciated by their employers. Had the job market looked better at the time, they may have found a new job then. But the start of a global pandemic—when businesses are shutting down and the ones that are staying open are reducing their staff—isn’t the ideal time to job hunt. So these undervalued workers got on with their to-do lists, in the back of their minds knowing they would look for a new job when the time was right.
Employees feel valued when their employers go out of their way to ensure their job isn’t negatively affecting their life. Policies that encourage a healthy work-life balance, a work environment where employees feel comfortable asking for help when issues arise, feeling connected to their co-workers, and that their job contributes to the success of the company are all ways employees get satisfaction and value from their work.
The past year and a half have been all about uncertainty. As things begin to stabilize, people are surveying their landscape and planning their next move. New careers, going back to school, switching jobs. As an employer, the moment is rich with opportunity. So long as you treated your employees with respect and care throughout, now is the time that you can recruit talented people coming from companies that didn’t do the same. And taking a look at your business’s total compensation and making key adjustments can help you attract and retain that top talent.