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Retaining And Attracting Employees Post Lockdown

A New Normal

Leigh Gillatt  •  Recruitment Articles

Retaining And Attracting Employees Post Lockdown


A quick look at the latest UK labour market overview from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) would on the face of it probably leave you assuming that the coronavirus pandemic, and its associated downturn, has pretty must cast us back into an employer’s market – but as recruiter’s on the frontline, we're seeing that a deeper look at the situation paints something that is much more complex.

In fact despite the challenging economic climate, and the continued skills shortages in many sectors, key professionals have continued to see a rise in their demand, so much so that many have been re-evaluating their career options for post COVID-19.

Read on to learn what we as recruiters are noticing on the frontline of the labour market.

Many business owner’s and executives assume that their company’s ‘buying power’ in the labour market correlates with the unemployment rate and general state of the economy. Its simple right? In a candidate’s market, raise wages and offer as many employee benefits as your budget will allow in order to attract the top talent. Conversely during a period of an employer’s market, slash wages and benefits and drive a ‘hard bargain’, ignoring those candidates that aren’t prepared to accept the lower offers.

In fairness, basic economics suggests that this approach is actually a logical use of the company’s hiring budget and management time.

However, although the coronavirus pandemic has clearly resulted in increased unemployment figures, other interesting data has also been highlighted.

27% finding it a struggle to fit in non-work (life) based tasks

Recent research conducted by the CIPD , found that for those that have continued to work throughout the current pandemic, 27% of them were finding it a struggle to fit in non-work (life) based tasks and commitments due to their current workload; 37% of which had already stated that they had too much work.

Despite 18% of non-key workers stating they had too little work in June of 2020, the overall picture over all workers in general showed that 28% are assessing their work-life balance and considering making changes post-COVID.

28% are assessing their work-life balance and considering making changes post-COVID

Speaking to managers out in the field, we're being told that this shift in attitudes towards work is causing a direct impact on the ability of business owner's to retain key employees and/or attract the best available talent in the market.

However, despite the impact of these changes, we believe there are a number of steps managers can take to ensure they remain a leading employer and stand out from their competitors whether that’s retaining the key employees they currently have, or hiring new talent in the coming months.

How To Retain Your Top Employees

Encourage Healthy Communication And With Empathy

With a large chunk of the UK population on tiered lockdowns amid layoffs and furloughs, we've constantly been reminded of the importance of healthy communication, which has either been managed well or not quite so well by employers. During the recent challenges we have all faced, managing with empathy has been right at the forefront of managers tasks, where teams that have lacked caring and compassion have seen direct impacts on employee well-being and productivity.

Another thing that is now certain, there is no going back to normal. For many industries, there has been a dramatic shift in working styles and the pandemic has accelerated the inevitable digital transformations many organisations have had to adopt.

Companies that have historically been reluctant to authorise flexible hours or work from home days, have had to quickly adapt to the change and learn to better cater for their employees’ non-work-related priorities.

Adapting to these new working styles in order to maintain productivity has become a real challenge for some businesses, but also to their ability to retain talent. By giving employees the opportunity to see themselves in your company for the long-term amid this uncertainty and transformation will undoubtedly make a lasting difference.

Keep Pay Rates Inline With Industry Averages

Pandemic or no pandemic, even in times of increased unemployment, if you aren’t meeting or exceeding what other companies are paying for comparable positions, you’re risking the loss of your most valued employees – many of which who will have possibly covered other team members tasks, conveniently gaining new skills and business-critical experience during this pandemic. Along with this, offering the continued ability for employees to work from home, restructure their working hours where possible, and/or adding deferred bonuses could all help to retain the loyalty of your key employees right now.

Flexibility Is Required

Today’s workers want and expect flexibility — one way that many organisations meet that need is by being more accommodating when it comes to working hours and meeting deadlines. This in turn allows your employees to be able to arrange their lives as the pandemic continues to pose unexpected barriers to the everyday tasks and facilities they once took for granted.

Reassure Your Employees That They Are Valued

The impact of having employee benefits in the office such as all-day free snacks (healthy and/or otherwise), modern beanbag filled 'timeout' rooms, and of course on-site gyms has massively drop down the list of employees’ ‘must-haves’.

But what do they want? One recommendation could be to invite your employees to suggest new benefits or policies that they’d like to see, whether through a regular staff survey or some other tool that allows you to easily gather their ideas. You don’t have to accept and run with them all, but you might find that something simple could boost employee morale.

However, given the current situation, what many of your team are probably craving most right now is the simple reassurance that their continued contributions are valued. Make it clear that they are critical to your company’s resilience and continuity during this time and they are, and will, be supported by the management team.

How To Attract New Talented Employees

Working From Home - "Yes Please!"

A high percentage of the workforce have indicated that they would like to continue working from home post COVID-19. Businesses that continue to employ staff with the allowance of being able to work from home will find themselves having maintained a wider talent pool to select candidates from because they will, in effect, remove the often dreaded long commute barrier many candidates face when applying for roles. Plus, of course, the fact that potentially, it opens up the talent pool even wider to other geographical regions dependent upon your business’ circumstances.

Choose A Staffing Model That’s Better Suited To Challenging Times

Many companies are, and will be for some time to come, reluctant in employing permanent employees until they’re confident things have become more stable.

Using high quality temporary staffing arrangements provided by an employment agency such as those provided here at Diverse Employment, will help you to better manage changes in meeting your own business’ demands over the coming months.

Temporary Agency Workers represent a significant percentage of today's working population within the UK, in fact the number of temporary workers in the UK as of March 2020 was reported by the Office of National Statistics to be almost 1.5M, and they are predicting that due to the coronavirus crisis, this number will increase by up to 20% to 1.8M. Many businesses have already learned that there are advantages in the areas of cost, flexibility, performance, and management, to utilising temporary employees.

Utilising temporary or interim staff can bring a range of benefits to your business such as utilising the right skills at the right time, for as long as your business demands require. There really are multiple benefits to using this type of staffing model, to learn more read our more in-depth article covering the topic by clicking the button below.

Planning For The ‘New Normal’

While no one knows exactly what the post COVID-19 future holds, one thing has become clear is that we’re all discovering new ways of working together.

As businesses re-open their offices and beginning the road back to something we’d consider as normality – or, at least, the “new normal” – the need for businesses in the UK to adopt the allowance of flexible working and to adopt a supportive and empathetic workplace culture has certainly never been more important in order to not only retain the their key employees, but also in order to attract new top talent as and when they require it.