Since the start of the pandemic there has been speculation on what the long-term impacts will be on the job market. The predicted ‘turnover tsunami’ is now starting to happen in the US and we could potentially see this trend across the UK and Europe in the coming months. This year, according to a report by Achievers Workforce Institute, 52% of employees said they intended to look for a new job. We also ran our own poll, which found 71% of people had seen an increase in employee turnover this year. Why is this happening, and what can employers do to not only retain existing employees but to also attract those individuals looking for a change?

What is causing the ‘turnover tsunami’?

Most of the reasons we are seeing are related to the Covid-19 pandemic in some shape or form. Working remotely has left some employees feeling burnt out, undervalued and less connected to their company, whilst for others the pandemic has highlighted the value of achieving more of a work-life balance. According to the survey by Achievers Workforce Institute, 25% of those looking for a new role this year named work-life balance as the reason. Uncertainty around job security for the last 12 months has also meant many individuals put off planned moves until the market was more stable and are now beginning to look for their next opportunity. With the vaccine rollout beginning to take effect, attention has turned to what ‘the future of work’ looks like and employees are keen to understand their employer’s plans. A lack of certainty around the future or in some cases, employers’ resisting a move to a more flexible way of working, is playing a part in employees becoming disengaged with their current roles and employers.

How can you retain employees and attract new talent?

1. Assess the reasons people are leaving and address them

As a recruiter, this is one of the first questions we ask when someone is looking to change roles so that we can make sure that they won’t be looking to leave their next role within six months because of similar reasons. For employers, exit interviews are a standard HR practice and a useful way to identify why you are losing talent to competitors. The most important part though, is implementing the changes needed to improve employee retention.

2. Benchmark your company’s offering against competitors

Are you offering competitive salaries? Do you have an industry-leading progression plan for your employees? How does your flexible working policy hold up against others in the industry? These are all elements competitors use to attract candidates to their companies, and you need to be benchmarking what you do against others regularly. An industry-specific recruiter should be able to give you a lot of these insights as part of their standard service, but if you handle your own recruitment, you may also be able to find out some of this during the interview process.

3. Make use of internal surveys to address problems before employees leave

An annual survey can help identify issues across your whole business and guide your strategy for the next 12 months. Now is an ideal time to implement this process to not only identify any problems but also to demonstrate to your employees that you care about their input and any issues they have. Again, it is crucial changes are implemented after this process. According to the survey by Achievers, 60% of people said their employer has sought their feedback on improving the employee experience, but just 16% said their employer always takes action on their feedback – make sure you are in that 16%!

4. Use it as an opportunity to assess your company structure and reconsider the roles and skills you need

Whilst no one wants an increase in employee turnover, it does provide you with an opportunity to rethink the roles that you need without causing redundancies. Has there been a skillset missing in the team for some time? Is the role really needed? Are there junior employees who have been crying out for progression? Consider all this before beginning the process of looking for a replacement. Again, utilise your recruiter partner to give you insights into team structures and the availability of talent to match any ‘new roles’ you may be looking to create.

5. Firm up your plans for once things return to ‘normal’ to relieve uncertainty

For example, some sales employees are now looking to reduce the time they spend travelling and conduct some meetings via video call, is this something you can facilitate? Which job roles can you give the flexibility to work from home a few times a week? If you can’t offer remote working or reduced travel because of the nature of the role, is there anything else you can offer, such as flexible start and finish times? For others, they have missed the travel or the office environment, and some have had to continue working onsite and don’t want any changes – these employees want certainty that they can return to the job they had before. Take the time to understand what your employees want and firm up those plans sooner rather than later.

6. Invest in employer branding to attract new talent

No matter what steps you put in place, some employees will still want to leave, so how do you go about making sure you can attract the best talent? The key is utilising the internal surveys and exit interviews to really understand what people enjoy about working for the business and, also, what they would want to change. Combining this with competitor insights from interviews and insights from recruitment partners, you can begin to understand what the unique and attractive elements are for employees in your business and also which areas need some work! Communicating those effectively through your own career site, candidate engagement packs, marketing campaigns and recruitment can help to attract those people who themselves are looking to move.