Employee Retention During COVID-19

In times of crisis, we hold our loved ones close - the same attitude should apply to your treasured employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be extremely difficult for the best of us, changing the world as we know it in a matter of months, forcing millions to work from home, causing millions of others to lose their jobs, and creating uncertainties about the future. 

Each employee is currently dealing with a unique situation - they might have friends or family members who have been affected by the pandemic, may require additional tools to get their work done effectively, or might just need somebody to talk to.

It’s important that businesses act as a family during these difficult times - being there for employees in their time of need will increase their trust in you and your business, improve your relationship with staff members, and improve workplace morale by giving them a safe, caring place to work. 

By acting now and showing employees that you truly care, you’re ensuring that employees will continue to trust you as a leader, and that your business will be able to retain its most valuable assets once the pandemic subsides and things return to normalcy.

Go out of your way to understand unique employee challenges

Each and every one of your employees, whether they work at the office or from home, is experiencing the pandemic differently. Some will be dealing with family members and friends who have been directly affected by COVID-19, while others will be faced with the stresses of living through a pandemic and having to provide for their family while minimizing the risk of transmitting the coronavirus. As a leader, it’s your job to familiarize yourself with the challenges of each and every one of your employees.

For example, one of your employees may be a parent now working remotely. This employee is now juggling their own work with helping their children with school and everything else that comes with being a parent. In this situation, you can do things like offer your staff a more flexible schedule that allows them to see to their parental responsibilities and work when it’s more convenient for them.

In another situation, an employee may be grieving the loss of a loved one but not wanting to speak about it out of fear of being stigmatized. As an employer, you could consider offering mental health support like online counseling, time off, or even a reduced workload to help get the employee through their time of need. When they’re ready to come back, they’ll be re-energized and appreciative that their employer went the extra mile for them.

If you’re not sure which employees may require attention or who may be at-risk, you can reference productivity intelligence from tools, which allows you to assess how effectively your team is working. This gives you insight into how each employee is working daily, allowing you to provide them with the resources they require to succeed and minimize the chances of them seeking employment elsewhere.

Keep your employees engaged and offer opportunities for growth

Employees who aren’t engaged are just a few clicks away from searching for opportunities elsewhere. As an employer, it’s your job to keep your employees engaged, especially during these unpredictable times. 

This could mean creating a healthier workplace culture that promotes communication and collaboration, using technology to bring your team members together like never before, promoting interactions that aren’t strictly work-related like game nights or casual video conferences. Sometimes all your employees need is to have fun - a healthy workplace environment gives team members a reason to stick around and can even result in higher quality output.

It could also mean providing your employees with opportunities for growth and professional development. Many workers crave the opportunity to improve their skills and increase their knowledge about areas of interest. 

You can create growth plans for employees who wish to move up within your organization, providing them with new opportunities for learning and development that will eventually lead to them taking a more significant role within the business, or taking on new and exciting responsibilities. An engaged employee with a clear path to advancement within your business is far more likely to stick around for the long run.

Now is the time for leadership

With the situation still evolving on an almost daily basis, now is the time for employers to act as leaders, not just as bosses. This means fearlessly leading your team into the future, no matter how uncertain things may seem for the time being. 

It’s your duty to be transparent and in constant communication with your employees, especially since many of them may still be working remotely until the pandemic is declared over. Keeping your team in the loop about what’s going on is critical, especially if you wish to retain the long term trust of your workers and instill in them a sense of confidence.

Show them that there’s nothing to worry about, even when the future isn’t quite certain. Remind employees that they’re not alone, and that you’re all in this together - host regular casual meetings where you can hear the concerns and challenges being faced by your team, and check in with employees who may be facing unique challenges. Give your employees somebody they can go to in times of need, somebody they’re proud to work for, and most important, somebody they can trust to lead them into the future. Listen, learn, and lead. With a strong leader at the helm, employee retention will be the last thing your business has to worry about during the pandemic.

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