‘The Great Resignation’: Five ways you can ensure a fulfilling employee experience as your team returns to the workplace
As we transition into the post-pandemic era and many of us start to head back into the office, businesses should brace themselves for a potential surge of individuals leaving their current roles, in what many are referring to as the ‘The Great Resignation.’
Across the pond in the US, people are leaving their jobs – or thinking about it – in the masses, in search of more happiness, flexibility and meaningful work, and it’s highly likely a similar trend will hit us here in the UK following the easing of restrictions on July 19th. In fact, a study from HR software company Personio, shows that 38% of employees surveyed across the UK and Ireland are looking to change roles in the next 6 or 12 months, or once the economy has strengthened.
There are a whole variety of reasons why people may be choosing this time to begin a new venture. The pandemic has certainly shifted our priorities and how highly we value our time. Many people have taken this time away from their usual routine and schedule to pursue new career paths, hobbies and entrepreneurship, and they aren’t prepared to give that up as pre-pandemic working life resumes. Perhaps employees also feel that the added hurdles and disconnected nature of remote working have been a true testimony to their employer’s values and morals, resulting in them feeling neglected, undervalued and in search of something more fulfilling. Health anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak is also an important factor in this potential mass exodus. If an employer’s health and safety measurements fail to reassure it’s team members, they’ll likely alienate individuals who will feel as though their health and safety aren’t a priority.
It’s vital that you provide the right support and communication to aid your employees’ transition back to the office, as many businesses in the UK, particularly in the hospitality industry, are struggling to fill up empty positions, and high rates of resignation and turnover can be costly. Employee experience is your key to talent retention. Consider how your engagement approach suits both remote and in-office workers, and where it may fall flat, and make sure that the employee experience at your workplace is as fulfilling as it can be.
Here are five ways you can ensure your team is happy and healthy as they navigate the return to the workplace and beyond.
1. SUPPORT THE TRANSITION BACK INTO THE OFFICE
This is a challenging time for employees, and as many navigate this new territory, one of the most important things you can do as an employer to help with this adjustment is to show compassion, and where possible, flexibility.
According to research from CIPD, 4 in 10 people are anxious about returning to the workplace because of COVID-19. There will likely be heightened concerns about health, safety and job security after the fallout of COVID-19 and months of furlough and job uncertainty. Reassure concerned employees about the measures in place, and maybe even establish a phased return strategy or choose to continue with hybrid working post-pandemic – whatever you decide, make it work for your business and employees.
To prevent any confusion and the fear of the unknown, ensure all expectations are communicated clearly by arranging a team meeting to discuss your re-entry plan in depth. Where possible, encourage employees to contribute to this discussion and provide their opinions and feedback, as a huge part of delivering a fulfilling and engaging employee experience comes from giving employees the opportunity to use their voices. By doing this, you’ll demonstrate to your team that their individual thoughts and views are valued.
2. DEMONSTRATE HOW MUCH YOU VALUE YOUR EMPLOYEES
Regularly showing your employees that you appreciate them is key to improving engagement, retention, productivity and morale. In fact, according to further research from Personio, one of the factors that is encouraging more UK and Irish employees to leave their jobs is a lack of appreciation for the work they do (29% in UK&I). They want to know that their company values them and appreciates the effort they put in day-to-day.
Building a work culture with appreciation and advocacy as the foundation is vital for demonstrating how much you value your team and delivering a fulfilling employee experience. To truly make recognition part of your culture, you need to be strategic and consistent with your approach. Create a reward & recognition programme that encourages peer-to-peer recognition, celebrates everyday achievements, outstanding contributions and your business’ core values. Tailoring your programme to your business’ culture, mission and purpose will reinforce what your employees should be striving for and in turn boost motivation and the employee experience.
With schemes like our reward and recognition platform, ereward, promoting a positive work culture and enhancing your employee experience offering couldn’t be easier.
3. PROVIDE INTERNAL COMMUNICATION CHANNELS THAT SUPPORT HYBRID WORKING
A key factor of the employee experience is internal communication. It’s integral to the relationship between a company and its employees, keeping them connected and informed, particularly during this period of change and uncertainty.
An effective internal communications strategy should not only keep your employees updated about general company news and status, but also facilitate connections and relationships between employees from all corners of the business. This will help employees feel more connected to the organisation, increasing their sense of belonging and in turn, heightening their sense of personal fulfilment at work. In fact, research from Dynamic Signal shows that 85% of employees said they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news and McKinsey & Company found that employee productivity increases by 20-25% in organisations where employees are connected.
It’s also important to note that internal communications should facilitate a two-way dialogue between the employer and employee. This not only allows employees to provide invaluable feedback to improve the organisation, but it also demonstrates that your business welcomes and values employees’ contributions. This is essential to delivering a fulfilling and engaging employee experience. If your employees feel that their voices aren’t being heard and they can’t share their thoughts and opinions with their employer, it’s likely that they’ll start looking elsewhere for a more fulfilling job and work culture.
Our ereward solution offers various online feedback capabilities which supports a constant two-way communication between employees and managers, no matter where they’re working . This feature is ideal for gauging employees’ wants and needs and ensuring they are fully satisfied and emotionally connected to their business.
4. ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEE PROGRESSION AND DEVELOPMENT
One reason employees may be looking for a career change is because there aren’t enough internal employee progression and development opportunities within their current business. According to Gallup, 87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important, and they are also key in demonstrating to your employees that you value them and care about their wellbeing and employee experience.
There are a host of education and training tools on offer that can provide your employees with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and leadership skills. Through our online wellbeing hub, the zone, your employees can access an online learning solution, LEARN, which offers short courses and high quality modules with a unique personalised experience for employees. It’s also easy to access and delivers an excellent user experience, so employees can easily identify the courses they’ve been assigned and keep track of their progress. By delivering a tool such as this one, your employees will feel satisfaction that they are bettering themselves, progressing in their roles and contributing to the ongoing success of your organisation.
There’s no doubt the pandemic has had an impact on the employee experience. With the disconnected nature of remote working and added health and financial anxieties, it comes as no surprise that, as many employees make the transition back into the office or a new way of working once again, they are seeking extra support and reassurance from their employers.
Employee engagement solutions such as our reward and recognition platform, ereward, and the education and development resources available through the zone, are fantastic tools that’ll help your employees feel engaged, motivated and devoted to your organisation and it’s success. But these solutions are only part of it. Creating a positive, inclusive and supportive culture, clear communication channels as well as an engaging employee experience are what will help retain your employees and prevent them from looking elsewhere for fulfilment.
For more information on how you can support your employees return to the workplace and ensure a fulfilling employee experience, head to our resources page.