And so, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock to learn that around one quarter of Brits are planning to quit their jobs and seek new opportunities once things are back to normal, with working parents and the younger generations most likely to be looking to leave.
The vulnerable state of employee retention
The reason? Burnout is a massive driver of this upcoming mass exodus. As is the fact that some businesses are still struggling to hone their remote working policies, which is causing some employees to feel as though they’re not trusted to work independently.
But we can’t overlook the idea that those early decisions made by businesses during the initial emergency response phase have definitely had an impact. Faced with having to make major changes overnight, it’s understandable that many businesses didn’t know what to do. Why would they? They’d never before been faced with such a situation, and it’s natural that mistakes were made.
It’s reported that 42% of businesses have lost an employee as a direct result of a lack of emotional support during the crisis.
COVID-19 has separated the understanding employers from the uncaring employers. And now, as employees know that the unexpected can - and does - happen, they’re asking new types of questions. They’re asking ‘how will my employer respond to unexpected situations in the future?’ They’re proactively wanting to protect themselves, looking for employers with flexible working practices and decent employee benefits.
As an employer, it’s not too late. There’s still a long way to go, with fewer than half of businesses surveyed stating that they have any sort of wellbeing strategy in place.
But it is time to take action, and start thinking about ways to rebuild loyalty, nurture relationships, and make your business a supportive, welcoming place to work. Not only for existing employees, but also for potential candidates looking for a top environment.
Prioritising employee wellbeing is key to creating a stronger brand, reducing staff turnover, and boosting business stability and confidence during challenging times.
What do employees want?
So what sort of wellbeing support are employees looking for in the post-COVID landscape? Perhaps unsurprisingly, mental health services come out on top. And the good news is that, of those organisations that have introduced a wellbeing policy, more than half have made mental health a key focus, with dedicated support services to help employees navigate the difficult emotional side of living through a pandemic.
While mental health support may have been an obvious benefit, what isn’t so obvious is the need for financial support services. Following mental health, stress management - often in relation to personal finances - is next on the list of what employees want today.
This stems directly from the COVID-19 outbreak, and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not something that’s relevant only to furloughed workers. In fact, a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggests that while 55% of furloughed workers are concerned about their finances, 28% of non-furloughed workers feel the same.
What’s a bit more worrying about the need for financial support is that fewer employers are recognising the need for assistance in this area. Of those that have launched wellbeing initiatives, less than half have thought about financial wellbeing. That’s despite 67% of employees believing they need more financial help from their employer.
Growth and development
Launching new mental health and financial wellbeing initiatives doesn’t just support your existing employees and lower turnover; it can also help your business to grow and develop in the future as you make new hires and expand the workforce. When it comes to finding work in the post-COVID landscape, the most important aspect that candidates are looking for across every industry today is organisational values, closely followed by pay and benefits, according to the CIPD 2020 Talent Planning report.
For employers with a robust and well-rounded wellbeing strategy, there is an opportunity to attract the best talent. In the not-so-distant future, a common question that candidates are likely to ask during an interview is ‘how did you support your workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic?’. And it’s a question that will either cause the interviewer to break out in a cold sweat, or proudly show off their response.
If an employer is proud of their employee benefits proposition, they can state it in their job adverts. They can talk about it during interviews. They can leverage their response to bring in the very best talent and gain a competitive edge. They can show that they are different. Your wellbeing proposition today is your differentiator tomorrow. By looking after your employees now, you’re laying the foundations for future success.