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Company Culture | 5 minute read

How to retain talent amid The Great Resignation

March 29, 2022

This blog post was originally published on the Forbes HR Council.

It’s a common misconception that retaining talent is as simple as a salary increase. Sure, pay is still a key driver when people are considering new roles, but it’s not the only factor — far from it, in fact. We’re currently experiencing the most competitive talent landscape ever. We’ve seen more changes in the past two years than we’ve experienced in the last decade.

Some things haven’t changed, of course. Many industries are still dealing with crippling skills shortages, but candidate and employee expectations have changed irrevocably. The pandemic led many to reassess their lives, including how and where they work. Today’s employees also want career progression. They’re interested in making a difference with meaningful work, but most importantly, they want flexibility and a good work-life balance. Employers must take into account these renewed employee expectations.

In this blog post, we’re going to look at the top six ways to retain talent. Here are some creative retention ideas for you to consider.  

#1. Prioritize work-life balance.

One of the main reasons people are seeking new careers at the moment is because they want a role with a better work-life balance. The pandemic has undoubtedly changed people’s perspectives about how they spend their time. To meet these new expectations, consider rolling out an unlimited paid time off (PTO) program. Based on our experience with this policy at WilsonHCG, we've come to find it's aided our retention rates. Not only this but our employees have vocalized their appreciation for it.

If you implement an unlimited PTO policy, make sure you encourage your employees to take time off by providing additional support when they’re out of office. It’s important they’re confident that an increased workload will not be awaiting them upon their return.  

#2: Give employees the opportunity to learn and develop.

Talented employees want to continue learning. Don't just take my word for it: Research from PwC revealed that 37% of candidates said they’d be willing to take a pay cut for a chance to learn new skills. Robust learning and development (L&D) programs are no longer a perk — they're business-critical. Not only will you boost retention, but you’ll provide your employees with the skills needed to cement your company’s future. Use employee feedback to make changes. L&D should continually evolve, so expect to update and improve it as employee interests and business needs change.

#3: Strengthen your well-being program.

Well-being was a top-ranked initiative by 80% of respondents in one Deloitte study. Now is the time to evaluate its usefulness and upgrade if need be. Once you’ve built your employee well-being programs — and employees are using them — promote them externally. Job seekers are curious about how companies are supporting employees, and real action is important to them. Whether it’s virtual exercise sessions, money management webinars or healthy recipe exchanges, all can help reduce stress while improving health and well-being.  

#4: Conduct stay interviews.

Don’t wait until exit interviews to ask people what they like and dislike about their role. Stay interviews are an opportunity to ask employees what matters most to them — before they leave your organization. You will have the opportunity to make changes based on their answers and they’ll be less likely to leave as a result. If they want career progression, show them the way. If there aren’t any openings on your team, consider the wider business. Be an opportunity miner. People shouldn’t have to move companies to change professions or advance their careers.  

#5: Prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB).

When leaders prioritize DEIB efforts, their companies benefit from enhanced employee engagement. According to findings from Glassdoor, 66% of job seekers trust employees most when it comes to understanding what diversity and inclusion really look like at a company. So, if your organization isn’t diverse and doesn’t promote inclusion and belonging, your retention rates will likely be impacted (and you’ll struggle to attract talent). Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging start with leadership. Employees imitate what they see from executives, so ensuring your leadership team is committed to creating a culture of inclusion and belonging is a great first step.  

#6: Don’t greenwash.

Be transparent with your environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria so socially conscious employees can see for themselves how seriously you take it. Environmental and social issues are important to today’s employees, especially to younger generations. Don’t greenwash; employees (and candidates) will do their research to see if what you say about ESG rings true. If it doesn’t, you not only risk losing them, they’ll out you. Research from Deloitte found purpose-oriented companies have 40% higher levels of workforce retention than their competitors.  

When it comes to employee retention, there’s no silver bullet. You need to know exactly what it is your employees are looking for, but these are some of the overarching trends that could help. 

About Kim Pope

Kim Pope is the chief operating officer at WilsonHCG, a global talent solutions leader that elevates the delivery of talent partnerships and transforms them into impactful business functions. A leader with an eye for innovation, Kim has played an influential role in the company’s double-digit growth through numerous acquisitions and funding from PE firms over the years. She is currently featured as an expert on the Forbes Human Resources Council and was named in SIA’s 40 under 40 list, a Tampa Bay Business Journal BusinessWoman of the Year honoree and SIA’s Global Power 150 Women in Staffing. Kim’s forward-looking perspective inspires her team to continually evolve the WilsonHCG brand and solution offerings.