Employee experiences may never return to what they were before COVID-19. But with a post-pandemic future still undefined, it will be some time before any “new normal” can be established. In the meantime, employees must continue to adjust to new safety protocols and other stressors in the workplace or continue to adapt to virtual work at home.
After a company puts in the hard work onboarding its new employees, it would be a shame to see them walk right back out the door in less than a year. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what can happen if managers and team leaders don’t make an effort to keep employees happy beyond the onboarding lifecycle. The following three retention strategies can help companies boost employee engagement and keep team members satisfied throughout their (ideally, lengthy) tenures.
Employee engagement has been a hot topic for the better part of the past two decades, but there seems to be confusion as to what it actually is. First, consider what it is not:
- Employee engagement is not employee motivation.
- Employee engagement is not employee satisfaction.
- Employee engagement is not two employees deciding to get married.
Rather, employee engagement is a combination of how connected employees feel to their workplaces and the level of effort they put in as a result. Engaged employees stand apart from the typical worker in their ability to go the extra mile, bring passion to their projects, and help bring their organizations' mission to fruition.
Furloughs can give affected employees and their companies some peace of mind: furloughed employees know that their jobs still exist, and organizations have access to a suitably vetted and trained talent pool for those roles. But those employees aren't always willing or able to wait around long enough for their employers to call them back. In those cases, companies can take a significant financial hit, because they have to go through search, hire, and training processes all over again for those positions. (For example, one study found that the average cost of turnover for nonexecutive and nonphysician positions is just over 20 percent of annual salary.) For that reason, it's prudent for a company to do everything it can to stay as connected as possible to its furloughed talent to avoid losing it completely.
Anyone who has managed employees can appreciate the necessity of using multiple management techniques when working with individuals from diverse backgrounds. The need for varied leadership responses to different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses has been amplified in recent months as employees have experienced and expressed increased stress responses due to COVID-19, layoffs, and other crises.