As a side effect of the pandemic, employers across industries have encountered considerable employee turnover while employees are experiencing significant burnout. This exhaustion has, in turn, led to what experts are deeming the “Turnover Tsunami.” To learn more about combating this issue, I recently sat down with HR executives to discuss what tactics human capital professionals are using to retain employees, strategies they are leveraging to address employee concerns and reduce burnout as well as how leaders effectively engage with their existing employees and potential recruits. Here’s what they had to say.
When it comes to addressing burnout, leading HR executives are actively utilizing several core strategies to confront it head-on.
Avoid sugar-coating. When it comes to communication, HR professionals are approaching it with complete transparency, igniting open and effective dialogue about how employees and their families are dealing with the realities of the pandemic. This creates a safe space for employees to discuss their existing work/life balance and challenges with their supervisors.
Training management on empathy. When implementing new engagement strategies, HR leaders are making sure they are training their managers on approaching direct reports with empathy. By getting management involved at this level, supervisors are taught the skills they need to support their staff and can implement these strategies independently. Showing managers simple and actionable items they can use with their teams, such as regularly checking in with their staff, can help their team members feel a stronger sense of community.
Focus on physical and mental health. Many companies are focusing time and energy on investing in both their employees’ physical and mental health to improve employee retention. By implementing wellness programs of substance, investing in virtual mental health support platforms, leveraging the services of an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) or simply incorporating a dedicated day of the week without meetings, HR is prioritizing the well-being of their teams.
LACK OF BELONGING
Another symptom of the “Turnover Tsunami” is a lack of belonging felt by staff. As some companies transition employees back into the office, challenges arise. Some organizations have implemented a rotation system, which helps in social distancing and encourages safety measures. However, this prevents staff from connecting face-to-face with their team members, supervisors or direct reports. Having grown accustomed to regular virtual happy hours and Zoom connects, some employees are experiencing feelings of isolation. HR executives stressed the importance of continuing collaboration and team building efforts to keep employees connected, regardless of whether your team is back in the office or not. Not only this, but they emphasized being intentional with these strategies. Some of the ways organizations are keeping the fun going include:
- Virtual happy hours/lunches/food delivery/coffee chats
- Bonuses or other monetary incentives
- Dedicated employee recognition
- Pulse surveys to gauge employees’ satisfaction with current efforts
- TikTok competitions
- Inclusive leadership programs
HR executives noted that the more organic the activity, the more successful the programs were. Consider creating an inclusive committee of employees comprised of different levels throughout your organization to brainstorm engagement activities that may work with your company’s culture.
While recruiting remains a top priority for many HR executives, “re-recruiting” is equally as important. Ensuring that your current employees are satisfied with their jobs and the organization requires the same amount of time and resources as external recruiting does. While pulse surveys may provide HR with the data needed to evaluate employee satisfaction, implementing this feedback is crucial. Start by coaching management teams on having these conversations with their staff members – actively listening can solve many gaps.
Asking employees off-the-record questions such as, “Can you tell me something I don’t want to hear?” and inserting it naturally into a candid conversation can provide invaluable insight into how employees are feeling. Asking the tough questions isn’t enough, though. Actively listening to and being accepting of their feedback, then following up on it, is critical.
If your company is struggling with burnout, attracting or retaining top talent, know that you are not alone. By connecting with our HR executive peers, we can continue to learn alongside one another and become stronger together. If you are searching for a peer network to join or need support with any of your HR challenges or initiatives, such as recruiting, your Human Capital Management and Payroll Consulting team at Sikich stands ready to assist.