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New age of attraction and retention in the post-pandemic world of work

It’s clear just how much the way we work and our relationships with employers have changed. Embracing flexibility and creating a culture of recognition, praise and purpose will be essential to organisations looking to keep pace in a competitive post-covid world.

The pandemic has given all of us time to pause and reflect on our careers, triggering a collective re-assessment of what we want from work.

This has given rise to the ‘Great Resignation’, with 41% of global workers considering leaving or changing professions this year, creating particularly high competition for talent.

But boosted pay packets no longer carry the same weight they once did. Wellbeing is firmly in the spotlight too, with employees wanting genuine support and care from their employers. They also want to feel connected to the organisation’s purpose, something which is having an increasingly dramatic impact on employee loyalty and is fast becoming a significant differentiator between companies in the post-pandemic job market.

In response, employers must focus on developing a knockout, holistic employee value proposition (EVP) which both existing and potential talent can’t ignore.

So, how can they go about this? Here are some approaches that could help.

Show you care
Employees are looking to employers to show they genuinely understand the personal and professional challenges that so many have experienced.

Of course, there are universal wellbeing issues to think about – suitable workspaces, flexible working strategies and encouraging a healthy work / life balance. But to really elevate employee experience, businesses must understand the pressures unique to each employee and show how they’re accommodating these.

Our research into work-related stress and anxiety, however, found that 40% of employees felt their employer talked a lot about workplace wellbeing and culture, without actually taking action. And 54% are looking to their company to demonstrate greater care for their wellbeing.

This appears to be having a significant impact on people’s lives, with 92% of UK GPs reporting an increase in patient’s seeking support for work-related stress or anxiety since the pandemic began.

It’s clear that workers want and need a work-life balance that prioritises positive wellbeing.  Employers can no longer shy away from stepping up to the plate on these issues if they want to retain good people, increase morale and productivity, and protect the health of their people.

Recognising what employees want and how they’re interacting with their benefits is one tangible way for organisations to understand more about their people and ensure they have a portfolio of benefits which can be personalised for a diverse workforce.

Cater for differences
And when it comes to overhauling benefits, variety and relevance are essential – whether that’s access to mindfulness apps and yoga sessions or money management training and more effective recognition of achievement. Although they may sound like small measures in silo, together they can help create a culture that fosters genuine wellbeing, which can have a huge, positive impact on the employee experience.

Indeed, as many as 78% of employees view benefits packages as a significant deciding factor on whether to accept or reject a job offer. Employers simply cannot afford to push a one-size fits-all solution. Instead, creating a flexible proposition that can effectively meet each employee’s needs helps to support people no matter their personal circumstances or life stage.

Offering a centralised platform that offers employers access to a host of rewards and benefits empowers them to choose the support that’s most relevant to them. It also allows them to adapt their benefits to reflect wider life changes such as getting married, moving house, or planning for retirement. Crucially, this also harmonises employee experience across geographies – so everyone can access the same high-quality benefits no matter where in the world they are.

Celebrate success stories
Regular praise and recognition is also key to creating an environment that prospective and existing employees want to be a part of.

Whether being ‘publicly’ acknowledged in virtual or face to face company meetings, in a one-to-one setting or through internal channels that allow you to digitally share praise and rewards for a job well done, the benefits of recognition can be far reaching. Celebrating success drives motivation and loyalty, binds employees together and strengthens cross-company connections, which all encourage engagement. Simply put, if people feel valued by their organisation, they are much less likely to consider moving to a new role.

Create a sense of unity and purpose
With the return to “normality” looking different for everyone, company cultures developed prior to the pandemic need to be recommunicated and reshaped.

Embracing flexibility will go a long way to ensuring that everyone feels they have a place within an organisation. But above all, it’s essential that employers reflect the diverse needs of their people and recognise how their requirements will change over time. Providing a menu of options that reflects the individuality of the workforce and offers support for people at every life stage, will help to encourage a considered, inclusive working experience within a competitive marketplace.

Finally, it’s also about purpose and storytelling. Talent today is asking; what kind of person fits within this company? What are you trying to accomplish as an organisation? What change are you making in the world? Transmitting organisational culture and purpose – what makes your company unique and relevant to society – in a remote world no less, takes careful consideration and strategic alignment between HR Directors and business leaders. But defining and communicating this vision, with credibility, is a huge differentiator in attracting and retaining the right talent.

Moving forward
It’s clear just how much the way we work and our relationships with employers have changed. Embracing flexibility and creating a culture of recognition, praise and purpose will be essential to organisations looking to keep pace in a competitive post-covid world. The provision of personalised support and benefits is fast becoming one of the most powerful tools for attracting and retaining talent. Those that step up to mark will reap the rewards of a loyal workforce. Those that don’t risk losing good people to their competitors, and fast.

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