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A guide to retention strategies for 2021

Patrick Tame, CEO of recruitment - Beringer Tame

With the end of the pandemic in sight, increased confidence will see a spike in employee’s moving jobs. There has been a shift in employee mindset during the pandemic; job security has become more valued than job satisfaction. However, with optimism increasing – largely down to the vaccine rollout – employers must turn their attention to how they can retain talent when employees become confident about potentially moving roles.

The pandemic has sadly resulted in job losses for many across the UK, with new figures revealing that the unemployment rate has hit its highest number in four years. This economic outlook has created a culture of those in a job prioritising financial safety over satisfaction with their career path. However, based on government communication around when we can expect lockdown restrictions to begin easing, it is likely business confidence will start to pick up in the summer.

Therefore, employers must prepare themselves for the fact that demand for talent will increase rapidly in the coming months, resulting in aggressive hiring and a rise in salaries. This will mean employees will find themselves with a variety of attractive options come the summer. So, those candidates that have sat tight in their roles, but are not fully content, will begin touting their CV’s and applying for other roles. For employers that are eager to hold onto their talent it is crucial they start implementing retention strategies now instead of trying to address the issue once it has begun (or having to turn to costly strategies such as buy-back – a candidate persuaded to stay by their current employer when they resign).

In order to retain top talent and not miss out to savvier competitors, it is essential that employers focus on retention strategies, engaging with their staff and understanding the needs and desires of their workforce. By doing so, employers can gain an understanding of any areas that may need addressing and remain the employer of choice.

One prominent factor which is becoming ever-more important for employees is the digital skills support they receive from their employer, as well as internal initiatives on offer, such as upskilling. With many businesses turning to digital throughout the pandemic in order to survive, many organisations find themselves with new technologies, or new ways of working that requires increased digital expertise. As a result, increasing numbers of candidates will not only be looking for an employer that is progressing on its digital transformation journey, but also one that is highly regarded for upskilling and training its employees to ensure they have an array of up-to-date competencies to their name.

Many people feel as though their career progression has been on hold the past 12 months and therefore the coming months will see an increase in candidates looking for an employer that supports their learning and development. Digital skills in particular are in incredibly high demand at present and as a result most of the top talent in this area has been snapped up already. Organisations with this talent already in place must look to retain those they have, or risk losing them to other companies offering an attractive alternative.

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