As much as we all would like to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, recovery is a process in which there are no quick fixes. The effects of the pandemic are still lingering in our society and are apparent in everyday life. Perhaps the most noticeable and pressing area still struggling to recover is the job market.
Since the pandemic, many employers have been having difficulty hiring and retaining workers. This is largely due to the pandemic casting a bright light on the ethics of businesses around the globe. It quickly became clear if a company valued their profit over their employees by how they handled suggested safety precautions, sick days, work-from-home accommodations, and more. These “company-first” employers broke the trust and loyalty of their employees.
Understandably, when employees realized the value, or lack thereof, that they were perceived to have, they responded accordingly. Regardless of a company’s response to COVID, the workforce’s mindset shifted so that individuals were moved to prioritize their own health and happiness over their employment situation. Many realized that they were undervalued and became dissatisfied. And, to put it simply, unhappy employees quit.
Whether they quit immediately or stay on for several more months while they find something to better fit their priorities, unhappy employees leave their employers. This departure, or even diminished performance in the workplace, indicates that the employee’s needs are not being met. By looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we can see that human needs can best be explained in terms of various overlapping stages, or categories. These include physiological, safety, love and social belonging, and esteem needs, as well as some others. But what does this mean to employers?
While not solely responsible for fulfilling their employees’ needs, employers must realize that the majority of an average adult’s life is spent at their full-time job. Their workplace greatly affects their happiness. For example, the interactions an employee has with their coworkers and their boss every day, the respect and input they are given with projects, and the compensation they receive for their role are just a few of the contributing factors in whether an employee feels fulfilled by their job. It is areas like these that were overlooked or ignored by many employers during the pandemic, and now they are seeing the consequences of it.
According to an article by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “The rate at which employees have quit their jobs has grown over the past year. But at the same time hiring continues to outpace quits.” This supports the idea referred to as The Great Reshuffle, which suggests that a large number of people are leaving their current jobs for better ones elsewhere in the wake of the pandemic. Further evidence for this includes a survey, also published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that seeks to explain why people are switching jobs or are reluctant to return to the job market entirely. A few of the cited reasons include dissatisfaction with offered wages, lack of advancement opportunity, desire to pursue a passion or further education/training, unwillingness of an employer to “offer flexible, hybrid, or remote work options”, and more. These also explain why a lot of employees remain at jobs for only a short time and quickly move on to something they hope will be a better fit for them.
This type of mobility in the job market can be devastating to companies if they experience large turnover rates. A source for a BBC article states that, “It takes six to nine months to onboard someone to be fully effective…Companies that don’t invest in their people will fall behind.” The last thing any company wants is a cut in their productivity and their profit. As such, companies must do much more than hire qualified individuals. They must invest in them in order to retain them. Companies that want to thrive in this post-pandemic world where the workforce’s priorities have changed must likewise change their own priorities to align with those of their employees.
So, what do employees need in order to consider working for a company in the long term? We’ve already touched on a few of these, but overall, we can condense the needs of employees into two categories:
The Need for a Better Work Environment
Pay and benefits may be the main factors that initially draw an employee to one company over another when they are searching for a new job. However, it is primarily their work environment that will determine if they stay at that company.
Employees thrive best in an environment where they can be themselves and not be met with judgment. In a recent article, the World Economic Forum suggests that humanity and trust are crucial in creating a positive workplace environment. Employees want to “feel like they can bring their humanity into the workplace…They want their jobs to have meaning through the work they do, the way they are managed, and their place in a team.”
For employers, this means creating an environment that fosters respect and compassion between employees and their coworkers and managers. An atmosphere where employees feel heard by their peers and superiors and are encouraged to collaborate on projects rather than just be delegated tasks increases the feeling of comradery and strengthens teams. Employees who feel actively involved in their workplace take more pride in their duties and are more likely to establish friendships that tie them into the company’s community. This all works together to provide employees with a sense of belonging and fulfillment in regard to their job, thus lessening the likelihood of them searching for another job.
The Need for Growth Opportunities
While a positive work environment creates a solid foundation for retaining employees long term, it must work in tandem with humankind’s instinct to better oneself. That is, the majority of employees seek to grow in their field of work and will become unsatisfied if not allowed to expand their skills and duties.
According to Forbes, “much of the ‘Great Resignation’”, the predecessor name of The Great Reshuffle, “was driven by employees craving new experiences and reaching for new levels of professional growth.” This proves that employees who feel they have reached the limit of growth opportunity with their employers will search for better opportunity elsewhere.
For employers, offering employees opportunities to improve themselves is an investment that is well worth the resources. Working toward a goal is invigorating because it gives employees purpose and choice. This links back to the desire to collaborate in one’s workplace. By offering additional training or education to employees, often referred to as upskilling, an employer can provide a way for employees to advance to higher positions within the company, which can both prevent the employee from looking for a different job at another company and provide the current employer with a higher skilled employee.
Upskilling with Amatrol
At Amatrol, we offer quality training solutions for companies seeking to upskill, or even reskill, their employees. Our educational materials come in a variety of formats, including eLearning, hands-on workstations, portable trainers, virtual simulators, and more. This allows employers to choose how they train their employees, whether that is through completely remote learning, hands-on experience, or a hybrid combination. Additionally, Amatrol’s comprehensive curriculum can help prepare learners for industrial certifications, which provide documentation of a person’s marketable skills.
To learn more about how Amatrol can help you invest in your employees’ training needs, contact us today.