Although we may be talking about a ‘post-Covid’ world, this is only because the worst of the pandemic is behind us. However, the virus is still very much alive, and we have to learn to manage the risks and live with this as part of our lives now.
During the pandemic, the world also saw ‘the Great Resignation’. Though this might have just been used for creating clickbait internet content, there was some truth behind this.
The pandemic gave many people time to reevaluate their life, experience working from home, or have a large amount of time off work through furlough. This led to many professionals recognising that they were no longer happy in their current role and needed a change.
However, as we begin to return to normal, employers cannot get complacent and believe that the ‘Great Resignation’ has come to an end. There are still large numbers of professionals that are looking for that role that makes them truly happy, which means they won’t hesitate to quit if something better comes along.
So, what can businesses do to boost employee happiness and increase retention rates in a post-Covid world?
Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to tell you.
1. Prioritise employee wellness
Showing employees that you care about their health and wellness was important before the pandemic, but it is even more crucial now.
If employees feel their health is at risk in the workplace, they can feel frustrated and upset, and they certainly won’t feel like you respect them. This could result in them handing in their notice instead.
For this reason, you need to show your workforce that pandemic or no pandemic, you are doing all you can to keep them happy and healthy. This means going above and beyond to support their mental and physical health.
Some ways you can prioritise employee health and wellbeing, both in relation to the pandemic and in a more general sense, include:
- Offering paid sick leave – particularly for those who have to isolate as a result of Covid-19
- Putting extra safety measures in the workplace, such as masks and hand sanitising stations
- Offering better health care benefits, such as health insurance, access to mental health support, free healthy snacks and drinks in the break room and local gym discounts or online subscriptions
- Creating a culture where employees are encouraged to take time off to recharge if they are unwell, whether physically or mentally
- Offering flexible working opportunities, such as working from home or a hybrid working model
2. Listen to your employees
One of the most important ways to keep employees happy and ensure they stay within your company for a long time is to create a culture of communication and always listen to them. This is particularly important right now as some people may be nervous about being in the office or having to attend work-related events and meetings.
You can listen to your teams in a number of ways. Firstly, an open-door policy lets workers know they can speak to their manager or colleagues if they’re ever facing any issues or concerns. So it’s important to engrain this within your culture.
You should also run regular feedback surveys to ask the workforce about their daily experiences at work; this might include a section dedicated specifically to Covid-19 safety measures. Similarly, encouraging managers to hold regular catch-ups with their teams gives them a chance to check-in and deal with any issues before they develop.
Gathering feedback via surveys, annual reviews, and regular meetings gives your HR and management teams helpful insights that mean they can implement real change. This also shows employees you care about their wellbeing and that you’re willing to make changes to give them the best and safest possible experience at work.
3. Offer flexible working options
We’ve briefly touched on hybrid working styles and flexibility already, but this has never been more important. Some businesses have allowed their teams to operate completely remote since the pandemic if they choose to, whilst others have begun welcoming people back to the office.
However, lots of professionals have got used to working from home or better organising their work around their personal life. Some have even opted to incorporate regular travelling into their working lives. Therefore, if your business refuses to offer any flexible opportunities, employees will look elsewhere for a company that is happy to better meet their needs.
This could include hybrid working (from both home and the office), fully remote work, part-time work, flexitime or any other form of flexible working that better supports employees.
4. Keep your company culture alive
Finally, something that lots of businesses struggled with during the pandemic, and something which isn’t going away, is keeping the company culture alive in these challenging times. With the workforce now more spread out and possibly even completely remote, creating and nurturing a great company culture can be much trickier.
However, you must keep your culture alive if you want to retain employees. Some ways you can do this with remote and hybrid workforces include:
- Encouraging collaboration and giving employees the tools to do this. For example, communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams make it much easier for colleagues to work together
- Starting new work traditions such as virtual drinks, quizzes, care packages or games nights
- Organising in-person events so everyone can catch up, providing employees are comfortable with this, and these are conducted safely. For example, you can check out this fun campaign by Hiver where all their employees came together to put out a video for World Music Day. It reflects the company’s core values in a cool rap song. You can check it out here.
- Creating a strong onboarding process for anyone new joining this business might include video conferences with remote workers to help the teams get to know one another
- Offering a re-onboarding process for those returning to the office after a long period of working from home
- Offering opportunities for training, development and team building activities
By doing your best to help your workforce ease back into their daily routine in a post-Covid world, you are more likely to find they want to stay within the business for long. This also applies to listening carefully to their needs, allowing them to work more flexibly and doing more to support their physical and mental health.