If you’re running a business right now, you’ve probably heard about what many people are calling the Great Resignation—and you’re worried about how your business is going to survive it. A record number of people in the workforce are leaving their jobs (or not returning to their jobs following a furlough or temporary closure) due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic or stresses related to it.
Without sufficient staffing, businesses find themselves in a tough spot. They can’t continue to function without staff, but they can’t find candidates to fill those empty positions.
So, what can you do to avoid these issues? Here are four important steps a business can make as it pushes through this time of uncertainty.
Start with Care
One of the best things you can do is avoid a problem in the first place by retaining the employees that you have. Show your employees that you care about them and their well-being. This will go a long way. Not only does it make your employees feel safer and more comfortable coming to work, but it also increases their level of loyalty because they know they’re working for somebody who is looking out for their best interests. Have a good plan in place for workplace cleanliness and safety. The practicality of this will vary from business to business, but you can consider options like masks, sneeze guards, regular cleaning of surfaces, physical distancing, and policies that require sick team members to stay home. Consult your local Department of Health for resources or guidance on ways to ensure your workplace stays safe and healthy.
Create Virtual Opportunities
For many pandemic-related resignations, the problem isn’t necessarily the job—it’s that they don’t feel safe coming into a workplace. The easiest way to solve this problem is to find ways that your business can operate virtually as much as possible. Are employees able to do part of their job from home?
Virtual opportunities can also include outsourcing some departments, such as your IT company. When you outsource a company instead of hiring in-house, that’s fewer members of your staff that you need to have in the office. (Additionally, an IT company will be important if you have remote workers. Your IT company will help you understand the best ways a remote team can come together in the digital world while still keeping things like emails and cloud-based drives safe.)
Consider Part-Time Workers
Most businesses like the idea of having a full-time staff they can count on to be available during any and all business hours. But sometimes it is easier to fill a full-time position with two part-time workers. Consider some parents who need to stay home with their children during the pandemic—it might be easier for them to work a part-time schedule than to take on full-time hours.
Filling certain positions with part-time workers will also open you up to a wider range of candidates. You might need a certain skill set for some full-time positions, but can you take busy work away from some of your staff members and give those responsibilities to someone who is simply looking to gain experience. If that’s the case, this might be a good time to consider bringing in a paid intern from a nearby college or your local high school. The other great benefit of an intern is that they could learn very quickly—you hire them to take on administrative responsibilities, but within a few weeks, they’ve gained enough skills to contribute to other parts of your business operation.
Offer Better (or Different) Benefits
When you’re worried about losing employees, the benefits that you offer can make all the difference. Think about it this way: Increasing employee pay might not be a realistic option, so what can you offer your employees that will make the job desirable to them? Pay isn’t always as important as you might think.
However, it’s important that you remember to add the right benefits. For example, offering an additional two weeks of paid vacation won’t make much difference if your employees are still unable to make the other 50 weeks of the year work out. Similarly, more health insurance options won’t be a draw for any of your employees who are on a spouse’s insurance plan.
Flexibility is a great benefit that can help retain workers and one that some people consider more important than pay. Remember those parents we mentioned earlier? Working moms have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and have been leaving the workforce in droves. Having flexibility to set their own hours or do part of their job from home will go a long way in ensuring you keep them.