Employee retention strategies for the post-COVID work world

The aftermath of the worldwide pandemic has reset the corporate world. The number of remote jobs has increased, workplace flexibility is on the rise, and company culture is at the forefront. Despite this, a Forbes Report found that 49% of millennials would resign from their jobs in the subsequent 2 years of being hired. In addition, talk of the Great Resignation is continually building as experts are predicting that 38% of Australian workers are considering a new role within the next twelve months (PWC Report). 

Put simply, employees no longer feel compelled to stay working at companies that are not adapting to the new post-COVID work world. The cost of high turnover and retraining new staff directly burdens the company financially; in fact, it can cost 1.5 – 2 times an employee’s salary on average (Built In), culturally, it lowers morale and is likely to decrease productivity of the remaining staff.

So, what can organisations do? 

It is crucial that organisations hold onto their most important asset, people! To do that, companies must create a highly engaged workplace by having retention strategies in place that align with employee expectations.



An effective onboarding process can reduce new hire attrition. A great way to do this is through detailed induction programs that include time spent meeting colleagues and business leaders, setting clear expectations of their role, and helping them to understand the core values and company vision. A good onboarding process will help new employees understand how they can contribute and excel. Assigning a mentor or buddy during the onboarding process can, over time, transform an average employee into a high performer as this method encourages support and inspiration from colleagues.


Flexible working arrangements

This has quickly become one of the top things that people are looking for and is fast becoming an expectation as opposed to a benefit. Employees are willing to quit their jobs to find a company that can accommodate remote working or hybrid working models that enable a greater work-life balance.

Another working arrangement that is a hot topic in the media at the moment is companies moving to a four-day workweek, which follows Spain becoming the first country to trial this without a pay-cut.

These flexible working arrangements can help to boost employee productivity, improve employee well-being and decrease burnout and absenteeism. Understanding and recognising the individual needs of your talent to develop a working model that is best suited for your organisation can help attract and retain talent.


Workplace culture

To build workplace culture and values, leadership teams should be open to feedback and in fact, seek it out. A company that promotes diversity and inclusion along with positivity will help shape company culture. Organisations are considering offering paid mental health days not just sick days or subsidised health insurance to promote employee wellbeing. Fostering social connections through team building activities will help employees to assign meaning to their workplace.

Companies should aim to place equal importance on cultural fit just as they would experience and expertise when hiring new staff, this will likely result in more loyal and engaged employees who are aligned to company values and culture.


Career Growth and Development

In our recent talent survey, results showed that only 29% of employees had a career development plan with their current employer. Helping employees to achieve their short-term and long-term goals should be one of the most crucial employee retention strategies. A great way to do this is by ensuring that staff have career development plans in place. These plans should include progression pathways, training, or coaching programs along with professional development opportunities. This shows employees that you are committed and invested in their future, which will help to improve employee motivation and increase high performance.


Acknowledgement and recognition

Appreciating your employees for their achievements goes a long way towards making them feel valued in the workplace. However, it is also time to start recognising and rewarding hard work rather than just appreciating results. Some meaningful ways to acknowledge staff are with handwritten notes, peer-to-peer recognition programs, incentives and recognition at staff meetings or events. These acknowledgements can enhance employee contribution and lead to a sense of belonging and high performance.  


Regular Feedback

Regular feedback and communication can increase the level of employee trust in leadership and the company. Understanding what your staff need to succeed and having regular one on one catch ups will help you to understand what their motivational factors are (responsibility, recognition, growth opportunities etc), it will help you to have some awareness about what might drive them to quit and what makes them want to stay. These insights will help you to retain them and will most likely prevent an employee from feeling dissatisfied, resulting in a resignation.

2021 has been a tough year for everyone, however, as it draws to a close it is important that you take some time to re-evaluate your employee retention strategies to ensure that your company is prepared for the predicted employee movement in March 2022. It is critical to have a plan to retain your employees so you don’t find yourself in a position where you need to retrain. 

If you are considering investing in retaining your top talent, Miller Leith Career Services provides tailored high-performance coaching programs and professional development workshops specifically designed to produce vital outcomes for both the employer and employee. Individual participants can develop their communication style, leadership style, performance, emotional intelligence, presentation skills and peer relationship/stakeholder management. Companies will benefit from an increase in employee productivity, high performance, engagement and ultimately support retention.

Interested to learn more? Contact Anika O’Connor, Career Services Manager today for a confidential discussion. 


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