Retaining talent during a recession can be a difficult task for any organisation. With economic uncertainty and financial hardships, many employees may be looking for new job opportunities or considering leaving their current positions. 4 in 10 employees plan to quit their role in the next 12 months, including 35% of workers who have held their current position for less than a year.
What steps can employers take to retain top talent during a recession, when budget constraints and economic uncertainty may make it challenging to offer traditional incentives such as salary increases or bonuses?
Penfold, a private pension provider, researched the most important work benefits for employees and how companies can retain talent during recession.
Creating a Positive Work Culture and Communicating Transparently
A positive work culture can help to reduce employee turnover and increase employee engagement, even during a recession. This can be achieved by fostering a sense of community, recognizing and rewarding employee contributions, and providing opportunities for professional development. Additionally, companies can also invest in employee well-being programs, such as mental health support and work-life balance initiatives, to help employees cope with the stress of the current situation.
Another important strategy for retaining talent is to be transparent with employees about the company’s financial situation. Many employees are understandably concerned about the future of their jobs, and companies need to be open and honest about the challenges they are facing. By providing employees with regular updates on the company’s financial performance and future plans, companies can help to build trust and reduce uncertainty.
Flexible Work Arrangements
ONS data show that in February 2022 more than three-quarters (78%) of those who worked from home in some capacity said that being able to work from home gave them an improved work-life balance.
By allowing employees to work from home or other locations, organisations can create an environment where employees feel more comfortable and can focus on their work more easily. This can lead to increased engagement, motivation, and productivity among employees. In addition, remote work can also help organisations to attract top talent from a wider pool of candidates, as it eliminates geographical barriers. This can be particularly useful during a recession, as it can help companies to fill key positions quickly and cost-effectively.
Penfold, a digital workplace pensions provider, surveyed 2,000 working adults in the UK to determine which benefits are the most important.
According to the survey, the most important perks to employees were:
- Pension (90%)
- Remote or flexible working (76%)
- Life insurance (67%)
- Generous maternity/paternity leave (66%)
- Healthcare insurance (66%)
- Work socials (66%)
- Unlimited holiday (60%)
- Childcare support (56%)
- Gym membership (34%)
The survey found that employees were significantly more concerned about their pension compared to any other benefit such as remote or flexible working, life insurance or unlimited holiday.
Jenny Ovens, Operations Director at Blue Array SEO said:
“In times of recession, it is a misperception that talent is less likely to change jobs. A recession is not a retention strategy, and businesses must work just as hard to retain their top talent. Pay rises may not always be an option, so look to the whole benefits package and consider what can be added or tweaked to add value.
Financial well-being is key, so lean on internal teams to host knowledge sessions and arm them with information to empower them. Consider offering interest-free loans to support hard times, which could reduce the need for someone to take on a second or even third job which could lead to burnout. Additional training and development are key drivers to retention, and flexibility should be allowed if not already, allowing the team to work in a hybrid approach.
Seek feedback and open communication channels, and listen to your team. Empower them and provide a seat at the table to have a voice in those big decisions. Be transparent and provide regular updates, as recessions generally bring fear for many and reassurance and consistent, honest information are key. “
Pete Hykin, Co-Founder at Penfold, a private pension provider said:
“Retaining talent during a recession is essential for any business to remain competitive. It is important to recognise that employees are the lifeblood of any organisation and that their skills and knowledge are invaluable. During a recession, it is crucial to focus on employee retention strategies that will help to keep employees engaged and motivated.
This includes providing competitive salaries and benefits, offering flexible work arrangements, a good pension scheme and providing opportunities for professional development and growth. Additionally, it is important to create a culture of appreciation and recognition, where employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions. By taking these steps, businesses can ensure that their most valuable asset, their employees, remain engaged and motivated during a recession.”