Workforce spending is usually the biggest expense for companies, making up on average 57% of total operating costs for S&P 500 companies, according to MyLogIQ, a data provider. U.S. businesses slashed 41 million jobs in 2020, compared with 21.7 million cut the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It isn’t clear how many of those will come back once the pandemic abates.
The pandemic has allowed many people to reevaluate their lives, what they value, and where they spend their time–including in their careers. Employers would benefit from doing some reevaluating of their own to ensure that company values align across the organization.
Be flexible. Be Transparent. Communicate more. Over Communicate–share more information than traditional leaders are accustomed to. With remote work still dominating, sharing too many updates rather than too little will ensure physically separated teams come together, especially when employee burnout is at an all time high. Be sure apps and software are easy to use, and ensure every employee is upskilled for working across digital tools.
Be inclusive. Encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work. That’s being inclusive. It’s not a trend–it’s a business imperative. Include every employee, regardless of race, gender, gender identity, or age. When everyone is included, employees are more likely to perform at a level that directly impacts the organization’s bottom line goals. Inclusion paired with genuine, timely employee recognition drives employee engagement and in turn, reduces turnover.
Be Empathetic While the pandemic has had disparate effects on people that are impossible to ignore, everyone is still impacted. Show that, no matter where you are in the organization, everyone has had to face radical adjustments. Leadership language expert Krister Ungerböck asserted in an article during the height of the pandemic, that “[Employees] guided by empathetic leaders will likely have an easier time working through their stresses, while others operating under a ‘business as usual’ manager may become disengaged and resentful.”
A little understanding will go a long way in retaining employees as the economy, vaccinations, and jobs open up.