bagi1998 / iStock
Four million Americans voluntarily left the workforce in April 2021 alone ― one of the highest numbers ever recorded. In addition, more are planning or thinking of leaving their jobs, as Microsoft estimates that 41% of employees are contemplating leaving their current positions.
This trend ― the “Great Resignation”― is fueled by employees looking for better pay, greater flexibility and perhaps a career change post-pandemic. Although it’s understandable to worry about how this trend affects your company’s turnover and retention, HR leaders should also view it as an opportunity to attract and retain top talent by listening to their needs and supporting them effectively.
In BrightPlan’s “2021 Wellness Barometer Survey,” we asked employees throughout the United States what they are looking for in workplace benefits post-pandemic. Here’s what we learned:
1. Health Care Benefits
Healthy employees are more likely to perform well at work, contributing to business results for the company. Throughout the pandemic, employees saw firsthand how important health care benefits were. In BrightPlan’s survey, health care benefits ranked number one in terms of what employees are looking for the most post-pandemic. Health care benefits include medical insurance, and also physical well-being benefits such as a health concierge, fitness classes, nutrition support and many others. Employers that offer top-tier health care benefits understand how their employees’ physical well-being can impact their productivity and engagement.
2. Remote Work
The pandemic changed the world of work. Employees’ performance over the past year has shown that remote work brings with it many opportunities such as greater work-life balance, less commute time, and greater location flexibility ― all without productivity loss. Many employers throughout the country prematurely asked their employees to come back to the office, causing some to quit or look for remote-friendly jobs. Remote work will be a central part of the world of work well after the pandemic. Being supportive and flexible by offering remote work opportunities will be the key to winning the talent war.
3. Financial Wellness
According to the BrightPlan survey, 81% of employees reassessed their financial situation and 65% are stressed about their finances. In addition, only 20% of employees have basic financial literacy ― defined as answering three out of four basic questions about finances correctly. Finances are the leading cause of stress for employees, affecting their physical and mental health, and costing employers an estimated $4.7 billion per week in lost productivity and engagement. Hence, it’s no surprise that financial wellness ranks high on the list for both employees and employers. Offering a financial wellness solution that meets the needs of your employees will help give your company a competitive edge when attracting and retaining talent.
4. Quality Vacation Time
The fourth-most important workplace benefit unveiled by the BrightPlan survey is vacation time. Although most knowledge workers have some form of paid vacation and sick days, they are looking for both higher quality and more paid time off — no more being in conference calls and checking emails during family or vacation time. Taking time off to truly recharge is important for productivity and engagement, not to mention the well-being of employees. Employers that foster a culture of rest and wellness could be seen as more desirable by top talent looking for more work-life balance.
5. Professional Development
Top employees want to grow throughout their careers and seek employers that support their goals. So it’s no surprise that the final workplace benefit employees are looking for is professional development. Employers that invest in their employees’ professional growth are more likely to remain competitive by developing the skills needed for their business. They are also more likely to retain top talent who are looking to be challenged and grow in their careers. Although it’s a powerful tool for motivating employees and keeping them engaged, professional development unfortunately is often one of the first programs to be cut in a downturn. Employers that understand the value of professional development, offer it to their employees and communicate it effectively gain the reputation of a supportive and desirable workplace.
HR leaders have a real opportunity to think about the great resignation as the time to stand out and attract top talent. By offering what they’re looking for, employers can signal that they’re a supportive environment and culture as well as a great place to work. Every employee who resigns will likely land somewhere and employers offering these desirable workplace programs stand to benefit.