The long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the job market has been a cause of much speculation. In the US, we are beginning to see the start of the predicted ‘turnover tsunami’ and it might not be long until we see something similar across Europe and the UK. 52% of employees said they intended to look for a new job this year, according to a report by Achievers Workforce Institute. To find out how much this is beginning to impact the pharma, medical device and scientific markets we work in, we ran our own poll, which found 58% of people have seen an increase in employee turnover this year. But why is this happening and what can employers do to not only retain existing employees but to also attract those individuals looking for a change of career?

What is behind the ‘turnover tsunami’?

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to many people looking to change jobs. Some have been working remotely for a long time and this has led them to feel burnt out, undervalued, and disconnected from their company. For others who usually travel a lot for their roles, the pandemic has made them value having more of a work-life balance, with 25% of those looking for a new role this year naming work-life balance as the reason. Many who were previously looking to move delayed their job search until the market was more stable and are now looking for their next opportunity. A lack of certainty around the future or in some cases, employers resisting a move to more flexible working, is also playing a part in employees becoming disengaged.

What can you do to retain employees and attract new talent?

1. Look at why people are leaving and address any issues

When someone is looking to change roles, one of the first questions we ask is why, so we can make sure that they will not leave their next role for similar reasons. By asking this question in exit interviews you can identify the reasons why people are leaving and implement changes needed to increase employee retention rates.


2. Benchmark your company’s offering against competing businesses

Benchmarking salaries, perks, progression plans and flexible working policies against competitors is important not only for retaining existing employees but attracting new people to your business. Industry-specific recruiters should be able to give you some insight on how competitive your offering is and what you can do to improve it too.


3. Use internal surveys to find any issues and proactively address them before employees leave

An annual survey can help identify issues and concerns across your business and guide your strategy for the year ahead. After conducting an internal survey, it is crucial changes are implemented or it can increase demotivation. According to the survey by Achievers, 60% of people said their employer has sought their feedback on improving the employee experience, but only 16% said their employer always takes action on their feedback.


4. Communicate your plans for the ‘new normal’ to relieve uncertainty

For example, some sales employees are hoping to reduce the time they spend travelling and instead conduct some meetings via video call, is this something your business can facilitate? If you are unable to offer remote working or reduced travel because of the nature of the role, is there anything else you could offer, such as flexible start and finish times? For others, they haven’t enjoyed working from home or not being able to travel and are looking for certainty that they can return to the job they had before. Take the time to understand what your employees want and firm up those plans sooner rather than later.


5. Attract new talent by investing in your employer brand

No matter what steps you put in place some employees will still want to leave, so how do you make sure you can attract the best talent? Utilise the internal surveys and exit interviews to really understand what people enjoy about working for your business and also what they would change. Combining this with competitor insights from interviews and insights from recruitment partners you can begin to understand what areas need work and what things you should promote to attract individuals to your company. Communicating those effectively through a careers site, candidate engagement packs, marketing campaigns and recruitment partners can help to attract those people who themselves are looking to move.


6. Reconsider the roles and skills you need before making new hires

Whilst no one aims for an increase in employee turnover, it does provide an opportunity to reassess your team structure and the skillsets you may be missing without causing redundancies. Utilise your recruiter partner to give you insights into team structures and the availability of talent to match any ‘new role’ you are looking to create.