COVID-19 has left employees, businesses and clients feeling concerned about economic security and longevity. In the current economic climate, it’s critical for businesses to identify the value of employees who are committed to helping them come through this difficult time stronger than they were before.
Creating a business that is more and more profitable is no longer a surefire way of retaining staff. Since the turn of the century, we have seen countless disruptions that have impacted normal business practices and pivoted how companies operate; COVID-19 is the latest of these events. It not only poses a significant long-term public health issue, but it also creates widespread economic uncertainty, altering the way we work and live forever.
Approaching business differently
The tried and tested formula for a successful business won’t stand up to the rigours that the pandemic represents. No, it’s time for a shift in the way we conduct business. So, what is the secret for a thriving business that is stable and consistently outperforms its competitors in an uncertain market? Reliable talent. And lots of it.
Because of the ever-changing picture posed by the pandemic and continuing uncertainty around the economy, we’re witnessing a monumental shift in what employees are looking for from their future employers. A simple trade for money and time isn’t enough anymore; in the wake of the pandemic factors like work pattern flexibility are outweighing numbers on a payslip. With more and more of the country WFH, employees have reclaimed part of their work-life balance, so this flexibility will naturally be high on their agenda. Ultimately, businesses need to adopt a more humanised approach to retain staff and clients, but also to thrive post-pandemic.
Employee retention drives client loyalty
Businesses are constantly searching for ways to keep clients happy, as they are one of the main drivers of business growth and profit. Leaders in business can be so preoccupied with pre-empting client demands that they ignore the demands of those right under their noses: current employees. Keeping your staff happy isn’t only a way to improve company culture and productivity, it also plays a huge part in retaining clients.
Contrary to popular belief, client retention doesn’t occur in boardrooms over a tray of M&S prawn sandwiches, it actually happens every time employees communicate with clients. When an employee is engaged in what the business is trying to achieve, they are far more likely to form an emotional connection to the business and its goals, becoming its biggest advocate.
Empower every employee
In the age of the internet, employees are well aware of their worth. They demand to be fairly compensated for their time and trusted to take on tasks of great responsibility to show that they are valued. When businesses unnecessarily micromanage employees, it can lead to them feeling discouraged from voicing their opinion or taking creative control on a project. However, when employees are trusted make important decisions surrounding their job, they feel appreciated and valued, which can have a transformative impact on their output and outlook at work.
More than a job
Employees that are more engaged increase productivity and profitability. It really is that simple. Those employees who are disengaged are likely to see their role within the business as ‘just a job’, a means to an end, while those who are engaged are likely to view their role as a ‘career’, one that is fulfilling and represents an opportunity for personal growth. Having an engaged employee means that they are personally invested in their personal development and the wider development of the business.
When a business has happy staff, it will naturally rub off on how the clients feel about the business they’re partnering with; a loyal employee base is a brilliant indicator to new and old clients of how a business is performing. By turning the perspective inward and focusing on what can be done to motivate employees, a business can drive retention rates among clients and open up new business opportunities for the future.
Preparing for life post-pandemic
How employers navigate the uncertainty posed by COVID-19 will ultimately inform levels of loyalty among current members of staff. But going forward, the pandemic will also dramatically impact how they attract new staff. Because we have seen a shift to more remote working, assessing a candidate’s ‘fit’ into company culture will take on less importance. Instead, companies should be looking for the most innovative and qualified candidate possible, as these factors will far outweigh someone who is liked by everyone in the new way of working.