United States employees are leaving their jobs at a record pace. According to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor, 2.7% of U.S. professionals left their jobs in April—up from 1.6% in April of 2020, and the highest rate of turnover since 2000.
Additional data indicates the employment upheaval will continue. More than half (52%) of North American talent plans to look for a new job in 2021, according to the Achievers Workforce Institute’s most recent Employee Engagement & Retention report.
Retaining talent has long been a major challenge for companies and their HR teams. Gallup research suggests that U.S. businesses lose one trillion dollars every year due to employee turnover. The high cost of turnover includes the time required to identify, recruit, onboard, and train new employees, along with the loss of productivity that comes when valuable team members leave.
HR teams that want to boost workforce retention rates—and make themselves more appealing to new talent—must understand three things employees want now more than ever.
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Flexible Work Arrangements
More than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies worldwide to shift to remote work, it’s clear that workspace expectations have changed irrevocably.
SaaS company Citrix recently surveyed over 2,000 knowledge workers on their attitudes about the future of work. 88% of respondents said they would prioritize a job that offered complete flexibility in where and when they worked. At the same time, 76% said they would seek jobs that best accommodated their lifestyles, while 83% believed that more companies would use flexible work to attract qualified candidates.
Another survey of 1,200 U.S. professionals by TechRadarPro revealed that 85% of respondents wanted to work from home at least once per week. A separate Gallup poll found that only 21% of white-collar professionals wanted to return to the office full-time following the pandemic.
These stats point to a clear takeaway: employees want flexibility beyond the 9-to-5, brick-and-mortar office structure. That’s why some of the world’s most well-known companies have already adjusted their policies to meet changing attitudes about when and where their people work.
Facebook, Zillow, Coinbase, and Shopify are part of a growing wave of employers that allow their teams to work remotely, indefinitely. Companies that want to increase their appeal to current and prospective employees must adopt similar policies.
Career Development Opportunities
Employers that provide training and upskilling programs for their employees increase their ability to retain their current workforce—and attract new talent.
Millennials, who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, especially value opportunities to bolster their skillsets at work. According to a recent Gallup survey, 87% of millennials prioritize “professional or career growth and development opportunities.” Employers that offer internal training programs increase their appeal to the fastest-growing segment of the workforce.
The pandemic led companies to recognize the value of upskilling employees. As more and more people across the world go virtual for everyday activities like work, shopping, entertainment, and communication, employers need talent with digital skills. By offering upskilling or career development programs, they give their existing workforce the skills they need to successfully adapt to the future of work.
At the same time, employers that offer upskilling programs bolster their appeal to prospective employees. Rattled by historic job losses at the beginning of the pandemic, employees are now more mindful of developing in-demand skills that make them indispensable to employers. Internet searches for “online learning” increased by 400% over 2020, pointing to a workforce eagerly seeking new skills development. Companies that offer training programs increase their draw to the growing number of prospective employees that want ongoing skills development.
Competitive Employee Benefits
Employees have always been attracted to companies that offer competitive benefits packages. That trend has continued during the pandemic, as 30% of employees who switched jobs during the pandemic did so to receive better benefits.
The challenge for HR teams is knowing which benefits their current and prospective employees want. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that the vast majority of employers offer common benefits including paid vacation (98%) and 401(k) plans (93%). HR teams looking to separate themselves from the competition must consider lesser-offered benefits that employees now covet more than before.
Employers can attract employees who generally skew younger by offering education-related benefits. For example, only 56% of employers offer tuition assistance programs to employees who wish to pursue higher education or external training programs on top of the professional development they receive at work. At the same time, just 8% of employers offer student loan assistance to employees who enter the workforce with debt from college tuition.
The U.S. is also one of the only countries in the world that does not mandate that companies provide paid parental leave. As a result, only 27% of companies offer their workforce paid time off before or after childbirth.
While few companies offer paid parental leave, employees increasingly want more time to care for their children. A study by Flexjobs revealed that childcare and flexibility are the primary reasons employees want to work remotely. Employers that offer paid leave for new parents give themselves a major advantage when it comes to courting new talent and retaining existing team members.
Meet Your Local and Global Hiring Needs With a Trusted Partner
In the face of rising employee turnover, companies are increasingly looking for talent outside their local markets—a practice made easier by the rise of remote work. However, engaging talent in new U.S. states and global markets presents real HR challenges, from providing payroll and benefits to compliantly classifying talent as independent contractors or employees. Companies that want the flexibility of hiring across markets, but not the complications, turn to workforce management experts.
Velocity Global helps companies compliantly engage and manage talent across all 50 U.S. states and more than 185 international markets. Reach out today to find out how our experts can help you overcome high turnover by building a distributed workforce.