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Do these 4 things to improve employee retention during the pandemic

Do these 4 things to improve employee retention during the pandemic
(Image credit: SmartBrief illustration)

Every business on the planet has been negatively affected by the pandemic and shutdowns.

The uncertainty about when the economy and life will get “back to normal” weighs heavily on everyone.

When might normal happen? One US public health expert expects it will take until fall 2021 — after the majority of the population is vaccinated and protected — for life to return to pre-COVID normalcy.

A fall 2019 study — before the pandemic — by Robert Half International found that 81% of senior leaders were worried about their company’s ability to retain valued employees.

It is highly likely that, given the impact of the shutdowns these past six months, the number of senior leaders concerned about retention is even higher today.

Here are four things business leaders can do to retain talented, engaged employees.

First, communicate openly and frequently. Honest communication is vital. A weekly “state of the business” update will help people feel valued. The news may not always be positive – don’t hide it, share it. You may not have answers; say so. Communicate what you can, especially bright spots.

Second, listen to and validate concerns. Be open to questions from team leaders and team members. Provide a variety of channels for people to connect with caring leaders and colleagues, including small-group video calls with the CEO, a chat feature for one-on-one conversations, calls with trained professionals to address increased demands (like working from home while kids are in school online), etc.

Third, model and demand respect. Treat others with respect in every interaction. Don’t demean, discount or dismiss others’ concerns or hopes. Be kind and civil to everyone, individually, in groups, everywhere. By modeling respectful treatment day in and day out, you earn the right to demand that everyone else treat others with respect.

Fourth, celebrate efforts, ideas, and accomplishments. All of our best bosses were great at this.

In today’s three-minute episode of my Culture Leadership Charge video series for SmartBrief, I provide details about how bosses can build skills and embrace a recognition mindset daily.

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