How to prevent a senior team exodus in 2021
The end of the lockdown is in sight (horray!!) but whether we have weeks or months to go, there’s one thing we can say for certain - this third lockdown has felt much harder than previous ones. Everyone I speak with admits that it is taking its toll with varying degrees.
Particularly so, it seems, with individuals in senior roles. Lodge Court has identified a trend where large numbers of this group are leaving their roles without another job to go to.
They have officially reached breaking point and have had enough.
To prevent your business losing some of its top people in the coming weeks, here’s what you should do to provide support and retain them.
Is this really something you need to worry about?
As an HR consultancy, we have noticed a significant increase in conversations with senior management and executives who have left or are considering leaving their roles for no other reason than they cannot keep doing their job in its current form any longer. The signs all point to the effect the pandemic and working from home is having, causing people to lose their ability to engage “normally” with peers, colleagues and clients.
Not only that, but the sense of finishing work for the day – which previously would have been achieved by leaving the office – isn’t possible. Those who are in the workplace, have increased levels of anxiety, COVID protocols to follow. Working hours are increasing. Annual leave is more difficult to take, as you can’t go anywhere in lockdown.
People are worn out and fed up of being in constrained within their own bubbles
Any one of your team could be feeling this and be close to quitting so it’s vital you take steps now to prevent that from taking place.
Consider your current retention model
When was the last time you reviewed your retention strategy and employee benefits package? Could it be that it has not been looked at since April last year and many of the perks you currently offer don’t apply?
From extra days holiday and a bustling company culture of events and team lunches, to opportunities for training and bonuses for hitting exceptional targets - many of these things are not available to your employees at the moment. Therefore, if this is your retention strategy, it needs rewritten. And quickly.
Identify the problem before you find a solution
It’s all very well jumping ahead and begging the Finance Director for pay rises for your senior team but from our research we understand that money is not the key to staff retention right now. You only have to look at the fact that people are leaving their roles without another job secured to see that their decisions are not financially motivated.
The problem is pressure. There is no release. The end of the working day is no longer clear and with no one in the office, there is often the assumption that everyone is working and available to answer calls or deal with problems any day of the week. This makes taking annual leave – and keeping it free from work – practically impossible.
The working day has also become more intense with many people stuck to their desks staring at a screen, often sat in a dining chair for as many as 11 hours each day. This is leading to headaches, diminishing eyesight, back problems and exhaustion.
This problem would be a great place to start in addressing the retention of your key people.
Improve working conditions
Your senior team are the best minds your business has so get them involved in finding a solution. Find a way of speaking with your senior team either individually or as a group to discuss possible solutions to break up the working day, reduce the pressure and inject some fun back into the role. Ideas could include:
no meetings from 12 until 2 each day to allow everyone the ability to go outside in the day
the ability to purchase (and expense) more appropriate home working equipment
the hiring of virtual Personal Assistants for each member of the senior team to reduce workload
organising virtual parties, wine tastings, celebrity themed cookalongs perhaps on a Friday late afternoon – but make sure these are optional
recruiting a fitness coach to hold daily online workout sessions or pilates classes
delivering wine, chocolates or other treats to employees’ homes to make them feel appreciated
voucher for a movie for the whole family to enjoy as partners and children will be feeling the pressure too
These are just some examples of simple yet effective ways to improve the working environment in the short term.
And if you don’t take it seriously
Well, the answer is obvious – losing leaders doesn’t always mean you are losing your top talent. But it sends a message to the wider workforce of “what do they know that we don’t”. The trust that you have been building up can be lost quickly.
By supporting your senior team, you will be in turn ensuring the commitment, engagement of your wider workforce as well.
We all know coming out of lockdown and moving into the new normal, is going to be challenging and you will need your senior leaders to do what you need – lead from the front! As a business, you need them more than perhaps they need you. So act now!
About Us – We enrich businesses by instilling our passion for developing people and organisations. Using our diverse experience and extensive knowledge, we flexibly support businesses with a pragmatic but personable approach to people management.
Disclaimer – The contents of this blog do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only. We can only advise on the basis of specific client instructions and are unable to offer legal advice by email to anyone who are not our clients. To find out more about becoming a client of Lodge Court please talk to us.