HR Hot topics 2021! Time to rethink our approach to employees and policies related..why? Because we care and because we need to attract and retain strong employees…

Let’s begin with the issue of Mental Health as this is more of an issue now than ever. From navigating the Pandemic to juggling caregiving as well as working remotely in a more virtual enviornment. According to the CDC, 40% of adults in the US have reported experiencing mental health problems since the pandemic began. As a result, employers must commit to giving workers mental health resources they need from access to affordable care to understanding and empathy from management.

What should you consider? Create a culture of “check ins”. Offer training on mental health for managers and employees. Also reexamine your policies and procedures. Are you creating a flexible working environment for employees to take time off to receive mental health care if needed? What about he paid time off policies and alternative work schedules? Are we realizing that we could get more out of employees if we reach them where they are? Can we change our attitudes about this? If not, what is holding you back?

Overall wellness is important. While we want to get employees to work as much as possible to keep competitive in our business, they can do that much better if there is some work/family life balance. Create an environment that is open to hearing from personal concerns and allow this venting to be “safe” for those who feel the need to express their challenges in life these days. Avoid judging and making comments but rather just listen and see if there are areas, as an employer/supervisor, that you can make changes and have positive impact given what you are hearing.

With an aging workforce, employers need to be positioned to look palatable to younger workers. You must understand the needs of younger people, which is many cases are related to work/family life balance. Beyond that advancement opportunities, adequate compensation, interesting jobs so is feeling appreciated being extremely important! This my colleagues, is no longer “fluff’ but rather something that has to be considered embedded in the culture of the organization. Professional development is also very important. Retaining top performers requires keeping your environment “fresh”, relevant, supportive where opportunities to learn and grow are abundant. Offering professional development opportunites is an investment strengthening your organization. Consider the value of Leadership Coaching as well. This is something that every professional should have the opportunity in experiencing.

The employee experience directly ties to retention rates. The ability to discover what you need to do to attract and retain the best performers is well worth your time. This all starts with onboarding and making them feel welcome. Evauations are important so they know where they stand. Clear job descriptions with clear expectations are absolutely necessary. Introducing new hires to a variety of individuals from different parts of the organization to begin to get them feeling a sense of belonging and inclusion. Then you need to determine mentorship and learning programs that could be useful and appreciated as they move through their worklife. Seeking to enhance skills and knowlege results in “win/win”.

Compensation is clearly important. Try not to “lag” in the market for pay. Take the time to explore market values and position yourself so that you are desirable to those you need most..the highest quality candidates!

Finally, keep in mind the need to update technology as well. Like it or not, this is where your younger generationi ( and most of us for that matter) are and you need to be there along with it. Mobile friendly devices and access to the internet are a basic need for most employees. Be sure your company communications can be easily read on all devices especially open position ads. Most candidates are using their mobile devices and using text messaging to keep communications flowing. Recruiting text messages for example, have an open rate that is five times higher than email messages!