We all see now that times are changing, and changing quickly. COVID-19 has upended our lives (no matter where we are in the country or what industry we work in).

Businesses still need to continue, and many manufacturing companies are considered essential, rightly so. Manufacturing is the backbone of our country and businesses remain open during this time to make sure that the rest of society has the resources they need to live.

This time will forever change the way businesses operate and furthermore it will change the way employers will need to look at employee retention. 

What can you do to work on your employee retention during this pandemic? 

First and foremost, show empathy and compassion.

Being understanding and showing your employees that you care can go a long way in employee retention during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Listening and understanding your employees is as simple as asking how they are doing and feeling today. There is a lot of unease in people’s lives, so being someone to listen to them shows concern and compassion. 

Showing empathy could mean listening and understanding if someone they know or love is affected by COVID-19 and offering flexible ways to address any problems they may have. If one of their family members is suffering, consider ways you can extend sick time for them to care for their family.

If someone in their family is affected by COVID-19 but your employee isn’t their primary care taker, see what other things you can do to show compassion and understanding.

Next, show flexibility whenever and however possible.

This is an unprecedented time in our nation’s history so working with employees to increase paid sick time, work from home options if possible, or simply finding ways to help them connect with resources they need during this time can increase employee retention.

You shouldn’t need to worry about your best workers coming back because they don’t think you and your business cares for their well-being. 

It’s going to be imperative from now on to have procedures in place that clearly outline what someone needs to do when they feel ill, and what you need to do as a business to keep the rest of your employees safe and healthy.

Outlining the policy for coming to work sick, what needs to be done to come back to work, reintegration policies, and on-going cleanliness and hygiene policies will all be important going forward. 

If your HR department is leaner now, consider ways to make it easier for HR to spend time with each employee who is affected or feels affected by COVID-19 and tailor your approach to each person as much as possible.

While rules and policies need to be followed across the board, showing compassion and understanding to those who are affected can make employees feel validated and heard. 

What can you do to work on employee retention after the pandemic is over?

Simply put, use what you learned during this time to create and implement policies around sick time, paid leave, illness at work, reintegration, hygiene, and cleanliness.

Outlining these policies will help you and your employees moving forward after this pandemic and will also work on your overall employee retention. 

Policies implemented now will help you have all the right plans in place if something catastrophic happens again. Best case, you don’t use it ever again. Worse case, you are prepared. 

Don’t forget to also work on the traditional methods and ways to increase employee retention. 

Continue to remain engaged with your employees.

This extends past empathy and flexibility. If you find that some of your departments are still being underutilized when the pandemic constraints are lifted, it may be the right time to find a way to re-skill, up skill, or increase training opportunities for your employees. 

Employee engagement works to increase productivity, morale, and retention. And it’s also another great way to attract top talent for open positions later on.

Open and constant communication is also a wonderful way to work on retention.

Great communication can help you business survive this time and help it flourish in the future. A focus on communication now means being upfront, honest, and open about any and all updates and changes that have been happening. Open and constant communication in the future can foster teamwork, creativity, and respect between employees

Consider beefing up benefits: perhaps a stipend or reimbursement for a gym or fitness center, more services with your benefits provider, incentives to get and remain healthy, and corporate run wellness events can get and keep employees engaged. 

Revamping onboarding is another way to work on employee retention.

If you have created a shorter onboarding process to bring your temporary employees up to speed, document it and create an onboarding procedure.

Look at your current onboarding procedures and fine-tune them and create procedures around this to ensure it’s as smooth and comprehensive as possible.

An employee that feels supported from the start will be ready and equipped to start doing their job. This helps reduce turnover, reduce costly manufacturing errors, increase safety for employees, harbor innovation, and create a positive work environment. 

A great, inviting, and supportive culture is another way to work on employee retention. Not only does a great culture help keep employees working for you, it also works as a hiring tool too!

A positive company culture draws candidates in…. Even passive candidates that didn’t know they were looking for a job until they found your company! 

Now and in the future, take the time to truly celebrate and show your employees you value them.

It’s a hard time for a lot of companies and people. Expressing thanks and appreciation for your staff and recognizing them during this unprecedented time can create respect between employees and your business and it’s the right thing to do.

Continuing to focus on appreciation after we resume “normal” life can keep your employees invested in your company and your company’s future. 

Do you have staffing needs right now?

If so, let the experts help. GTR is (virtually) open and ready to help you maintain staffing levels during this pandemic. Keeping staffing levels consistent and delivering your products to your customers keeps you in business and your employees working. There isn’t a playbook for how to operate during these times, but there is always support.

Contact us today.