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Employee Retention Leaps to the Forefront of Employer Goals for 2023

Employee Retention Leaps to the Forefront of Employer Goals for 2023

For months (and even years), we have heard threats of a looming economic recession. Although analysts disagree as to whether an economic downturn has already begun, rising prices and a corresponding increase in interest rates to combat those increases signals a change is either here or coming. Along with the economic times, so shift employer priorities, as organizations set their goals for the fast-coming year 2023. If 2022 was all about the “great resignation” and the need to hire, it is clear that 2023 is less about new hires, and more about retention of quality talent already working within organizations of all sizes.

Engagement, Training, Retention and “DEI&B” are Critical to Employers in 2023

Human Resources management platform Lattice recently conducted a survey entitled the State of People Strategy. The survey found that for 2023, investment in existing talent (and their corresponding engagement with the organization and its values) is the top organizational priority. In contrast, for 2022, over 40% of employers were most concerned with talent acquisition (compared with only 17% of employers responding acquisition as priority #1 for 2023).  Keeping in the theme of investing in current talent, “manager training” was second in the list of priorities at just over 35% (consistent with the responses from 2021). Lattice’s survey results provide the key insight: “[y]ou can’t hire your way out of a recession.”

High on the list of employer responses to the Lattice survey was diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B). Such a focus matches the goal of investment in existing employees by not only training them, but also getting them up to speed on the values and culture that make the organization unique. Savvy leaders understand that in times of economic despair (where layoffs are likely), having a strong culture is the best way to reduce employee stress and fear and keep them engaged. DEI&B certainly is one way to invest in culture, and continue its growth despite difficult economic times.

Hybrid Work is Not Going Away

It is no secret that many employers desire to bring employees back into physical office locations. However, it is proving impractical to do so on a full-time basis and also retain the best and brightest employees. Too many organizations have embraced the increased productivity of hybrid work environments that has been shown from studies such as one conducted by Microsoft. Therefore, rather than focusing on how to bring employees back, we must instead focus on the challenges presented to them by hybrid work, which is the wave of the present and the future.

The Lattice study showed “disconnect” and a lack of clarity about expectations as the two greatest employee fears in a hybrid work environment. If the goal is retaining your best employees, and making sure they are in line with the shared values of your organization, it is clear that you must make efforts to connect with them despite reduced face time with the workforce as a whole. One way to do this is to offer an expanded package of cultural improvement programming that focuses on the employee and their needs in a modern environment.

Cultural Improvement Goes far Beyond What Not to Do

Too many employers concern themselves with conducting mandatory harassment and discrimination training as a means of limiting liability. When attempting to retain employees, it has become clear that there is an expectation that the consideration for an employee’s time in taking training is something of value they can take home. Syntrio has discovered that to get employees engaged in compliance training there needs to be an effort at also educating the workforce on cultural improvement. By focusing on issues such as civility and respect, mindfulness, and DEI&B, employees gain tools that not only reduce their level of stress, but also help them improve their relationships and ways of thinking beyond work. As such, we have seen workforces far more receptive to spending the time learning about issues such as harassment and discrimination when they know the employer has their best interests in mind and are sincere about improving culture.

Syntrio would appreciate the opportunity to speak with a member of your organization about how we can tailor a program of cultural improvement for your organization in 2023. We have a variety of communication tools and courseware aimed at retaining your workforce, and it all is keyed toward cultural improvement. By thinking a bit outside the box with your learning and hotline reporting we believe we can help you succeed in retaining a quality workforce no matter the economic circumstances. Contact a member of our staff today to see how we can work with you to better your organization and meet your goals in the coming year.

Since 2007, Jonathan has practiced labor and employment law on behalf of management. Jonathan focuses his practice on advising employers on the prevention of harassment and discrimination issues, with an emphasis on providing in-person harassment training programs to companies of all sizes. Jonathan is licensed in California, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and maintains a national advice practice.

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