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How to Retain Employees

Masked employees meeting for reskilling

Almost 60 million Americans filed for unemployment this year. Most unemployment claims were due to layoffs and downsizing because of COVID-19. With more and more employees questioning job security and overall business status, here are a few suggestions on how employers can lower turnover rates and keep businesses afloat.

Create Leaders.

One of the most difficult positions to lay off of is a leadership position. A good leader is one of the most profitable assets to any organization.[1] Knowing the value of leadership, fostering leaders from the ground up creates a stronger organization, an enhanced message, and healthy reputation across the company. Through the efforts of proper coaching and training, you can help your employees grow into self-sustaining leaders, increasing your profitable assets internally. Some leaders have elected voluntary pay cuts in order to retain lower wage or ranked employees. Start a conversation with your leaders about innovative solutions to prevent layoffs.

Cut Costs, Not Workers.

The most obvious option to help retain assets within a company is to monitor spending and adjust accordingly. Use 2020 as a benchmark for cost savings. What could your organization have done cut costs this year? Was there excess spending that could have been allocated to maintaining a valuable employee? Could an employee’s role been revamped or reskilled to fulfill department gaps? Employees are integral to your business operations and a reflection of your company and culture. Prioritize employee retention efforts.

Be creative and resourceful in how you approach your organization’s spending. For example, partnering with a PEO like Human Capital can help you save money by transitioning tedious back-office administration tasks, such as payroll, HR, and benefits, to the PEO and refocus your time and energy on revenue-generating tasks, such as sustaining client relations and managing employees.

Another resourceful way to prevent layoffs is reskilling employees to fill tasks in a more solidified department, or one that needs the help by boosting the productivity in the newly assigned department. If your business model can sustain remote work, the transition may cut commercial costs, as well as boost employee comfort and productivity during these difficult times. The COVID-19 pandemic can be used as a baseline to understand the new “normal” and create a system that thrives in it.

Be Compassionate, Yet Decisive.

Eventually, there may come a point where you have no choice in delivering a layoff. The best approach is to be compassionate, but also decisive.[2] If you’re forced to lay off an employee or a department due to COVID-19, make sure you do it all at once. Contact the laid off employees individually and be sure to answer all questions regarding timing, benefits, and severance packages. Try your best to make sure there aren’t waves of layoffs, as it may cause employees to panic. Avoiding multiple rounds of layoffs will help put the remaining staff at ease and allow you to restructure your business model accordingly with fewer interruptions.

Human Capital understands the value each individual employee brings to a business, so we know letting go of employees is a difficult process. Our HR experts able to offer industry best practices on terminating employees and exit strategies to help ease the transition for both parties. Contact Human Capital today to speak with an HR specialist.


[1] American Library Association

[2] Harvard Business Review

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