Our Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) reveals that more than 1 in 5 employees are considering leaving their jobs in just the first six months of 2021. During the peak of this global pandemic, the fear of uncertainty and desire for stability enticed most employees to stay put. However, as the effects of COVID-19 start to lessen and the world begins reopening, everything is about to change – yet again.

Not only have employee’s needs changed, but the pandemic has spurred a pent-up demand for new jobs. Stability alone will not be enough to convince employees to stay. This massive exodus could spell disaster for many employers who are caught off guard. The ability to maintain manageable levels of employee retention may be difficult.

To prepare your company for the upcoming shift, it’s important to start by understanding the reasons why employees may be ready to leave their jobs in a post-pandemic job market.


1. low-ball salary and benefits

With numerous experts stating that it could take years, or even decades, to rebuild the Canadian economy, many companies are reluctant to implement any type of budget increase, including salaries. In fact, some employers are even considering cutting talent costs, by downsizing their workforce or reducing benefits. Unfortunately, in a post-pandemic environment, this strategy may backfire.

Initially, low-ball salaries and benefits may not deter candidates from applying for your open positions. In fact, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll still be able to attract qualified candidates and fill roles. The problem isn’t finding talent, it’s keeping these employees.

Once employees start leaving for better-paying positions, your company will incur an increase in recruiting costs, including onboarding and training. Studies reveal that these costs average one-and-a-half times the cost of the annual salary to replace just one employee. These employee turnover costs will start to add up after losing just a few workers. In the end, you will spend more time and money recruiting and training new team members than just offering competitive salaries and benefits from the start.

2. lack of trust

The pandemic pushed many employers to transition their employees to remote work with little to no notice. Unfortunately, many companies, including those that already offered part-time remote work options, were ill-prepared for this sudden shift to full-time remote work. In many cases, employers didn’t have set policies in place to cover various issues, such as tracking hours worked, offering multiple communication channels, and holding virtual meetings.

This lack of policy has led to a disconnect between management and employees. Without any means of effectively tracking time worked, managers have shown levels of distrust towards their employees, in regards to how they spend their time on the clock.

On the other hand, workers say that they are putting in more hours. One recent survey reveals that 44% of those working remotely claim that they’re working more hours than before the pandemic. This level of distrust from managers may be enough to push your best workers, the ones putting in the extra hours, right out the door.

3. poor work-life balance

There’s little doubt that the pandemic has made maintaining a healthy work-life balance extremely difficult. Not only were many employees forced to transition to remote work, but they did so under increasing family pressures. For example, some workers had to help their children with virtual learning or run errands for their elderly parents. While others may have contracted COVID-19 and had to deal with long-term side effects or lost a loved one due to the pandemic.

While the diminishing effects of COVID-19 will help to alleviate some of these pressures, it won’t alter these employees' new understanding of the importance of a healthy work-life balance. In fact, our recent brand research survey shows that Canadian employees ranked work-life balance as the second most important employment driver, falling only behind competitive salaries and benefits.

4. no advancement opportunities

Driven, ambitious, reliable, and hard-working are just a few words used to describe the most desirable candidates. These workers tend to be more productive, call off sick less often, and provide more overall value to your company. These workers are also the same ones who are constantly looking for ways to advance and further their careers. If they can’t find a way to grow their career with your organization, these highly motivated workers will certainly look for advancement opportunities elsewhere.

5. incompatibility with manager or team

You’ve probably heard it said before: “people leave bosses, not companies.” Thanks to the pandemic, even more employees may be ready to leave their current employers due to a poor supervisor or team. For some, employee engagement came to a slow crawl during the pandemic and the only work-related communication they had was with their manager or team members. While this isolated communication was fine for some employees, others struggled with a poor boss that lacked leadership or communication skills, tried to micromanage all work responsibilities, or presented some other toxic behaviours.

Before the pandemic, some of these behaviours may have been overlooked, but the isolation and other stressors might make any type of incompatibility with a manager or team member more pronounced. As more industries begin to reopen, both remote and in-house workers are more likely to leave their toxic workplace behind and search for new job opportunities.

6. ready for a change

With the effects of the pandemic weakening, employees are looking forward to a post-pandemic workplace environment. For some, the stressors of COVID-19 have been too much and the isolation of being at home alone is making them grow weary. Many employees just want a fresh start. These workers just want something different than the mundane work week they’ve been dealing with for over a year now. Unless changes take place at their current workplace, these employees are likely to create their own fresh start by seeking out new career options.

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