Louise Lawrence: What will be important for employers’ talent strategies post Covid-19?

If employers do not focus on their flexible working offering, they will lose out on the best talent. Nearly three-quarters of the 1,000 employees and 500 employers we surveyed in partnership with YouGov in January 2020 told us that flexible working was important to attracting and retaining the best talent.

It is likely that this will be even more important now as many employees, who had not experienced any form of flexible working pre-lockdown, want to incorporate flexible working into their future working arrangements and others want increased flexibility.

Employers are listening to their employees’ wishes; in our recent YouGov survey conducted in June 2020, employers said they planned to increase flexibility around working from home (47%) and working hours (38%).

If employees do come into the office, it needs to be a space they actually want to spend time in. Employers that invest in providing an attractive collaborative space where employees can share ideas and work together will stand out to employees.

A positive workplace culture, which is inclusive and diverse, and where leaders are trusting, open and good communicators, will be crucial in recruiting and retaining talent.  The younger generation in particular want to know their employer’s values and that these are lived and breathed by its leaders.

As a result of the pandemic, there is a greater attention on purpose and what contribution the organisation is making to society. Employers could have employees who are brand ambassadors for their organisation to spread the word about their business being a great place to work.

There is greater public attention to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Employers should consider what their wellbeing offering includes such as covering financial wellbeing, free counselling sessions, activities, for example, yoga and meditation, and training, such as resilience and mental health first-aid training.

In terms of remuneration, some of the respondents to our employee survey said that they would like a home-working allowance to cover the costs of office supplies (42%) and the additional costs of gas, electricity and so on. For others, a sign-on bonus has been an important consideration in them leaving the stability of their current role during uncertain economic times.

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If employers have short-term financial constraints, they could consider implementing long-term incentive plans to encourage employees to remain with the business and help the business grow.

Louise Lawrence is partner in the employment team at Winckworth Sherwood