Omnicom Group’s Ketchum is out with a new study that found 70% of pandemic-weary American employees are more likely to stay at their current jobs than they were before the start of the health crisis a year ago.
But the report also surmises that sentiment will change as vaccinations are more widely implemented and the economy rebounds. With greater societal immunity, people will grow more comfortable looking for lucrative opportunities. And a growing economy will spur competition for hiring talent.
“The talent wars are coming,” said Lauren Butler, senior vice president of Ketchum’s Employee Communications & Engagement practice. “Companies need to embrace the ongoing change and reimagine the new employee experience,” as well as shift worker priorities.
Among those priorities are workplace flexibility and health benefits, which nearly half of employed Americans view as top priorities, per the report. About one-quarter of employees now view mental-health programs as important.
Not surprisingly, stress is high in the workplace, with about half of employee saying they feel more burned out now than at the start of the pandemic. That figure is higher for front-line workers (55%) and those working remotely full-time, due to the pandemic (56%).
The report found that nearly 30% of employees want to move to a four-day workweek.
"The COVID-19 pandemic forever altered the relationship between employer and employee," said Tamara Norman, partner and managing director of Ketchum's Employee Communications & Engagement specialty. "Looking forward, it's not about a 'return to work.' Many people never stopped working, and many of us are working harder than ever. The big change is the evolving concept of workplace and how employees experience the company, no matter where they are.”
The report outlines what are called “key truths” employers need to know to navigate the changing landscape.
Among them are: “Companies that can define their difference, react to change and inspire their employees” will be better able to attract and retain the types of workers they want.
Also, “as we move to what will likely be a hybrid model, employers will need to continue to raise the bar to maintain culture and cultivate community. Next-generation leaders must be human, transparent and empathetic for their messages to resonate.”
A lengthy summary of the report can be downloaded here.