Is flexibility the key to retaining talent?

As employee retention reaches an alarming low, are companies losing some of their best talent to the gig economy? A new survey by freelance platform Upwork found that 20% of current employees in the US—10 million people—are considering doing freelance work.

 

A larger freelance workforce could mean an increased risk for business leaders of losing talented full-time workers. In times of change and uncertainty, why are talented employees considering the move to a freelance life?

 

“The return to the office is fueling some of The Great Resignation: 17% of professionals that were working remotely during the pandemic would probably or definitely consider looking for another job if they have to go back to the office. This represents 9 million workers.” Upwork

 

The pandemic has put a spotlight on what’s important for many people – whether that be more of a work life balance, more autonomy, more flexibility in how they work and where they work, or generally more freedom to do the things they love.

 

With offices opening back up, could there be a fear amongst employees of losing some of what they have appreciated over the past year? Now is the time to be proactive in order to retain your employees, whether that’s through upping your employee benefits packages or through listening to what employees want from their place of work, and making changes to suit.

 

To understand how strongly employees felt about remote work, Upwork asked how many workers would be willing to take a pay cut in order to work fully remote. “Overall, 15% were willing to take a pay cut to go remote and another 26% would maybe take a pay cut.”

 

Many employees considering freelance work will naturally be the more experienced employees – as they will have more to offer. This could result in brain drain of top talent. By asking what’s important to them, you will be in a much better position to flex your policies to accommodate and compete with the freedoms offered by a freelance career.

 

As a freelancer, wellbeing support is quite different from the packages offered to employed staff. What can your wellbeing programme offer as an incentive? Have you built a culture of safety around returning to work?  Do your colleagues feel confident they will end their day as healthy as when they started? Do employees feel safe enough to be themselves, and fully contribute around your co-workers and leaders? What support networks do you offer your employees?

 

It’s often the simplest things that can make a difference.

 

And if your business doesn’t currently employ freelancers, perhaps now is the time to look at that policy – with a huge amount of talent now available across the globe, you could be missing out on recruiting top talent back in to your business, where you need outsourced support. Taking a proactive look at how you manage staffing will ensure you thrive in the coming months.

Wellbeing @ Work Hub

Global community helping individuals and organisations achieve excellence in workplace wellbeing & mental health


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