HR Insights
Quick Read
February 1, 2022

Leaders should prioritize improving employee wellness as a retention strategy

Organizations can’t execute on their strategic goals if they don’t have the right people in place to do the work. Supporting mental health and wellness has become one of many crucial retention strategies for employees.

Table of Contents

Many leaders underestimate how many of their workers have one foot out the door. Ceridian’s 2022 Pulse of Talent survey of more than 6,800 workers from around the globe revealed that 61% of respondents are a flight risk, with 38% open to the right opportunity and 23% actively looking. With findings like this, organizations need to focus on better employee retention in 2022.

While high salaries may seem like a silver bullet for retention, winning over top talent requires more than competitive pay in a hot job market. Organizations must re-evaluate their total value proposition to reduce turnover and improve employee wellbeing. It’s time to develop new retention strategies for employees.  

Burnout culture as a global crisis

Quitting your job may be the most prominent employment trend today, but The Great Resignation seen in some countries may be a symptom of a larger crisis. Eighty-one percent of Pulse of Talent respondents report that they have experienced burnout during the pandemic, with 35% experiencing serious or extreme burnout symptoms.

The findings also reveal that many of the factors causing this burnout are in the employer’s control, including increased workload (46%), pressure to meet targets/deadlines (30%), and working too many hours (28%). 

How burnout impacts business continuity

Naturally, employee burnout has a significant impact on organizations and their ability to staff appropriately. Business continuity has a major problem, from large-scale operations muddling through supply chain issues or essential services not able to open from a lack of staff. As an example, the global nursing shortage has even impacted countries’ abilitiy to keep hospitals open.

Employees are struggling to continue working as if it were business as usual. For instance, 26% of Pulse of Talent respondents who reported burnout symptoms said they have taken or are planning to take sick leave or a leave of absence. Twenty-five percent are requesting accommodations from their managers and 21% are changing jobs. Organizations need to develop a clear strategy for how they plan to retain their top performers so they can maintain operations through workforce disruptions.

How can you improve employee retention through employee wellness?

Everyone has different needs and ways of addressing their burnout. Ceridian’s global Pulse of Talent survey asked what employees would like their organizations to do to support mental health and wellness. The top three answers were mental health days, flexible scheduling and workloads, and additional benefits coverage.

Here are some steps leaders can take to improve employee wellness and subsequent retention rates.

Make space for mental health days

Demonstrate your commitment to improving employee wellness with mental health days. LinkedIn held a companywide RestUp! week to allow employees to recharge. The company also provides burnout training for managers. This type of supportive company culture benefits both your employees and your corporate brand.

It isn’t always necessary for employees to need to call in sick to focus on stress relief. Instead, try allotting for no-meeting days so employees have a break from video calls or in-person meetings. For shift workers, consider how you can reduce the number of consecutive shifts an employee works to ensure they have sufficient breaks from work.  

Offer a variety of benefits

It may be time to re-evaluate your benefits package. Paid time off can be an important part of your employee value proposition that helps improve work-life balance. Take the time to examine whether your current PTO offerings suit the needs and wants of your employees.

Beyond PTO, review what your employee assistance program (EAP) includes or add one to your benefits lineup if you don’t have an EAP already. Including mental health coverage as part of your benefits package, in addition to health and dental, can also help employees manage stress.

Give employees more flexibility

The shift to remote work has dramatically altered work-life balance for workers who are able to work from home. For some, without the commute to and from an outside office location, it can feel like they’re living at work 24/7. Encourage taking breaks to disconnect and establish set online hours with a consistent time to sign off.  

Half of the workforce doesn’t have the option to do their job remotely. Give these workers a sense of autonomy and control over when they work with scheduling flexibility. Irregular schedules can make it hard to plan childcare, commute, or feel in control of their own work-life balance. Ask workers when they would like to work and provide fair notice of these schedules.

Get to the root of the problem

How are you measuring your people analytics? Leaders should become more aware of their flight risks before working on a tailored retention strategy for their talent pool.

Employee turnover can be difficult to track, as certain industries have historically higher rates. Setting turnover and retention benchmarks for your own organization can help leaders keep track of who is leaving, where they go, and more information about the type of change they wanted.

Employee mental health can have a significant and prolonged impact on your organization. Combating burnout will be one of your most effective retention strategies for employees who are silently struggling. Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent 2022 survey found that winning top talent goes beyond pay and encompasses a more complete employee experience. 

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