How to retain talent through uncertain times

Never has there been more of a need to refine retention strategies to ensure that an increasingly remote workforce continues to feel valued and appreciated whilst the external environment is uncertain.

Here are some top tips to help you retain top talent during uncertain times.

Communicate: It’s good to talk! This adage applies particularly when employees feel concerned or the world around them is not as it should be. It is even more pressing when professionals are remotely dispersed. Slack, Microsoft Teams, Discord, Google Hangouts or good old fashioned phone calls are ways to encourage dialogue when face to face contact is not possible. Frequency plays a part in creating regular touch points as well as encouraging a culture where it is ok to ‘not be ok’ and speak out.

Promote employee wellbeing:  Employers must lead from the front and put wellbeing centre stage. Employees that feel they are being looked after as a whole are more likely to stick with their employer. Creating a culture in which taking time out for exercise, meditation, counselling or mentoring is valued, is a way of signalling that employees’ mental and physical health is as important as the work they produce.

Don’t ignore development opportunities: Professionals continue to want to nurture their careers and look for ways to develop themselves via CPD, even during bouts of remote working. It’s important that this important aspect of work is not overlooked and employers find creative ways to offer development initiatives with remote workers. Online masterclasses, training workshops and e-networking exist to replicate face-to-face channels when this is not possible.

Relax attendance policies: Many families and carers have juggled conflicting priorities either with children at home, elderly parents or other dependants during the pandemic. It’s important that employers support these changing times and empathise with their employees’ responsibilities. Allowing flexible working hours can help alleviate the stresses of presenteeism and importantly forge loyalty from key talent.

Keep an eye on the competition: Check in with what the competitors are offering. Assess reward benchmarks and HR practices from other firms within the sector. Falling behind the offerings of others may see a mass exodus and it’s important to keep hold of stellar talent during uncertain times. Small gestures can go a long way – a simple thank you, public acknowledgement of good work or a virtual high-five creates bonds and fosters positive work relations.

Prepare for adversity: Employees want security and preparing for ongoing uncertainty and further disruption is an important part of keeping employees onboard and aligned with the cause. Involving staff in protecting the business and offering opportunities for innovation and creativity can boost the bottom line and ringfence income streams, as well as making employees feel valued and part of things.

Using a combination of these strategies will ensure that staff feel valued, committed and importantly buy-in to a long-term retention plan.

Need advice or help building your employer brand? Get in touch with Wonderful Workplaces on [email protected] 


Annie Hayes is a specialist HR, skills, careers and L&D writer with 19 years experience in the sector. 

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