Written by: Deborah Wade
For better or for worse, Covid played a major role in redefining the employer/employee relationship. Employees across the spectrum found themselves re-evaluating their priorities both personally and professionally. For the first time in decades, employees were no longer just working for a paycheck or burning the oil at both ends in pursuing the next promotion and the corner office. Families, hobbies, job flexibility, and work-life balance took the spotlight and employees began to make new, and sometimes drastic, professional decisions to create and maintain the new-found priorities in their lives. Over the last several years as employees resigned en masse employers began issuing ultimatums for employees to return to physical workspaces, offering higher wages, and implementing new or more comprehensive benefits to retain and entice new talent. These efforts saw limited success as employees leveraged their newfound priorities to find new employers that would support them in maintaining a healthier work-life balance.
As employers work to retain employees and attract new talent, studies reflect that, while pay, benefits, and flexibility are still a high priority, professional growth leading to a career path has become tied into employee efforts to build and maintain a healthy work-life balance. A recent 1Pew Research survey uncovered that 63% of employees left employers due to “no opportunity for advancement”. According to a variety of studies, an employer will pay an average of $1,500 to replace an hourly worker, and replacing a salaried worker can move into the thousands of dollars. Affordable training and educational opportunities have become far more accessible than the traditional classroom environment. Quality online training has exploded since the advent of Covid and access to these programs shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. When searching for specific training via industry, job position, or certification, the options for allowing an employee to pursue professional growth are numerous.
Rather than take the negative viewpoint of this revolution in new employee priorities, employers can view these challenges as opportunities for business growth and long-term employee retention. When the survey information had been parsed out and evaluated, the key takeaway was that employees want ongoing purpose in their lives which, when accomplished, becomes a win-win for both employer and employee.
Employees in almost any position can benefit from training for their position from improving customer service skills, developing computer and software skills, entry-level management training, job-specific training, and personal skills development – just to name a few.
Employers will benefit as their employees will project more confidence and skill in dealing with customers, clients, and their co-workers. The business reputation will positively align with the quality and skill of the people employed. Historically employees who are given the ability to develop their skills and grow in their workplace are more content and committed to their employer and their business goals.
1Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (3/9/2022)