Employee Leave and Retention During Pandemic

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Executive Summary

In the context of pandemic conditions, the working field has incurred significant changes. These new tendencies cause a significant number of doubts and anxieties among employees, which lead to mental health deterioration and high turnover. Consequently, human resource managers are required to propose effective solutions to address challenges associated with employee leave and retention. In order to make sufficient proposals, comprehensive research of relevant studies was conducted.

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On this basis, it is possible to present a range of recommendations. The first one implies the requirement to promote worker wellness priority and supplying all the conditions for performing their duties with health risks. The second one includes encouraging personnel to communicate within a collective to feel their significance in work and avoid loneliness. In addition, it is advisable to receive feedback from staff members regularly. Another measure involves adherence to corporate culture and its adjustment to the current needs of employees. A significant benefit could be sticking to a flexible schedule, as this perk is highly appreciated by personnel. The last recommendation is to organize team-building activities, following all the safety measures. Thus, the mentioned guidelines are effective for overcoming hardships with employee leave and retention.

Introduction

In the context of present-day developments, people of any profession perceive the negative consequence of pandemic circumstances on their working environment. In addition, they cause a significant number of worries and anxieties. People are feared by the uncertainty of their future careers and struggle because they can do little to contribute to the solution. Another important aspect implies actual or expected income reduction due to the likelihood of communicating the coronavirus inflection. These factors affect human resource practices considerably, and pressing concerns on employee leave, and retention exist. Human resource managers are required to adjust to new working conditions and provide staff members with essential support and help. The necessity to implement new approaches to human resource practices in business is evident in the modern world. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to conduct research on employee leave and retention during the pandemic and offer the most effective solutions on this basis.

Methodology

Analyzing the issue of employment leave and retention during the pandemic, it is essential to collect the recent studies, which are aimed to cover the changes and challenges of human resource (HR) practice in these circumstances. First of all, it is vital to understand the specifics of HR aims in this period, as well as the pressing concerns in this field. Therefore, the study presented by Al Mala (2020), “How COVID-19 Changes the HRM Practices”, appears to be highly insightful. It is intended to shed light on the relevant issues concerning employment and working conditions, which should be urgently addressed.

In addition, attention should be paid to the changes in employment leave, especially the sick option, as the policy in this regard had to be altered. Having a significant influence on minimizing turnover among staff members, it is crucial to be taken into consideration. Consequently, “Social Inequities Highlighted by the Prolonged Pandemic: Expanding Sick Leave,” written by Rauhaus & Johnson (2021), is informative on this issue. It contributes to presenting a complete picture of the current HR practice challenges in the paper.

In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a close connection between employees’ well-being and their retention. In general, it may be stated that maintaining the well-being of staff members presents the major objective for all HR practices during the COVID-19 outbreak. For this reason, a range of studies on this topic was applied for conducting an in-depth analysis of the situation and finding appropriate solutions. For instance, in the article “Employee Adjustment and Well-Being in the Era of COVID-19: Implications for Human Resource Management”, Carnevale & Hatak (2020) present ways to adjust to the new reality and providing employees’ safety. Another study, “The Role of Human Resource Management towards Employees Retention during COVID-19 Pandemic in Medical Supplies Sector – Egypt”, published by Elsafty & Ragheb (2020), is also aimed to discuss this question. Furthermore, Malinen, Wong, & Naswall (2020) share some approaches to solving these issues in the study Effective Workplace Strategies to Support Employee Well-being during a Pandemic. A range of perspectives on the problems allows addressing this challenge, covering all the important details.

Thus, the chosen sources appear to be helpful for evaluating the current situation, outline specific problems associated with employment leave and retention and provide some clues to sufficient solutions. Moreover, the fact that studies are published in business and HR journals allows presenting a comprehensive picture of the current problems in this sphere. On such a basis, it is possible to propose the most effective measures.

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Analysis

The researches mentioned earlier contributed to estimating the current problems in HR practices, which are prompted by coronavirus pandemic circumstances. First of all, all the authors agree on the necessity to help employees maintain their well-being. Al Mala (2020) highlights: “employees need to be supported more than ever especially with the uncertain future and the high possibility of losing jobs or salary deduction” (para. 1). In his research, he mentions the following most widely spread problems encountered by the staff of different enterprises: “increasing unemployment rate, the salary deduction, the psychological impact of COVID-19 on employees”. Other ordeals were following social distance, coping with remote work, and finding solutions to tensions between employees.

People are feared by the likelihood of losing their job and uncertainty of their future. This aspect especially regards employees whose work is not essential during the pandemic, such as waiters, promoters, offline sellers, guards, and other jobs, which are no in demand during the pandemic. However, personnel, who have more responsibility and, therefore, influence at the workplace, for instance, managers, especially of large departments and offices, were less threatened. In addition, the possibility of communicating the coronavirus infection may cause a significant number of worries. In the circumstances of the volatility of financial state and occupation, people are anxious due to their incomes (Rauhaus & Johnson, 2021). For this reason, the United States government made efforts to supply essential federal responses. It should be highlighted that the previous policy in this regard was not effective during the COVID-19 outbreak (Rauhaus & Johnson, 2021). It has introduced the emergence of paid sick leave, which provides more flexibility in using this possibility and receiving sufficient sums of money, addressing social and economic inequalities.

As a result, workers tend to have psychological disorders and anxieties. They are feared that their current workplaces may become obsolete in the circumstances of distant and online activity (Al Mala, 2020). Furthermore, the likelihood that they would not receive their salary and be made redundant causes some worries (Al Mala, 2020). For this reason, during the coronavirus pandemic, the mental health of employees deteriorated.

Another important aspect in this regard is maintaining employee retention despite all the challenges created by new working conditions in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. Malinen et al. (2020) claim: “workplaces have a major influence on people’s quality of life, and have the ability to impact employee well-being” (para. 1). Therefore, it can be concluded that business managers and owners should not underestimate their contribution to maintaining a positive spirit among staff members, improving retention. Elsafty & Ragheb (2020) mention that the theories of motivation are highly likely to have a considerable impact on this criterion. Elsafty & Ragheb (2020) highlight that HR managers should do their best to provide satisfaction for their personnel. This thesis is also supported by Carnevale & Hatak (2020), and they prove the necessity to help employees to overcome this crisis. Talented and competent workers are essential for business flourishing, and HR managers should take this fact into consideration.

A significant step towards the solution of the problem outlined above implied sick leave expansion. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, this option was not accessible. The leave was possible due to religious holidays, in some cases, maternity, bereavement, and casual reasons (Rauhaus & Johnson, 2021). Sick leaves were applied only in case of serious illnesses, though today, due to the quick spreading of infection, it has become easier to receive it.

Recommendations

On the basis of the analysis of the current situation and conducted research, it is possible to propose the most effective solutions for maintaining retention during the pandemic. The first advice implies the necessity to make employee wellness a priority in the working environment. It is apparent that staff members are highly likely not to stay at a workplace whether they perceive threats to their health state. On the contrary, they will definitely choose the employer who cares for their safety in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. It is possible to pursue this aim by promoting preventative guidelines, such as wearing and supplying masks, regulating social distancing, and limiting capacity.

It is also advisable to adhere to expended employee leave, which has been described above. This measure should equally be applied to essential and non-essential workers in order to supply their financial security. Another measure includes providing healthcare insurance, which covers mental health problems as well. The last guideline regards allowing workers to receive weekends in case they need some time to recharge. Following these recommendations, it is possible to prioritize the health condition of their personnel and contribute to avoiding high turnover.

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The second solution is to encourage communication despite restrictions of distant working conditions. A significant number of workers have to cope with all the hardships of this environment for the first time, and they may encounter ordeals. It is evident that people lack in-person communication, and they need to share their emotions and experience. Employees need to feel that they are a part of a collective, and they may count on support. Consequently, in order to address this demand, it is recommended to organize all-hands meetings on a constant basis. However, it is vital to follow all the preventative measures. In addition, it is possible to organize manager check-ins at a precise period. These guidelines may fulfill the employees’ need for communication within the collective.

The third recommendation stimulates HR managers to listen to staff members, namely receiving feedback from workers in the format of private conversations and different surveys. It is apparent that employers cannot notice all the weaknesses and perceive all the needs of their personnel. In this context, it is crucial to ask staff members about problems they have to face in the working environment. This includes professional relationships in the collective, well-being, and mental state. Consequently, employers would be capable of indicating problems in an enterprise before employees leave and prevent this problem to some extent.

Another solution for maintaining retention is adherence to a particular business’ culture and updating it in accordance with modern reality. Every organization has its own environment and values, and it is highly likely that this aspect appears to be crucial for making a decision to stay at a workplace. However, the pandemic circumstances may prompt staff members to pay attention to other important aspects of their work. Therefore, it is essential to take these changes into consideration.

A sufficient proposal could be incorporating flexible schedules in an enterprise. In the context of present-day developments, people appreciate the freedom to choose the most convenient time for performing their working duties. This possibility is among the perks, which are highly appreciated among workers, and a number of candidates for workplaces seek this type of timetable. In addition, in pandemic circumstances, people are not required to spend long hours reaching their offices. Workers are likely to use this as a possibility to work additionally and increase their income. Moreover, it should be taken into consideration that during the COVID-19 outbreak, schools and kindergartens are closed, and adults have to spend additional time fulfilling their caregiving responsibilities. Another benefit of this approach implies the fact that it does not require significant expenditures. Therefore, staff members may appreciate the flexibility, which may prevent high turnover.

The last guideline involves team-building activities, which should be conducted on a regular basis. This method is expected to promote collaboration, improve understanding in the collective, and increase job satisfaction. In general, people appreciate trustful and warm relationships with their colleagues, and this may be helpful in maintaining employee retention. However, in the context of the pandemic, it is essential to find an alternative to habitual team-building options. It is possible to conduct a contest among personnel members online, which may be devoted to a particular project. This option will be useful for establishing perfect working relationships.

Conclusion

In the context of present-day developments, HR practices should be adjusted to the pandemic circumstances. In this regard, the necessity to support and help employees in this crisis, as there are significant changes associated with leave and retention. HR managers are required to elaborate on sufficient solutions to address these problems. After conducting in-depth research on this topic, it is possible to propose a range of measures, which are expected to improve the situation.

It is recommended to make workers’ health state a priority and follow all the safety requirements. Another approach implies encouraging communication within the collective using modern technologies and following all the preventative measures. Receiving feedback from workers may also be effective for overcoming high turnover, as it is possible to indicate the problem before becoming significant. In addition, it is advisable to adhere to corporate culture and adjust it to the current needs of staff members. Flexibility in constructing a working schedule is also considered to be beneficial in the context of pandemic conditions. The last recommendation includes conduction team-building activities, following all the safety guidelines. The outlines measures appear to be helpful for addressing the challenges of employee leave and retention.

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References

Al Mala, W. (2020). How COVID-19 changes the HRM practices (adapting one HR strategy may not fit to all). Horizons University. Web.

Carnevale, J. B., & Hatak, I. (2020). Employee adjustment and well-being in the era of COVID-19: Implications for human resource management. Journal of Business Research, 116, 183-187. Web.

Elsafty, A., & Ragheb, M. (2020). The role of human resource management towards employees retention during COVID-19 pandemic in medical supplies sector – Egypt. Business and Management Studies 6(2), 50-59. Web.

Malinen, S., Wong, J. H. K., & Naswall, K. (2020). Effective workplace strategies to support employee well-being during a pandemic. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 45(2), 17-32. Web.

Rauhaus, B. M., & Johnson, A. F. (2021). Social inequities highlighted by the prolonged pandemic: Expanding sick leave. Journal of Public and Non-Profit Affiars, 7(1), 156-163. Web.

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BusinessEssay. (2022, July 16). Employee Leave and Retention During Pandemic. Retrieved from https://business-essay.com/employee-leave-and-retention-during-pandemic/

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BusinessEssay. 2022. "Employee Leave and Retention During Pandemic." July 16, 2022. https://business-essay.com/employee-leave-and-retention-during-pandemic/.

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BusinessEssay. "Employee Leave and Retention During Pandemic." July 16, 2022. https://business-essay.com/employee-leave-and-retention-during-pandemic/.