​The changing relationship between the employer and employee and the addition of Covid-19

20 May 2020 By Falmouth Fairfax Lucy Cook

Talent retention is key for any successful business. We have seen time after time that supporting employees and enabling them to develop and progress is key to employees staying or leaving a company. Do people feel valued, appreciated, and integral to the future of a company or do they feel that the employer is indifferent about their position and future in the company?

The employer/ employee relationship has always been an important one and in the last few years we have seen a real change in understanding from employers in how important staff retention is, not only for the stability of a company but also from a cost and time consideration in having to replace team members if they leave. A shift in employees’ perspective has also occurred as to how they view their employment in the bigger picture of their lives. We now see people openly state that they want a decent work / life balance and they would rather be trusted to work efficiently rather than be judged on the time spent at their desk. We see people wanting to have more of a social life during the week rather than uniformly long days and a move, even pre-Covid 19, into an environment where there is some degree of flexible working- whether through amended hours or an ability to work from home.

The standard employment relationship has changed dramatically in the last few years not just with flexibility but also a need to work somewhere where people will feel valued, appreciated, and where they will be progressed and invested in. Communication and open dialogue have become essential which leads to the latest test for this employer/ employee relationship which is Covid-19. This has created an unprecedented (how many times have we heard that word in the last two months?!) situation where a huge amount of people are currently furloughed (as of May 10, 2020 approximately 7.5 million jobs) as well as a great deal of uncertainty generally surrounding people’s careers. So, the next differential that we will see in people’s perception of their employer and therefore of the longevity in that role, will be how they were treated during Covid-19’s lockdown and resulting uncertainty. Already we have had a number of calls from people whose roles are not deemed to be at risk and who have no reason to believe they will need to look for new roles yet they want to speak about this. Why? Because they do not feel they have been treated well by employers during this crisis. Whether it is poor communication, lack of reassurance or a feeling that they have been mistreated in some way, whatever the issue, clear communication and treating people properly and fairly seems to be something that is going to dictate this relationship post- lockdown. It must be incredibly hard being an employer right now and trying to work out how to navigate through this time but communication of planning and reasoning behind decisions is still vitally important.

There will, of course, also be the added complication of companies needing to change their teams to accommodate changing strategies in response to the virus but that is an article for another day. The point here is that there could be a potential fallout of employees by their choice after this period as well as the more commentated on decisions on employment by employers. When we speak to our clients we are advising them to continue the positive work of the last few years in having open, flexible and supportive relationships with their employees to ensure that when they are back at full operational capacity they have the best team in place, feeling valued and motivated. For those that have not done this, the risk is that there could be even more change and work involved before being able to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead. For those that have, there is the exciting prospect of the chance to recruit some great team members who might not have been open to a move post-Covid 19.

Whether you are a potential client or candidate and would like an initial chat about this or anything else, do get in touch with the Falmouth Fairfax team. We are happy to provide any help or advice that we can.