The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on employees’ lives, both at work and at home.
But by and large, employees have felt supported by their organizations, and therefore feel a sense of loyalty.
Research by recruitment tech company Bullhorn found that 41% of 2,290 workers across the world felt more loyal to their employer during the pandemic.
Bullhorn found that 37% of those who felt more loyal in the pandemic said they received an increase in financial support and 16% had more mental wellbeing support.
Of the 20% of those surveyed who felt less loyal to their employer since the pandemic began, 34% did not feel emotionally supported and 20% did not feel financially supported.
Also, the existence of workplace flexibility was a major indicator of employee loyalty. While 25% of those who felt more loyal had seen an increase in workplace flexibility, 11% of those who felt less loyal had been forced back into the office.
Loyalty isn’t guaranteed
Unfortunately, it looks like this loyalty is going to be hard to sustain in the long-term.
Bullhorn SVP of EMEA and APAC Andy Ingham noted: “The pandemic may have resulted in a temporary surge in employee loyalty because of concerns over financial and job security, but as the economy and jobs market gradually recover, so will employee confidence, and it will be easier for them to leave their jobs for another.”
The recruitment company’s survey found that 60% were either already looking for new jobs or were planning to do so in the next two years. 14% of those surveyed were already looking, while 30% were planning to look either in the next six months or the next year.
Therefore, Ingham calls on companies to be laser-focused on employee sentiment and constantly assess employee loyalty. It is evident that just because employees were loyal in the pandemic that you can guarantee they will continue to be in the future.
He notes that “when businesses do recognize [loyalty] in individuals, they should preserve it through by offering the right rewards and benefits, as well as developing a strong culture of wellbeing and recognition”.
Another trend to keep an eye on is the ‘Great Return’ where employees who have left in the ‘Great Resignation’ boomerang back to their old employer “out of loyalty”.
Therefore, organizations mustn’t write off ex-employees as traitors. Instead, Ingham called on employers to keep an eye on what their former workers are up to and lure them back to fill vacancies.
Could this save time, money, and effort in hiring brand new employees without knowledge of the organization and its culture?