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Retaining Your Hard-Won Talent

This article appeared in the May 2021 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

For employees that have become comfortable working from home on a full-time or part-time basis, the return to the office may cause anxiety and disruption. As important as onboarding is to welcome new hires to your organization, reboarding will be crucial to keep from losing your “hard-won” talent as they transition back to in-person work.

Here are three tips to retain talent you can implement immediately.

Tip #1: Plan for the People-Side

Returning to the office will be jarring for many. Childcare and schooling issues are still a challenge, returning to a commute may be stressful, and the overall uncertainty with the pandemic still creates anxiety. Developing a plan to help manage your employees’ stress will help you retain them.

What you can do:

  • “Reboard” your employees. Create a program to welcome your employees back to the office, even if some have been on-site already. This is also an opportunity to have in-person onboarding for new employees hired over the past 12-plus months.
  • Develop temporary “pandemic policies” to address current challenges. Create fair and equitable policies to help reduce stress and smooth the transition to the office.
  • Set clear expectations and make the goal of “no surprises” a top priority for management.
Webinar: Webinar: Retaining Your Hard-Won Talent

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 • 8:30 a.m.
Learn more and register online.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much in our personal and professional lives, not the least of which are the reasons your employees may choose to stay or leave. With recruiting harder than ever, Sigred Solutions and MMA will help make sure you’re retaining your hard-won talent by helping them navigate the ever-changing workplace, communicating expectations and work plans, and training your frontline leaders to support retention.

Part 2 of The Profitable Talent Lifecycle webinar series. Check out Part 1, available on-demand, and watch for details to be released soon for the final two parts.

Tip #2: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Now is the time to review and refocus your communication plan. Returning to the office will create a lot of uncertainty. Open communication will help employees feel more comfortable with the transition.

What you can do:

  • Communicate and re-communicate the plan. Openly share what is known and fixed with the transition as well as what is uncertain or may change.
  • Make sure employees know that they are a part of the future, and how their teams are critical to success.
  • Highlight employees and teams from all areas of the company to celebrate how people have exceeded expectations (both before and during the return to the office).
Tip #3: Train Your Managers

Managers had to quickly adapt as companies shifted to work from home. The return to the office — either full-time or hybrid — will require another change. Many managers will require training on how to effectively and empathetically manage teams that are a mix of on-site and remote employees, with much more complex lives.

Management training will support greater employee and team effectiveness and help ensure you keep your “hard-won” talent.

What you can do:

  • Allow your managers to be vulnerable. Many of them are facing the same challenges as their teams.
  • Train managers to focus on people, process and results. Just focusing on results can leave employees feeling frustrated and disengaged.
  • Include your managers in your communication strategy and provide them with information to share with their teams on a regular basis.
  • Provide managers with teambuilding tools and approaches to effectively lead hybrid teams.

We know that 2021 will continue to have challenges for both employers and employees. Retaining your best employees and helping them make the transition back to the office will require new skills and approaches. Following the tips above, and expecting some trial and error, will be necessary to find the right balance between employer and employee needs.


Premium Associate MemberSigred Solutions is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since November 2020. Visit online: sigredsolutions.com.

About the Author

Kristi SteppKristi Stepp is a partner with Sigred Solutions, a management recruiting and leadership advisory firm. She may be reached at 248-434-7058 or kristi.stepp@sigredsolutions.com.

This article appeared in the May 2021 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

For employees that have become comfortable working from home on a full-time or part-time basis, the return to the office may cause anxiety and disruption. As important as onboarding is to welcome new hires to your organization, reboarding will be crucial to keep from losing your “hard-won” talent as they transition back to in-person work.

Here are three tips to retain talent you can implement immediately.

Tip #1: Plan for the People-Side

Returning to the office will be jarring for many. Childcare and schooling issues are still a challenge, returning to a commute may be stressful, and the overall uncertainty with the pandemic still creates anxiety. Developing a plan to help manage your employees’ stress will help you retain them.

What you can do:

  • “Reboard” your employees. Create a program to welcome your employees back to the office, even if some have been on-site already. This is also an opportunity to have in-person onboarding for new employees hired over the past 12-plus months.
  • Develop temporary “pandemic policies” to address current challenges. Create fair and equitable policies to help reduce stress and smooth the transition to the office.
  • Set clear expectations and make the goal of “no surprises” a top priority for management.
Webinar: Webinar: Retaining Your Hard-Won Talent

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 • 8:30 a.m.
Learn more and register online.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much in our personal and professional lives, not the least of which are the reasons your employees may choose to stay or leave. With recruiting harder than ever, Sigred Solutions and MMA will help make sure you’re retaining your hard-won talent by helping them navigate the ever-changing workplace, communicating expectations and work plans, and training your frontline leaders to support retention.

Part 2 of The Profitable Talent Lifecycle webinar series. Check out Part 1, available on-demand, and watch for details to be released soon for the final two parts.

Tip #2: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Now is the time to review and refocus your communication plan. Returning to the office will create a lot of uncertainty. Open communication will help employees feel more comfortable with the transition.

What you can do:

  • Communicate and re-communicate the plan. Openly share what is known and fixed with the transition as well as what is uncertain or may change.
  • Make sure employees know that they are a part of the future, and how their teams are critical to success.
  • Highlight employees and teams from all areas of the company to celebrate how people have exceeded expectations (both before and during the return to the office).
Tip #3: Train Your Managers

Managers had to quickly adapt as companies shifted to work from home. The return to the office — either full-time or hybrid — will require another change. Many managers will require training on how to effectively and empathetically manage teams that are a mix of on-site and remote employees, with much more complex lives.

Management training will support greater employee and team effectiveness and help ensure you keep your “hard-won” talent.

What you can do:

  • Allow your managers to be vulnerable. Many of them are facing the same challenges as their teams.
  • Train managers to focus on people, process and results. Just focusing on results can leave employees feeling frustrated and disengaged.
  • Include your managers in your communication strategy and provide them with information to share with their teams on a regular basis.
  • Provide managers with teambuilding tools and approaches to effectively lead hybrid teams.

We know that 2021 will continue to have challenges for both employers and employees. Retaining your best employees and helping them make the transition back to the office will require new skills and approaches. Following the tips above, and expecting some trial and error, will be necessary to find the right balance between employer and employee needs.


Premium Associate MemberSigred Solutions is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since November 2020. Visit online: sigredsolutions.com.

About the Author

Kristi SteppKristi Stepp is a partner with Sigred Solutions, a management recruiting and leadership advisory firm. She may be reached at 248-434-7058 or kristi.stepp@sigredsolutions.com.