The COVID hangover

No amount of hamburgers, vitamin B or raw eggs will fix this hangover.

I’ve noticed tolerance levels aren’t what they used to be. Customers don’t seem to be saying ‘thank you’ as much as they did, workers seem to lack that sparkle in their eyes and the lady in the café downstairs seems grumpier than normal.

What’s going on? We really have nothing to complain about – we are the lucky country after all. We are walking around like COVID doesn’t exist, only occasionally reminded of the pandemic by the white noise from our politicians trying to get us vaccinated by the end of the year – or is that by the end of next year?

Research by IMPACT’s client Gartner has found the lasting effects of COVID-19 are challenging the wellbeing of employees, notably due to the emotional and/or physical exhaustion from work that causes burnout.

In its recent Global Talent Monitor report, Gartner has found that amid positive signs of economic recovery in this country, 24 per cent of Australian employees are actively seeking other employment – burned out workers are ready for change.

The report also reveals exhausted workers are less engaged with those willing to go ‘above and beyond’ for their employer falling to 16 per cent in Australia, below the global average of 16.5 per cent. Wait! What?

Vice president in the Gartner HR practice, Aaron McEwan, says for many workers 2020 was incredibly tough.

“As Australians observe positive indicators for economic recovery, many have been waiting for recognition for their efforts or a change of pace from their employer that simply has not materialised.”

It would seem after a challenging year, loyalty from workers has run out. So what to do?

According to Gartner, work-life balance, manager quality and respect are now ranked as the top three reasons workers cite when leaving an organization. Future career opportunities and compensation both dropped four places on the list of attrition drivers and now sit at six and 10, respectively.

Employers need to keep up with the needs of workers in a post-COVID environment or risk a decline in productivity or a possible mass staff exodus.

I leave you with these final words from Mr McEwan:

“Organisations must be quick to review their employee value proposition to ensure it’s in-line with what the post-COVID workforce is seeking. Taking away remote work options would be a risky move for employers, as many employees view it as a quasi-pay rise. Instead, offer ‘experiences’ at work, real flexibility and genuine time off to keep your best talent.”

Editor’s note: Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey that is made up of more than 40,000 employees in 40 countries, including 1,557 in Australia quartering 4Q20. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication.

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