Economic and social crisis have historically shifted the way employers and employees consider the workplace and their place in it.   What has made the pandemic different from those historical events?   Perhaps it is that 2020 taught the entire world to step back and look at what matters most in our individual lives – never to take tomorrow for granted.    What did this mean to employees?  For many baby-boomers forced into early retirement it meant they found something new/different and perhaps won’t be returning to their pre-pandemic roles leaving large gaps in the workforce. For Gen Y&Z employees, it meant they proved they can be productive from their home environments for over 15 months – so why demand a return to office?

As the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, employers must face the reality of the shifted workplace and shifted mindset of their workforce.  How best can they embrace what is most valued by their employees to retain high performers and attract new high-level talent?  First and foremost, employers must realize that the pandemic and emergence from it has made this a candidate’s market.  The Wall Street Journal’s June 13, 2021, article “How to Quit Your Job Gracefully” noted the Great Resignation is upon us and cited that in the latest Microsoft’s Work Trend Index survey that over 40% of the respondents said they were considering leaving their current employer in the upcoming year.

So how can employers retain/attract top talent?   A recent Forbes article, “Re-imagining the Workforce Post COVID” pointed to four critical themes which included (1) Employing Empathy; (2) Looking at Talent Beyond the Borders; (3) Understanding that One Size Doesn’t Fit All – Flexibility is Key and (4) Simplify Structure to Keep Communication Open and Transparent.

Attracting and retaining top talent will continue for most to be a struggle well into 2022, but those companies that embrace the lessons the pandemic taught both employees and employers, will most likely fair far better than those that revert 100% back to their pre-pandemic environments.


Written By Michele Strain