Health crisis or not, no employer wants to pay for a turnover. However, simple precautions can prevent this inconvenience.
Illness, burnout, early retirement, career re-orientation: there are many reasons for absence, whether short or long, sometimes leaving the employer powerless.
Added to this picture is the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, which accentuates the abyss created by the recent labour shortage.
For Mélanie Turcot, Director of Operations at Auto-jobs, the challenge now is to try to retain employees, some of whom may be inclined to move to other sectors of activity.
Prevent or cure?
“To retain their staff and attract a succession capable of perpetuating the company’s skills and values, dealerships must innovate and rethink their policies, both in terms of recruitment and human resources management.”
Certainly, in the prevailing health context, dealers must first ensure a safe working environment for their employees by respecting the hygiene measures recommended by the Public Health Department.
Turcot, who was asked to look into the matter in greater depth, adds to the employer’s involvement.
“The key words to fostering a comforting and stimulating work climate are also good communication, listening to needs, and recognizing the skills and achievements of workers. Because without them, the company simply wouldn’t exist!”
On the professional level, while physical illness is unlikely to be predictable, psychological discomfort can be stopped before it even dawns on the horizon, says Yanick Jomphe, President of Consultants Jomphe.
“To avoid losing employees due to anxiety or stress, coaching is essential. To do so, dealers will have to reinvent themselves and, above all, motivate their staff.”
At first glance, some would say that motivation is transmitted orally, with patting on the back and encouragement. But, according to Jomphe, there is more to hope for in the machine embodied by the staff.
“You have to pamper your employees, involve them, listen to them, follow them, offer them support, training and the tools they need to do their jobs well.”
Many announce their departure well in advance. Others may use the current economic downturn as a pretext to lay down their arms for good. In any case, any employer who plans can fill the gaps left by retirement. According to Yanick Jomphe, the main asset in coping with them lies in the training of existing staff.
“For any employee who leaves, you must have a Plan B, a resource person with the same knowledge. Regardless of the nature of the position, all areas of expertise must be shared and management should be able to adequately replace this person.
“Anticipating these departures makes it possible to plan future retirements to pass the torch to the next one.”
Mélanie Turcot agrees. First of all, she reminds us that technological tools, more and more numerous, contribute to keeping the knowledge and skills acquired within the company, and then she suggests an efficient method of approach:
“By identifying, for example, the company’s key positions, associated with a list of skills, and by knowing the aspirations and potential of employees, it is possible to train them internally to ensure a solid succession on the technical and human levels through mentoring.”
How are you?
“Because psychological health in the workplace remains the number one issue in companies today, the feeling of insecurity that employees may experience should not be taken lightly.”
A wise observation was made by Katy Langlais, Director, Human Resources Consulting at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.
According to her, although the dealership has implemented all the health measures recommended by CNESST, the first action to take would be to ask each employee the simple question “how are you? “as a sign of empathy.
“It is also suggested that they be regularly consulted on the health measures adopted and consider suggestions for changes that could be made.”
In addition to the impact on psychological health, the lack of variety in posture during long hours spent working from home in front of the screen could lead to musculoskeletal disorders. A red flag for employers, warns Langlais.
“Employees can be offered paramedical services, rotations in work schedules and suggestions to move around as part of their duties.”
Finally, in terms of succession planning, an excellent strategic planning tool proposed by our consultant consists of carrying out an assessment of the current and projected workforce based on the company’s business plan for approximately three years and reviewing it each year.
“Through this exercise, it is necessary to evaluate the criticality of the occupation of the various positions, the risks involved in leaving each one and the future needs, such as the creation of a new position or the modification of required knowledge.”
To find out if they will need to hire an employee to fill a gap in a position or specialty, employers will first draw up a colourful organizational chart of the company.
“Red will indicate positions where there is no succession plan in the event of a departure, yellow will indicate a succession identified but not yet ready, and green will indicate one or two replacements ready to fill these positions.
Then, simply identify potential successors, validate their skills and develop a career development plan.”
Knowing how to stand out
Katy Langlais concluded by reminding us that the pandemic has changed the expectations of employees, who not only invest in their work but also demand quality time for a healthier and more balanced life.
If they stay on the job out of taste and not out of obligation, it is because of the special conditions that make the company more attractive and interesting. The employer will therefore revisit internal management practices towards more innovative and creative models.