Why top talent will leave your company after the Corona crisis

Pieter Neels - 5 min read

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The corona crisis has a far-reaching, unprecedented impact on the economy. Suddenly everyone has to work from home, freelancers lose jobs en masse, and entire sectors have to close their doors (look at the catering industry). However, those are only the direct consequences. Nakama warns against a negative effect that has not yet received a lot of attention, but which will nevertheless harm many companies in the long term. Namely: the loss of top talent.

Although the average Belgian does not like to change jobs, (according to a survey by Securex, less than six percent voluntarily left their job in 2018), it is nevertheless expected that many employees will leave their company out of dissatisfaction with the way in which their employer has handled the current corona crisis.

How come?


In 2018,
Randstad conducted a survey of 175,000 employees in more than 30 countries into the reasons why employees leave their company.

graph showing the reasons why people leave companies

Star employees can't perform

We seem to find a trend. Satisfaction with their salary, working conditions and the amount of recognition they receive is very important in keeping employees on board. And it's precisely in these categories that companies fully trapped under the pressure of the corona crisis, lose out on. On the one hand, by putting people on temporary unemployment. And on the other hand, in the absence of a financial scope, to postpone bonuses later or even not pay them at all. This is hugely frustrating for top employees who swear by that system and the life of overachieving.

It's specifically this group that Nakama is trying to warn. It may be a smaller amount of the workforce - about 1 in 5 white-collar workers receive a bonus, according to Acerta– but they usually generate the main chunk of income for many companies. A massive exodus is now threatening at many companies where star employees like this fill the ranks. Due to a drop in income and the lack of challenges and satisfaction, they will use this crisis to reflect and make the decision to leave the ship faster. Looking for new challenges and opportunities.

A longer recession if top talent leaves

Image of top talent leaving, which causes a longer recession

Retention - a policy that sets up a company to commit to employees in a sustainable manner- is not a top priority for many managers. Retention will now have to be paid in cash. Because the departure of top talent (who leave with all of their knowledge, skills and guts) extends the recession of the company. This is clearly demonstrated, for example, by the 2008 crisis. In a study by Deloitte, carried out in the aftermath, two-thirds of managers expressed fear of losing top talent. So the risk is real.

Advisor Dominique Dierckxsens

Dominique Dierckxsens, Flemish businessman & CEO of Batenborch, a reputable headhunting office, relayed the following to Nakama concerning the top talent problem:

"We are receiving a remarkable number of calls from disgruntled employees who indicate that they want to change organizations. This displeasure stems from a sense of mismanagement and lack of support. If essential talent leaves, it can put a company at risk. It is precisely these high potential people that a company needs in difficult times and even more after the dust settles. ”

But what if top talent leaves?

What happens then? How can a company replenish its workforce as quickly as possible? Knowing well that for many companies the budget for recruitment - through online applications, recruitment campaigns and advertisements - will be on the conservative side of things?

An inexpensive but efficient way to recruit externally are by employing employee referral programs, which is a company recruiting new employees through the networks of its own employees. The company encourages them to look at possible candidates in their own social circles.

Via this up-and-coming method, you can also reach people who are not even actively looking for a job. 88% of employers indicate that referrals are the best way to recruit quality employees. Referred candidates will remain in service and the time required to recruit a candidate is only 29 days.

Employers will see the results of a well developed referral recruitment program. A special recruitment campaign delivered 150 resumes to the interim management agency Batenborch in just two weeks!

Your referral company is not giving you good results? Start with checking out these
8 essential elements and get your Employee Value Proposition right.

Tips on how to keep your top talent

  • Compensation

    Compensation is often closely tied to performance. Make sure that you can keep your top talent performing by rewarding them adequately
  • Training & development

    Never stop investing in training & development programs. These are essential in order to give your top talent a perspective on the future
  • Employ a Referral Recruitment Program

    A strategic employee referral program helps in the wake of a crisis(efficient and cheap recruitment), but also during one. Actively involving employees in the sourcing process sends out an important signal. You show them that you trust them. So, prepare for the future, today.

Boss motivating top talent with rewards and training

Avoid an exodus of your star talent after the Corona crisis or solve it efficiently with the help of Nakama HR. Our software, combined with a personalized Referral Program will make sure that you can keep your communities closer together & involved in the recruiting process.

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Founder Pieter Neels

About the Author

Pieter Neels is the founder of Nakama HR. His goal: creating the perfect match between an employee and a company.