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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the way employers are thinking about employee retention. 

Unemployment in the U.S. rose higher during three months of the coronavirus pandemic than it did during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, according to the Pew Research Center. As a result, recruitment and retention efforts have changed considerably across the country. With remote work becoming the norm and volatile economic and social situations impacting employee mental health, employers are rethinking how to promote a positive workplace culture and both attract and retain quality employees. 

For example, LinkedIn data found that 96 percent of talent professionals are naming employee experience as a fundamental focus of recruiting efforts. Companies like Dell and American Express are tweaking their interview strategies to ensure they find candidates who are the best fit for remote work. Other companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, are changing their policies to allow employees greater flexibility and more opportunities to work from home, even as social distancing regulations begin to relax across the country. 

With this renewed attention on the employee experience and the use of flexible work hours and location as retention strategies, companies can attract high quality employees and help them feel supported through these unprecedented times. 

Other COVID-friendly retention strategies have included setting up online mentorship programs, holding virtual teambuilding events and employee mixers, and offering employee perks or discounts. 

Employees have also changed their standards and priorities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies have found that, after a year of working from home, many employees are favoring positions that will continue to give them increased freedom and flexibility even as COVID cases decrease and the world begins to return to normal. 

As more workplaces transition to virtual environments and more employees expect a high level of flexibility in their schedules, employers will need to pivot and adapt their retention strategies to meet emerging demands. 

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