“I think generally people think 2021 will be a better year financially and hopefully the workforce will get back. As we tell clients, I think pay is really important, but I think at the moment, the fatigue and stress of the employee workforce is at least as important,” says Alan Johnson, managing partner at Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting firm focused on the financial services industry. “We need to pay people fairly and based on their contribution, but you need to be increasingly on the lookout for their mental health.”

According to Johnson, for example, some boards have deliberated over mandating vacation time in 2021 because they noticed employees were leaving it untouched last year through the pandemic. “You need to manage your employees’ mental health, and I think that’s something that’s been neglected in the pandemic here.”

Johnson says he has also cautioned his clients that the pandemic is going to be a two-year phenomenon, rather than just one.

“We all hoped that when Jan. 1 came along it would be normal, but it’s not going to be normal.”

Agenda / March 8, 2021