Employee turnover likely to remain top-of-mind at many companies in the immediate future. A survey of 572 HR leaders this summer by Gartner found that 91 percent of them are increasingly concerned about the issue. An additional survey of more than 1,000 job seekers found that nearly half of applicants are considering at least two job offers simultaneously.

“As the economy continues to recover from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are facing a very different—and extremely competitive—job market than in years past,” says Jamie Kohn, research director in the Gartner HR practice. “While many are experiencing a record number of open roles, companies are also trying to mitigate pent-up employee turnover.”

To remain competitive, Gartner recommends employers align flexibility to employee and work needs. Employers should consider the different forms of flexibility—daily work hours, work location or the length of the workweek—they can offer to retain and attract top talent.

“Flexibility is no longer a perk to offer employees, it is now the expectation,” says Kohn. “Organizations that provide employees with greater choice will win the war for talent.”

HR can help business leaders determine flexibility options based on the specific context of their work. Gartner research shows that performance improves when employees are given flexibility over where, when and how much they work.

To expand employees’ growth opportunities, Gartner also encourages HR leaders to help managers conceptualize the potential career paths of their direct reports generally—not just specific next steps as this approach allows leaders to go beyond their employees’ current skill sets and help guide them based on personal interests, business growth opportunities and experiences.

Managers should also encourage direct reports to have career conversations with neutral mentors and coaches who can help them think creatively about the development opportunities available to them within their organization and how to approach them.

In a competitive labor market, organizations must stop thinking about replacing specific employees and instead consider what skills the larger organization needs to succeed in the future. To start, Gartner recommends that HR leaders identify long-term talent gaps at the organizational level and partner with business leaders to acquire the needed critical skills. This includes finding skills outside traditional career paths, both inside and outside the organization.

“Organizations often overlook the potential within their own organization,” adds Kohn. “Improving internal mobility can help employers find employees with adjacent skills, boost diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and tap into nontraditional talent pools that are outside customary recruiting hot spots.”