Talent exodus meets productivity drought: The pandemic's consequences
for companies

Over the past year, many businesses have had to be in crisis mode. That focus on firefighting led to hardly any time for strategic HR work or to build an effective HR strategy. But, negligence comes at a cost.

We surveyed 2000 HR decision makers and 7,000 employees across Europe to find out more.

HR Study 2021

About the Study

‘Crisis mode’ has become commonplace for many businesses throughout Europe, over the course of the pandemic. While many had no choice, the lack of strategic HR work, or HR strategy at all, can lead to dire results.

In fact, employers have been judged on their people strategy throughout the pandemic, and many risk paying the price for their actions later. Businesses that haven’t prioritized their people during the pandemic could be sleepwalking towards a talent exodus, damaged employer brand, and a productivity drought.

We surveyed 2,000 HR decision makers and 7,000 employees across Europe to help paint a clearer picture of what lies ahead.

HR Study 2021

Talent exodus on the horizon

As businesses now set their sights on recovery and a return to business-as-usual, a talent exodus is on the horizon. Over a third of employees (42%) are looking to change roles in the next 6 or 12 months or once the economy has strengthened.

A broader disconnect

A lack of awareness amongst employers of how their company’s handling of the pandemic has been perceived could be contributing to a lack of loyalty amongst employees.

HR Study 2021 Intl.
HR Study 2021 Intl

A looming productivity drought

Employers aren’t just overestimating how well their organization has handled the pandemic. They’re overestimating their team’s productivity, too.

Fragmentation Frustration

With remote working leading businesses to use more digital tools, another growing risk factor for businesses is the ‘fragmentation frustration.’ Caused by digital tool overload, this has the potential to negatively impact productivity and performance.
HR Study 2021
HR Study 2021

Barriers to effective people strategies

Despite having the very best intentions, HR still has some barriers to overcome in order to bring people strategy to its rightful place at the top of the agenda and to help businesses reach their productive potential.


Survey fieldwork was undertaken on behalf of Personio by Opinium, with fieldwork conducted between 12th and 22nd March 2021. The survey sample was 2,000 HR decision makers and 7,000 employees from different countries in Europe across a range of industries and organization types and sizes.

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HR Study 2021 Intl.