In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that overall turnover rates peaked at 57.3%, with 4 million Americans quitting their jobs in July alone — leaving 10.9 million available jobs! “The Great Resignation” has changed the employment landscape and many experts predict those repercussions to bleed far into 2022.
With Gallup reporting that 53% of employees are disengaged — meaning they come to work and do the minimum expected — the chances an employee will jump ship for a more attractive offer are very real. Considering how tough it is to find good workers, coupled with the average cost-per-hire for a new employee, $4,425, it’s no wonder that retention/turnover is one of the top workforce management challenges cited by HR professionals.
Using the lifecycle of an employee to maximize every opportunity, here are 7 strategies to help reduce employee turnover:
Employee retention efforts start at day one. According to research by the Wynhurst Group, 22% of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment. However, new employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to still be with the organization after three years. It is critical to clearly articulate the company’s mission and vision during the onboarding process. Employees who feel connected to the company's "why" bring more of themselves to work, are more productive, and more loyal. Also important during onboarding is to highlight training and professional development opportunities. This will ensure the employee feels there is a place for them as soon as they are hired, and optimistic there is room for growth in the future. Here are 4 Things to Keep in Mind During Employee Onboarding to Increase Retention.
Identify and monitor high risk individuals
With average employee engagement levels at less than 50%, that means 1 in 2 employees are at risk of leaving. Keeping the lines of communication open with all employees will give insight into those individuals who are distracted, seem unmotivated and are exhibiting signs of negativity. “Social listening” on social media can prove useful to hear chatter about their employee experience and intentions. Keeping an eye on work output, email response time and increased personal days off are a good way to assess engagement levels. If you hear or see signs of discontent, you’ll need to determine if the employee is in burnout, or if the employee is ready to head out the door. In either case, do not ignore the signs and do take time to connect with the employee to understand and resolve any issues.
Ensure employees are recognized for their efforts and contributions
The most successful organizations recognize the value of their employees and know that acknowledging their contributions translates into employees who are more engaged, motivated, and willing to go the extra mile. Recognition is one of the top drivers of employee engagement, and Gallup research validates that high levels of employee engagement contribute to positive business outcomes — 43% less turnover, 81% less absenteeism, 18% increase in productivity and 23% increase in profitability. Since Gallup cites lack of recognition is the #1 reason most people leave their jobs, implementing a rewards and recognition program will aid in retention efforts.
Provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities
Learning and development has been proven to increase retention rates, with 94% of employees claiming they’d stay with an organization if their managers invested in their future careers. This is particularly important to Gen Z and Millennial workers, who say learning at work makes them happy. Plus, by investing in employee training, companies can internally fill the skill gaps left by “The Great Resignation”.
Support mentoring and networking connections
Connected employees are engaged employees. Gallup research supports that engaged employees provide positive business outcomes, so connecting employees to each other, in mentorship relationships and through a social community, can improve the employee experience and foster a positive team culture, increasing retention rates.
Embrace geographic flexibility
Managing where employees are seated — remote, on-site or some combination therein — is a top workplace challenge for HR managers. To keep people in those seats, organizations may need to revisit the mandate of being in the office. One study shows 65% of employees would take a cut in pay to work entirely from home. The same study revealed that 83% of employees prefer a hybrid work model, which enables them to sometimes work remotely and sometimes onsite. Over the past year, employees and supervisors have learned to work and collaborate from remote locations more effectively. Although never expecting to adopt a fully remote or hybrid model, most businesses have discovered increased productivity and success with one or both models. To have a better chance of retaining valuable employees, companies will now need to rethink their on-site mandates.
Promote from within
Career advancement is increasingly important to today’s employees. According to a recent survey, 63% of employees said a lack of career development opportunities is reason enough to leave their current employer. When organizations promote from within, not only does it validate that upskilling and training is working, but employees see growth and ‘big picture’ opportunities and will be less likely to leave the organization in search of another opportunity.
The Covid-19 pandemic has given us a ‘new normal’ where hiring has become increasingly difficult, is taking significantly longer and is costing more. One immediate solution is to bolster your retention efforts. When you support and appreciate your workforce and show people they matter, they are less likely to seek employment elsewhere.