High employee turnover can be extremely costly and detrimental to an organization. It’s normal to encounter some level of turnover in an organization due to reasons such as retirement. However, turnover due to other reasons, such as poor employee morale, is not good and should be fixed.
A higher than normal amount of turnover is usually one of the first signs there are significant issues in an organization, and if it’s ignored can lead to even further issues such as a decline in workforce productivity. All of this will eventually trickle down into affecting the bottom line.
In short, turnover can’t be ignored and won’t go away without intervention. It’s essential that you improve your communication strategies, amongst other things to take action to limit your employee turnover.
Management studies on reducing turnover are plenty. In this post, we’ll distill the many mitigation techniques out there and go through some easy and practical ways of reducing employee turnover.
We’ll distill the many mitigation techniques out there and go through some easy and practical ways of reducing employee turnover.
1. Analyze Turnover
This means keeping track of how many employees are leaving an organization in a given year and how these numbers compare with the years before. If there’s been a sudden spike one year, look into why this might be the case. Did a major event happen that year such as an acquisition by a bigger company? Where is the turnover happening? If it’s only within a specific department, was there a new leader hired there that may be causing issues?
Drilling down may help uncover possible hypotheses on why turnover has spiked and ways to solve. Numbers alone aren’t enough; it’s essential to know the underlying reason – the why?
Qualitative insights also help. This is where implementing practices such as exit interviews can be very beneficial.
Most employees that have decided to leave an organization are willing to state why. Be sure that these exit interviews are conducted by an unbiased party such as an HR practitioner and are done confidentially so anyone who reads the takeaways from the interview won’t know who the interviewee was.
Establishing monthly employee surveys can also help raise red flags to leadership if employee morale is sinking, and there’s a chance of high turnover happening. It’s important these surveys are anonymous when completed and isn’t collected at a level where employees or managers handling the data could determine who might have completed it.
Monthly employee surveys are a great preventative measure in flagging potential turnover before it happens.
2. Don’t shy away from praise and recognition
The next tactic to reducing employee turnover is quite simple, low-effort, but very effective.
Make sure employees, managers, and the overall company culture value the practice of giving recognition and praise.
If employees are doing a great job, submit an excellent deliverable, or have gone above and beyond in any way – recognize them for this in front of their colleagues. Or if certain events have happened such as the colleagues being promoted or certain milestones being met by a team during a project, recognize them for the work done.
Praise doesn’t always have to be public. It can also be privately done and still be effective. Take employees out for coffee and let know their hard is work is appreciated.
Don’t go overboard with this and only give praise when employees genuinely deserve this.
Praise is a great way to reduce turnover. Employees will feel like their hard work is being noticed and appreciated – boosting their morale.
3. Show employees the end goal and how to get there
Feeling a sense of progress is critical towards employees feeling fulfilled in their jobs.
This means if they think they’ve stayed stagnant in a particular position and begin to get bored of their job – they’ll start looking elsewhere for new opportunities.
Luckily, this one’s easily avoidable by ensuring that there are clearly defined roles and career progression in an organization.
By formally establishing these and communicating it with employees, they’ll start to understand what’s the next step in their time here and what might be the tasks they need to show they’ve accomplished in order to progress to the next level.
This doesn’t always been dishing out a promotion. Sometimes this can be adding more responsibility to their current role or rotating them across different functions to keep things interesting.
Keep career paths transparent, detailed, and supplementing this with regular performance reviews. This means employees will know what to work on to get to the next level and progress through the company – instead of leaving for the competition.
4. Let employees manage their own time
The next trick to reducing employee turnover is simply providing them with autonomy. When it comes to their daily tasks, this may be hard due to a lack of experience, but freedom and independence in how they manage their time to completing work on their plate are surely doable!
Provide employees as much freedom to set their own schedule, and even where they work from. Introduce options such as work-from-home days, and flexible work hours so that it’s not mandatory for them to be in-office, 8 hours, 5 days a week.
Employees can pick a work schedule that’s optimal for them but also gets work done effectively. Having the option to do this might keep them in the organization cause ultimately, there’s no price one can set on freedom.
5. Pay employees well and offer bonuses
Money matters. And this means employees want to feel like they are compensated well or else they’ll leave.
Make sure annual salary reviews are in place and that compensation is benchmarked with the market rate and to what competitors offer.
This can extend beyond just base salary to include other benefits such as bonuses. Make it attractive and it doesn’t all have to be monetary. Pairing market salary along with flexible work-at-home policies can shrink turnover as employees start to value the flexibility over more pay elsewhere but restricted to being in the office all the time.
6. Align values and purpose
Everyone want’s to feel a sense of purpose to what they’re doing. This is the same at work.
Communicate to employees what it is the organization is striving to achieve, and why their contributions matter. This doesn’t have to be altruistic. The effort just needs to go into helping employees see the purpose in what they’re doing. The key is being able to articulate a company’s purpose in a way that connects.
This might sound complicated. But to keep it actionable, translate this down by ensuring managers communicate the bigger context of what their direct reports do.
An analyst helping crunch numbers in an excel sheet just needs to know that this analysis is going towards identifying bottlenecks in the shipping process – which in turn could be fixed and speed up delivery times for customers. It can be that simple and be enough to give an employee a sense of purpose in the work they are doing.
7. Check-in with employees often
Simply ensure that time is carved out for direct reports to have casual conversations about how their job is going with their managers. Make this mandatory for managers to schedule into calendars on a recurring basis with every direct report. Keep them accountable by measuring such practices and making it a part of their annual performance reviews.
This should be a casual check-in for 30 min. or an hour and involves going for coffee or a walk to ask how things are going. This practice alone can be hugely beneficial in making a frustrated employee who’s a flight-risk feel heard and reconsider leaving.
8. Create a rewarding culture
Although rewarding for a job well done is great and much needed. Most often, employees want more than that. They want their time with a company to be more than just work so it’s important to create a sense of culture.
This means hosting regular ‘after work’ events such as having managers gather everyone to go for drinks nearby. Or having monthly team lunches that allows everyone to get together.
Cheeky traditions at work also help such as telling employees to dress up in whacky costumes during Halloween or creating a fantasy football league for employees to participate in.
All this boosts camaraderie and makes the work team feel more like family. Leaving your ‘family’ for a job somewhere else is a lot harder to do and starts to reduce turnover!
Moreover, having a team that’s well bonded also means they’ll be more comfortable in voicing any issues that creep up proactively. This allows an organization to address any problem quickly before leaving their job becomes the only solution.
9. Hire good managers
Though hiring the right employees who are a good fit for an organization is important in reducing turnover. The other often overlooked aspect is hiring or training up good people managers.
Some employees can be high performers that excel at their work but can be horrible people managers who don’t really know how to lead, develop, and instill a sense of culture in their teams. They may often prioritize actual work over activities such as hosting check-ins with their employees to see how they are doing. Because of this, direct reports to some of these managers may have no issue with the company but hate their boss so much they decide to leave.
To fix this, if hiring for managers, be sure to vet their people management skills thoroughly, and if promoting from within, be sure to train them on effective people management!
10. Make wellness a key priority
Finally, wellness is all the rage nowadays and there’s a reason for this. Work can be stressful and a healthy mind and body help employees deal with the challenges they face at work effectively. More often than not, they’ll let their health slide when things get tough.
Most employees know this but sometimes, they need a little push and incentive from their employers to care about this. If they had to choose between working late every day to get that report out on time or going to the gym, they’ll probably choose the former to keep their job!
However, a company can help here. Institute ways to promote wellness in the company. Offer discounted gym memberships, catered lunches, or the ability to expense dinners so employees eat healthily and don’t skip meals.
Actively promote wellness in an organization through communication and have managers stress the importance of work-life balance.
Even free and automated methods such as having a bot send automated slack messaged reminding employees to take a break can do wonders in keeping employees sane and happy.
Remember, a healthy employee will perform at their peak so it’s in a company’s best interest to keep them that way!
Tackling a sudden spike in turnover can seem daunting, but there are simple, habitual strategies that can do wonders in reducing turnover in an organization. Take our suggestions above and put together a task team to apply it to a company. Remember, high turnover left unchecked can be disastrous in the long-run.