Amidst the upheaval of the pandemic, something surprising happened. While the US economy entered a recession, huge numbers of American workers were quitting their jobs. In what became known as “the Great Resignation,” 4.4 million US employees left their places of employment in 2021. In the wake of such an exodus, many businesses were left wondering: why did this happen, and how do we reduce employee turnover going forward?
Those quitting their jobs cited many reasons for their decision to leave. Research has found that poor pay, limited advancement opportunities, disrespect in the workplace, childcare issues, and insufficient benefits all contributed. These, though, aren’t necessarily unique to the post-pandemic climate. Perhaps, then, we as a culture had time to pause, get out of our offices, and discover new passions while igniting a desire for better lives throughout the pandemic. Following that, it seems that our expectations for our work are very different from those before March 2020.
In light of this, it’s important that businesses keep up with employee expectations instead of missing out. The hidden costs of employee turnover are many and varied, while the bottom-line impact is significant. If you’re looking for ideas on how to reduce employee turnover and inspire your workforce, this post is for you.
Conduct Exit Interviews To Learn About Your Employee Turnover
The single best resource you have on why your employees are leaving are the employees themselves. There are plenty of guides out there to get you started, as these are a vital step in understanding where employee relationships can go awry. Be prepared to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, listen openly, and make notes on what you can take action on.
If you are stuck for question ideas, start out with:
- What feedback do you have for management?
- How would you rate your onboarding experience and training?
- How well do you think the company supported your career goals?
- What could we offer that would help you consider staying?
- What was it about your new employer that drew you most?
- Were there any specific incidents that triggered your decision?
- What could we as a company have done differently?
Another place to look for feedback is job review sites like Glassdoor. These might not be enjoyable to read, but remember that potential hires will see these too. Create a list of all the concerns that occur, especially repeatedly, and use the list to brainstorm ideas that address them.
Research What Your Competitors Are Doing To Reduce Employee Turnover
How do you compare to other employers in the market? If it’s been a while since you analyzed your competitors, now’s the time. So often, companies fall behind not because they’ve made a change, but because they haven’t. Rather than keeping up with the exciting advances of their peers, they sit back and take their feet off the pedal.
To combat this, look at your competitors’ job postings. Are your salaries and benefits on par with theirs? Do they need adjusting? What do your competitors’ reviews say on job review sites? Have they publicized their employee retention rate, and how does it compare to your own?
“What got you here won’t get you there.” While your company might have been competitive, even innovative, a couple years ago, it’s no guarantee that you are still. The world has changed hugely since COVID-19 and our work goals have changed too.
Your company’s culture is “anything that relates to customs and norms that naturally form within a company.” It includes how you make your employees feel on a day-to-day basis. Do they log on excited and inspired? Or do they feel demotivated, unsure of their future?
You can find our guide to creating a great company culture here, but in essence, leadership determines a company’s culture. Are you creating a space that feels supportive, and a working lifestyle that is sustainable? Do you have your values written down, but not know how to express them? Your culture is similar to the idea of “reputation/invisible PR” that entrepreneur Steven Bartlett discussed. Just as your reputation will represent you as an individual when you’re out of the room, your culture is what is left by you as a CEO or manager.
If your Glassdoor reviews and exit interviews consistently state that there are issues of bullying or poor work-life balance at your organization, it’s time to do a culture refresh. Business cultures can and do change all the time, often for the better, so stay positive and remember that this is a fantastic opportunity.
In their research on the Great Resignation, the Pew Research Center found that “Pay was too low” was the highest answer. It can be tough, as a business, to stomach increasing salaries, but the cost of employee turnover might be much greater. Yet more research shows that happy employees are more productive, and feeling financially valued is an important part of employee happiness.
If financial boosts aren’t an option for you, consider other ways to enrich the lives of your employees. What lifestyle benefits would make your company a more enjoyable place to work? Perhaps your team would like to work remotely, which you can find our experiences of remote work here on the blog. Maybe they’d like more flexibility, or even asynchronous schedules? Could you trial a four-day workweek, or offer more annual leave? Often, work Christmas parties just don’t make the same lasting impact on an employee’s happiness. Think about what changes would make their work lives easier.
This is a really exciting concept, and perfect if you’ve heard you lack long-term career opportunities. Many companies are turning to intrapreneurship to retain their top talent, but what is it?
According to a piece by Stanford, intrapreneurs are “internal entrepreneurs who work within the structures of an established company.” Entrepreneurs find problems in the world and start companies to address them, while intrapreneurs find problems in their company and suggest initiatives to resolve them. It’s an innovative prospect, one that encourages the creativity, independence, and problem-solving that drives many to entrepreneurship. Stanford has also published a guide to starting an intrapreneurship program in your company to get you started.
- The Great Resignation saw 4.4 million US workers quit their jobs, but this is a great opportunity for positive change.
- The best resource on why employees leave your company is the employees themselves. Conduct exit interviews and pay attention to job review sites.
- Analyze how your company prospects compare to those of your competitors and make adjustments accordingly.
- Consider investing in your company culture if your feedback indicates this is a challenge for your organization.
- Assess what benefits your company can give to employees, both financially and with regard to their lifestyles.
- Look at launching an intrapreneurship program to encourage innovation within your business.
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