by Shayne Thomas
01 Aug 2019
Has Employee Turnover Got You Down?
Why learning and development is the best way to boost employee retention and satisfaction in the face of declining engagement and productivity
Let’s cut to the chase: a recent Gallup poll found that only 14% of employees in Australia and New Zealand (from here on out, “ANZ”) are engaged in their jobs. And from among the vast majority of disengaged employees surveyed, a startling 15% say they are “actively disengaged.” In contrast, a slightly more positive though still troubling 31% of U.S. employees say they engaged. There’s really no way to sugarcoat this: these numbers spell absolute disaster for businesses of all shapes and sizes; after all, the more disengaged employees become, the more likely employee turnover will skyrocket.
This also comes at a time when the job market is ripe for the taking. Job seekers today in many markets around the world are experiencing a surge of what sometimes feels like limitless job opportunities. And while that’s great news for them, it makes managing employee turnover that much harder—if not entirely impossible. How can businesses attract and retain top talent when a potentially bigger, better, and shinier opportunity is right around the corner?
Although this may seem like a golden opportunity for job seekers, we can’t forget that a total of 86% of employees in ANZ say they are disengaged. So even if the opportunities presented to them are endless, what good is that if, in spite of climbing the professional ladder by hopping from one job to the next in rapid-fire fashion, they never truly become engaged in their work? It does them no good at all, except maybe for providing them with a paycheck at the end of the day. But this, too, is a lose-lose scenario: employees are never happy and businesses are constantly scrambling to fill a revolving door of vacated positions. So, it should come as no surprise, given this somewhat bleak reality, that global productivity and engagement, on the whole, is on a steady decline. In other words, employees are physically coming to work, but they certainly aren’t giving it their all each and every day.
Even though we’ve painted a rather bleak—but true—picture for you, there’s a lot you can still do to boost employee retention, now. And a big part of achieving this boils down to ongoing learning and development. The more time and energy you invest into developing your employee’s skills, shepherding them along a constantly growing career path, and seeking new ways to increase their overall happiness, the quicker you’ll see that employee turnover rate shrink. The numbers don’t lie: 65% of engaged employees say they’ve learned something new or did something interesting the previous day. While another 42% admit they’ve considered leaving their jobs because they aren’t learning anymore.
Fortunately, boosting employee retention through learning and development is an easy fix. You just need to make it a priority. Here are a few tips to get you moving in the right direction:
1. Make learning accessible 24/7
Invest in a learning management system. Develop and deploy robust course offerings—both job-related as well as more broadly applicable “soft skills.” And encourage employees to take full advantage of all those on-demand tools and resources on a regular basis. Whatever you do, make it easy for employees to excel in their jobs and grow in their careers—and resist every temptation to front-load learning during onboarding only.
2. Provide feedback regularly
We know that employees crave feedback. In fact, the fast-growing millennial employee population craves up to 50% more feedback than older workplace generations. So, be sure to build feedback into the broader learning and development experience within your company—and encourage it to be a regular part of the manager-employee relationship as well (vs. simply waiting until performance review time to have these kinds of feedback-driven conversations). Unfortunately, ongoing feedback is still very much the exception and not the rule. In a study we conducted in ANZ, we found that most businesses still provide systematic feedback on an infrequent or relatively impersonal basis. Of the businesses surveyed, 43% conduct reviews either annually or bi-annually; 42% say that managers lack the appropriate skillset to provide meaningful feedback; 42% say that managers have trouble seeing the perceived value of ongoing feedback; and another 42% say that managers tend to conduct check-ins with employees to get a pulse on the status of work in progress only. The opportunity is clear: by weaving feedback into the overall learning and development process, businesses and employees only stand to win.
3. Create a culture of learning
Everyone, even the most senior or seasons professionals, can learn new skills every day. By making learning and development a core part of your day-to-day culture, your employees will see that you’re investing in them—and that goes a long way towards building workplace satisfaction and boosting employee retention. But this is only possible if you make creating a culture of learning an absolute priority company-wide.
If you feel like rapidly growing employee turnover has gotten you (and your business) down, just know that you’re not alone. The team at Cornerstone is here to support you with tons of employee retention ideas that can help you overcome this hurdle. As a starting point, be sure to download our latest study about how businesses are managing continuous performance management and development; it’s full of tips and tricks for implementing positive change, fast. Then, be sure to talk to one of our experts to learn more about our unique tools and resources built specifically to help your business succeed. Don’t wait, contact us today!