by Shayne Thomas
09 Jul 2019
Stop being in the employee turnover business
3 employee retention ideas to ensure your recruitment efforts don’t go to waste
Whether you’re a seasoned HR professional or just now cutting your teeth in the industry, one thing is perennially true: it’s hard to recruit truly amazing talent. Even harder, retaining that talent and maintaining low employee turnover rates.
In the U.S. today, historically low unemployment has essentially put job seekers in the driver’s seat. And while that’s a blessing in many ways, it can also quickly become a massive headache for HR teams. Why? Because when job openings are plentiful, employees have a lot of choices as well as a lot of opportunities to climb the corporate ladder, fast—and this has, for better or worse, incentivized them to be on the lookout for the next best opportunity at all times.
The big problem with this otherwise positive situation—for employees, that is—is that, for any business, losing an employee is expensive. In fact, filling a role vacated by a departed employee and then getting that new person up-to-speed can cost up to 150x an employee’s annual salary. (Yes, that collective gasp you just let out is perfectly acceptable there!) And at a time when the job market is a true cornucopia of opportunity, if you don’t invest just as much—if not more—in employee retention as you do in your recruitment efforts, you will find yourself perpetually at the mercy of employee turnover, which is not sustainable for you or your business as a whole.
Are you tired of taking the time to hire new employees and train them up, only to see that you’ve prepared them incredibly well for their next job? If your answer is yes—and it should be—then stop perpetuating this negative cycle of being in what, at times, feels like the “employee turnover business” and, instead, give your talent a reason to stay put. Here are three easy-to-implement employee retention ideas to get you moving in the right direction.
1. Invest more in onboarding
First impressions can make a big impact; the workplace is not an exception to this rule. How you onboard new employees can be, in many ways, a “make or break” right from the very start. If you don’t take the time to provide new employees with the training they need to be successful and the right leadership to help them feel integrated into your company’s culture, there’s a good chance they’ll eventually feel lost, disconnected, and even aloof about coming to work each day. And that, my friends, is a perfect recipe for an employee to jump ship.
In the Brandon Hall Group’s 2017 “Evolution of Onboarding” study, it was found that employers have, on average, a voluntary 10.2% new hire attrition rate during the first year of a new hire’s employment. To add salt to the wound, about half of that happens within the first six months! This alone is a sign that there’s a kink in the chain in the onboarding process. Remember, just because you were successful at recruiting, wooing, and hiring a new employee doesn’t mean that you can just throw them to the wolves and let them fend for themselves as of day one. Starting a new job involves a learning curve: how to go about daily tasks effectively, how to engage positively with your manager, how to collaborate with your team, how to use company-provided tools and technology—and the list goes on. Failing to support employees from the minute they walk through your days will be a recipe for disaster. Don’t just take our word for it. One of our very own customers experienced this first hand. By investing in learning and development as part of their onboarding process, they were able to reduce employee turnover in a pretty significant way. In their own words: “We assign compliance and soft skills training right away. Our new hire turnover within the first year has gone from 57% to 29%.” (Did someone hear a mic drop?)
2. Don’t be afraid to LEAP
No, we’re not asking you to jump off a cliff in the face of increasing employee turnover rates. That wouldn’t do you or your employees any good. Quite to the contrary, LEAP is actually an acronym—please be sure to commit it to memory—that stands for: Learning, Empathy, Advancement, and Purpose. But aside from being a catchy acronym, it’s a pretty solid recipe for improving employee retention. Here’s why. For starters, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company if that company invested in their career (Learning). Another 82% of employees would consider leaving their job to work for a more empathetic and supportive organization (Empathy). Most employees, generally speaking, want to be challenged by their work as a means to achieving upward mobility within an organization (Advancement). And finally, 73 percent of employees who say they work at a "purpose-driven" company are engaged (Purpose). You get the gist. LEAP can take on many forms based on the kind of business you have. The big takeaway here is that by giving employees a reason to do more than simply “punch in and punch out” every day, you give them an incentive to stay while also showing them that you’re invested in their career and well-being. And that goes a long way.
3. Make ongoing feedback a priority
We’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again: providing constant feedback is essential for fostering job satisfaction and general employee happiness. As a byproduct of this, you’ll likely see employee retention skyrocket, too! But this means a lot more than the annual performance review. It’s about building feedback into the dynamic you have with your team, each and every day—and encouraging an open dialogue to exist between employees, too. In fact, it’s been shown that when managers provide daily feedback, employees are six times more likely to feel what’s being communicated to them is more meaningful, almost four times more likely to be motivated to do outstanding work, and three times more likely to be engaged at work. Why? Because when employees get regular feedback, they are getting valuable input to help them succeed at their jobs, which is a stark contrast to feeling as though they’re under the microscope during a performance review. Not to mention, and as we’ve also said many times before, the biggest reason why employees leave their jobs is because they have a troublesome relationship with their manager. Don’t let that be the case in your organization. Helping managers learn how to be comfortable with giving constructive and meaningful feedback on an ongoing basis will always be a winning strategy for retaining talent.
So, if your employee turnover rates have started to dip into uncomfortable territory, start by implementing these three employee retention ideas, and you’ll likely soon stop feeling as though you’ve somehow ended up in the talent export business. And if you need a little extra help, we’re here to support you along the way.
Have a conversation with an expert on how you can increase employee retention with the right tools for your business.