Employee turnover presents a complex challenge to any organization. The reasons behind it are vast and the consequences are significant. And when you’re in the HR hot seat, it’s your job to face the terminations, resignations, and retirements before they risk affecting your company’s productivity, morale, and bottom line. But if the rate at which people are leaving is on the rise, you’re also faced with the challenge of overcoming high employee turnover.
If you’re like most companies, we’re guessing you have a fairly straightforward ratio percentage that represents turnover. Average ratios vary wildly from industry to industry, but you should have a handle on what works best for you and your organization. The problem is, once that ratio gets uncomfortably high, a simple statistic isn’t going to give you enough information to be able to resolve it.
The first step to overcoming high employee turnover is understanding why that turnover exists in the first place, and the only way to do that is by digging into the details. Behind that straightforward turnover ratio, can you determine what fractions represent different types of resignation or terminations? Is there a trend behind which department people are leaving from the most? Are people leaving for personal reasons like spousal relocation or family matters? Or are they quitting because they’re burned out or suffering in a toxic work environment?
The answers to these questions depend upon asking people why they’re leaving. From there, you can begin to determine the larger problem at hand and exactly how you can resolve it. Because we can’t easily prepare for scenarios outside our control, the following steps make the assumption that people are leaving because of a problem you can actively influence.
Sometimes resolving high employee turnover starts back at square one, with your hiring process. Bad hires can quickly lead to high turnover rates, whether in the space of just a few days or weeks or even months. The occasional bad hire is fairly inevitable, but if you notice a series of them, the problem likely goes deeper.
It may be that someone was hired too quickly because of an urgent opening, or that steps were skipped like reference checks or a full onboarding process. Or it might have been that the job description didn’t accurately describe the position and responsibilities the person was hired for. Or cultural fit might have been neglected, hiring someone with only a view of their technical skills.
Nailing down an effective recruitment strategy and hiring process can help you mitigate the risks and costs of high turnover down the line.
Employees want to be heard. If they don’t have a voice in your workplace, they’re going to feel like just another number, just another nameless employee. That lack of recognition or opportunity to make an impact could be directly translating into a higher turnover rate.
Employee engagement surveys actually work if you’re asking the right questions and acting on the answers in a genuine effort to improve your workplace. Get this feedback often and make sure your employees know you’re dedicated to providing an excellent work experience. The more they know you care, the less likely they are to leave their jobs for a better opportunity.
Burned out employees will inevitably increase your turnover rates (not to mention decrease overall employee productivity). If tight deadlines and high pressure situations are typical scenarios in your company, it’s vital to find a strategy that reduces employee stress.
Throughout high stress projects, ensure that you are communicating clearly and effectively – stress only increases when there are gaps in an employee’s knowledge or expectations. Acknowledge and celebrate wins, creating rewards to counteract the stress; employees need to know their efforts are appreciated, especially when they are going above and beyond to get the job done. Finally, whenever possible, try to provide flexibility in scheduling so that employees can recuperate from a particularly taxing project once it’s over.
Ultimately, cultivating a supportive workplace that reduces employee stress will have a positive impact on your ability to overcome high employee turnover.
Overcoming high employee turnover means recognizing that your employees will likely leave if they feel stuck in a career rut. They need avenues for career development, learning and growth, and if you don’t provide that for them, they’ll go elsewhere to achieve it.
This means investing in leadership development, mentorship programs and training opportunities. Ask your employees about their 3 to 5-year career goals, and find out how you can help support those goals as their employer. Realize that your company may be a stepping stone in their career path rather than a long-term opportunity; if that’s the case, do what you can to create a great employee experience. Anything you can do to slow down that turnover rate in addition to improving productivity and employee morale will be good for your bottom line.
Unlike several decades ago, employees don’t typically stick with the same company for the majority of their careers. While you want to avoid hiring job hoppers, the truth is that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee stays with their employer for 4.6 years. The challenge for employers is how to accommodate that statistic while simultaneously driving down high employee turnover.
Getting behind the data, executing a more effective hiring strategy, and supporting a positive employee experience are just a handful of ways a company can achieve their goals. At Synergy, we know the success of a business is often determined by the satisfaction of its employees, so we partner with our clients to ensure everything’s running smoothly.