Your team pours its heart and soul into the interview process. You spend hours upon hours of your time (maybe even outside of your regular work schedule) sorting through resumes, interviewing candidates, reaching out to references, and assessing whether a candidate will succeed within your company culture.
After you finally find a perfect fit, you funnel even more resources into training and onboarding so the candidate is prepared to reach their maximum potential within your company.
After all of this time, money, and effort, we think it’s safe to assume that you want to keep the person whom you’ve invested so much in. And understanding the reasons why someone might quit can help you proactively combat and reduce employee turnover.
In May of 2017, 3.2 million Americans quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number has been steadily increasing since 2009, when the rate of quits was just 1.7 million per month. Every time a valued employee quits, your company takes a big hit in terms of time spent interviewing more candidates and money spent on training a new hire. Again.
Even worse than this tangible loss is the knowledge and skillset that will leave with the employee. After all, you hired them for a reason, and you had high hopes for what they might contribute in the future.
People quit their jobs for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it’s unpreventable: a move across country to follow a spouse, the decision to stay home with a child, the decision to return to school, illness, etc. But more often than not, you exercise a great deal of influence over whether or not your best employees are feeling satisfied with their jobs. The following are the top 3 reasons your most valued employees may be considering leaving, and what you can do to reduce employee turnover:
1. The employee doesn’t see potential for career progression.
In a 2015 SHRM survey, 600 people were asked if career advancement was important to them, and 83 percent said yes. However, only 20 percent of people were satisfied with how their company was helping them grow professionally. There are many ways to help employees visualize their role in the future of the company.
Discuss the future.
This one is simple. Open communication will ensure that your vision for the employee’s future aligns with their own. Ask your employees how they would like to develop professionally, listen, give them genuine career advice, and help them track their goals. Chances are they will respect your input, and the mere fact that you are interested will give them the encouragement they need to stick with it.
Provide training for the position they want, not the position they have.
Of course, new hires need training that will empower them to succeed within their current role. That being said, providing additional training to those who are interested will say a great deal about your faith in your employees’ ability to climb the corporate ladder. Offer leadership training, even to those who aren’t in leadership positions, and set up mentor/mentee relationships within the hierarchy of your organization.
Recruit inside the organization.
Recruiters too often focus on finding employees outside of the organization, and as a result, the talent that already exists within the organization is lost. Considering internal candidates for openings will do wonders to convey that you value the futures of your employees. Likewise, overlooking them will send the message that they do not have potential for growth in the company.
2. Performance evaluations aren’t driven by data.
It’s difficult for managers to get the full picture. It’s impossible to constantly monitor each team member for all of the different strategies they use and the skills they demonstrate (and thank goodness for that, because no one likes a micro-manager).
However, as a result, managers often evaluate employees based on isolated incidents that they happened to witness, not by consistent practices. Almost nothing drives a person to leave a company more than the feeling that they are being treated unfairly and that their skills are not being appreciated, or even noticed.
This problem is a quick fix. Invest in software that will evaluate performance on a much deeper level. Various analytics programs will allow you to see who is truly shining, and identify employees that may need a little more help and continued training. Many knowledge sharing platforms have an analytics component that will evaluate who is most engaged in company knowledge and offer solutions to improve engagement and performance in those who are lacking.
3. Employees are bored by the work.
Consider how much time you dedicate to your job. Between getting ready in the morning, the commute, and the work day itself, at least a third of your day is devoted to your job (and much more if you don’t count the hours you spend sleeping).
If a person is going to invest a third or more of their time into a career, they better enjoy the work and not feel constantly bored. Sure, there are mundane tasks (i.e. paperwork) that no one is particularly excited about completing, but it needs to be done.
However, if you’re employees are never challenged by their assignments, they may think you don’t consider them capable of higher achievement, and they will seek out an employer who does. Here are a couple of strategies to reduce employee turnover by keeping team members challenged and motivated:
When possible, allow employees to define their own duties.
You chose your team because you believed each of them possesses the skills and drive necessary to be an asset to the company, so trust your intuition. Once you’ve identified an employee’s essential tasks, allow them to get creative and decide on additional duties that they deem essential to success. 9 times out of 10, they will rise to meet your expectations and use this freedom to contribute in new and innovative ways. If they don’t, this is also information you need to know.
Ask for suggestions.
You dish out feedback all the time, but can you take it? Challenge your team by asking them to come up with solutions to company-wide or departmental issues. Not only will it be something new and exciting for your team members, but it will help you to identify employees who are going above and beyond and should be considered for a promotion or a raise.
Be transparent about issues the company is facing.
The relationship between employee and boss should not resemble the relationship between a parent who wants to keep their child in the dark about financial stress. Being open about the problems the organization is facing says that you value your employees enough to keep them aware of their own circumstances, that you believe in their ability to contribute solutions, and that they can be confident that you are actively working to ensure their job security.
For most, a job is ultimately what an individual makes of it. They can make the deliberate choice to challenge themselves, do their best, and have a good attitude. However, this is a two-way street. Follow these tips to make sure you don’t lose your most valuable employees to an issue that was preventable!