Updated: Apr 25
Employee turnover is not a fad in today's environment. Instead, employers are seeing a significant shift from the norm to something that has become the norm- high employee turnover.
New job seekers choose to forego their employment to find new opportunities for better-paying wages, career advancement, and quality of life.
Employers will need to adjust to this increased new normal by identifying ways to formally address employee retention and developing meaningful strategies to retain employees while focusing on company culture, job satisfaction, career advancement, and pathways opportunities in the job market.
Employers realize what they thought was a fad is now the new normal, so we will discuss what this future of work shift is and what employment retention strategies companies can deploy to boost employee retention through the roll-out of employee engagement programs that focus on job satisfaction, employee morale, and employee development.
The fundamental shift in the future of work
Companies recognize the high level of employee turnover and the rising costs related to employee turnover. However, there is an ever-growing concern that companies will face significant and crippling consequences due to this major shift if this trend continues.
This includes reducing efficiency and increased operational costs, such as recruitment fees, benefits, training, mentoring, and onboarding costs. Companies must understand the significance of this trend before these changes are too far along to turn around.
Companies must align their strategies with the growing new normal of a more engaged and well-motivated workforce.
Employee turnover is not a fad
Employee turnover is not a fad in today's environment. Instead, employers are seeing a significant shift from the norm to something that has become the norm- high employee turnover.
As a result, companies are discovering that employee turnover and overall employee engagement are not only the cost of doing business. It's a strategic imperative. As a result, enterprises are now experimenting with tools and strategies to measure employee engagement and understand how to improve their culture.
Taking employee satisfaction seriously cannot be just lip service, and we must view even this in its proper context. The key to employee satisfaction and happiness is engagement and a positive employee experience that leads to better business results.
Why do employees leave?
There are many reasons that employees leave their jobs, but among the top reasons cited are:
Employees quit due to job dissatisfaction or dissatisfaction with company culture. Employee turnover has reached epidemic proportions, representing the biggest problem facing employers. Half of the employees who quit said they left because they didn't enjoy their work.
Employees leave because they can't meet employer's expectations. According to popular belief, if employees feel capable of accomplishing their job requirements, they will work more efficiently. However, employees are not always aware of what these expectations are.
Furthermore, workplace issues such as employee dissatisfaction, unrealistic expectations, training, and budgeting may contribute to poor employee retention.
The new normal of employee turnover
According to CareerBuilder.com, 65 percent of job seekers cite a lack of company recognition as one of the main reasons for job searches. This lack of company recognition has, in turn, increased employee turnover.
The demographics of the workforce are changing as baby boomers retire, however this creates new opportunities for employers to develop and embrace new workforce talent strategies to attract new talent.
Companies now have an opportunity to take a proactive approach to retention by addressing the shift in job seekers to a new norm of unemployment. For companies to keep pace with this change, they must be prepared to recruit and retain the best talent possible through traditional methods such as job fairs, virtual events, social media, email marketing, employee referrals, and internal reviews.
Why employers see the increase in employee turnover
Job seekers now have a greater selection of occupations to pick from than they did a few years ago when they were limited to traditional or lower-wage employment.
Employees are also noticing that the traditional lower-wage job is not a good career choice anymore. People want to be challenged, feel valued, increase their quality of life. Job seekers can achieve this by acquiring a higher-paying job with more prospects for growth opportunities.
When employees have to face competition for a job in that lower-wage category or for an opportunity at a higher wage position, they would rather look outside of their current employer for an opportunity that offers them a bigger future.
That being said, employers need to re-think their job retention strategies. Companies that understand the need to shift their employee engagement strategies have taken steps to address the issue by making their employees a priority.
What employers can do to address this new normal
The first step in addressing the new normal is to get familiar with the dynamics that are driving and leading to the increased employee turnover in the workforce. There is an inevitable state of flux that exists for any company that hires in today's global economy.
The global marketplace is changing the game- where work is done, how work is done, the digitalization of work, and a move towards flexibility. The employee turnover rate is going to be affected because of these dynamics, so the employer needs to seek a way to make retention strategies easy to implement.
One of the key steps to addressing turnover is to conduct a workforce plan. Start with setting a strategic direction. Analyze your workforce and evaluate where the gaps are and where the potential is to capitalize. Then develop an action plan, put it into action, and monitor, evaluate, and adapt as required.
Employee retention strategies
Have you ever witnessed someone you really like suddenly leaving your company?
Maybe someone you've worked with for years leaves suddenly for another opportunity, or perhaps your company goes through a restructuring. How do you maintain your competitive edge and that employee loyalty?
Organizations across the United States (U.S.) are experiencing a massive shift in their workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics August Job Labor and Turn Over report trends, the number of quits (a measure of workers' willingness or ability to leave jobs) increased to 4.3 million in August 2021, which was a gain of 242, 000 or an increased high of 2.9 percent.
Businesses that are focused on retaining talent and increasing employee engagement typically focus on developing employment retention strategies to recruit, onboard, retain, and engage employees. Employers are identifying ways to increase engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty through the development of employee retention strategies.
So, what is the definition of employee retention, and why should organizations implement these strategies?
Employee retention is the organizational goal of keeping talented employees and reducing turnover by fostering a positive work atmosphere. A company that shows its employees appreciation, competitive pay, and a healthy work-life balance are all key.
The best employment retention strategies: What is working?
Successful employee retention strategies encourage employees to keep motivated and focused.
To foster engagement among old and new employees or to provide an environment that meets the needs of current employees, companies ought to consider implementing employee engagement programs, such as perks, flexible work schedules, and benefits. These programs are transforming how companies attract, engage, and retain staff.
The importance of employee retention
Creating a positive work environment is essential to a happy and engaged employee. Engagement improves the workforce's productivity, as workers are more likely to perform at their best when their time and energy are valued.
However, employee engagement can decrease if an organization or workplace isn't an ideal work environment. Companies should strive to ensure that their employee's work environment is positive and enjoyable.
Other strategies for engaged employees, such as productivity-boosting perks, flexible work options, and benefits, can increase employee engagement and overall performance. In addition, a disengaged workforce could affect the bottom line of the company.
Increasing employee retention through perks
There are many ways to incentivize your employees and new hires to remain loyal to the organization. Having fun at work is the best way to attract and retain your best people.
Consider offering your employees a healthy and fun environment that encourages collaboration and communication, which helps foster relationships with team members and is the foundation for building a strong company culture.
Research also shows that people are more likely to stay loyal to an organization when they're given financial incentives. Having a sense of financial security and knowing that their jobs are secure is an attractive feature for new talent.
Creating a positive environment
Many employers are committing to creating workplaces that promote wellbeing by focusing on creating work environments that help employees take care of themselves so they can focus better, perform better, and feel better.
Workplace environments that promote emotional safety, work/life balance, and healthy lifestyle options are environments that enable employees to perform at their best.
Furthermore, we are observing an uptick in company cultures that promote employees taking care of their own health and wellbeing through flexible work hours, non-smoking policies, clean and healthy break areas, daily exercise, and financial assistance to help employees pursue wellness-related activities. The most successful positive work environment strategies emphasize wellbeing, increase communication, and reduce stress.
Creating a culture of engagement
A successful employee retention strategy incorporates ways to focus on the employee's emotional and social needs.
Employees are showing their dissatisfaction with a negative work environment, and only 25% of employees engage with their company on a regular basis.
Companies realize that investing in the social and emotional wellbeing of their employees is a part of the sustainability of their company, so they are making a big push to improve that at all levels.
Organizations that create a culture of engagement offer opportunities for employees to flourish, leading to satisfying working experiences. For example, Glassdoor reported that the top place to work is Alliant Credit Union.
The company is known for its culture of engagement through its Culture of Excellence initiatives, which have helped to retain thousands of employees in a short period of time. Through this initiative, workers are motivated and engaged to be the best they can be.
Companies are seeing more and more proof that engaging employees drives both retention and growth in the company. Research by Cisco and Hill Holliday shows that companies with high engagement have higher business performance.
Creating a culture of engagement is the first step of introducing a concept of employee engagement as the baseline for building a culture of retention that focuses on long-term relationships.
Healthy work-life balance
There has been a big change in what companies view as work-life balance, with millennials and Gen Z outgrowing this antiquated notion of "divide and conquer."
Employee engagement and wellbeing directly contribute to company productivity.
Employers who invest in employee wellness initiatives, such as health benefits, telehealth, and onsite counselors, will see their employees' motivation and health improve.
Health and wellness are becoming the new normal, and achieving a healthy work-life balance is even more critical for employees today. Research from EchoSigning found that: When it comes to work-life balance, not only is it important, it's a competitive advantage. Of the respondents who took the survey, 41% stated that their work-life balance is a competitive advantage, and 75% cite company culture as a key factor in work-life balance.
For work-life balance programs to be successful, employers must invest in workforce development and workplace health programs to ensure a healthier work environment and ensure that employees are in the best health possible. Additionally, health promotion and wellbeing programs should be included in the company's talent strategy.
Flexible work options
Consider all that your employees could do with an opportunity to work from home, work an odd schedule, or work from their own home office. Flexible work options, such as remote work, part-time, or flexible schedules, are in demand, and employers are creating many employment retention strategies around the importance of offering flexible work opportunities.
The work life balance programs offered by successful organizations are transparent, easier to understand, and provide clear communication. Benefits such as rewards programs, education assistance, and flexible options are also changing how employers attract, engage, and retain workers.
Employee recognition programs
At the heart of employee retention is recognizing employee contributions and achievements, whether big or small. Without the input and trust of employees, a company will not thrive and will have challenges in succeeding. Making tangible efforts to show your employees their efforts are appreciated is vital to their long-term satisfaction.
While the "Happy Birthday" cake is a nice gesture, a more effective way to ensure that every employee feels appreciated is through the use of a recognition program that recognizes employees for specific contributions.
Employee recognition programs allow employees to recognize their own accomplishments and how others support them. Employees love to receive recognition, especially for those who are improving, taking on new challenges, or making contributions to the company.
Recognizing top talent
There are various employee engagement software that offers apps designed to be simple to use and simple to integrate into your existing HR systems. Many of these apps use key indicators of a strong employee-employer relationship to identify your best talent.
These tools allow employers to use biometric data to identify potential top talent, provide incentives, and keep them on track to achieve their career goals.
After discovering your top talent, employers should use salary history data to determine their salaries and adjust them based on that individual's performance. There is no question that a combination of employee retention and employee productivity is key to the future of work.
Pursuing professional development opportunities
Providing employees with the latest and most relevant trends and ideas can increase employee engagement and foster positive workplace attitudes.
Strategies that help employees grow professionally and benefit from continuous learning, including formal and informal education, networking, volunteering, public speaking, professional development, and other forms of continued learning, can help your employees be more productive and improve their employability.
Professionals that are educated in a variety of fields often have the skills to move into other roles and careers.
When an employee perceives that his or her employer is investing in their professional development, they are more likely to be satisfied with their employer.
Having a successful employee engagement program also considers the employee promoting their skills that increase teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving, and communication and are most in-demand by organizations.
Career advancement opportunities
A key component of retaining employees is to enable the employees to move between positions within the organization, and this is called Internal Mobility. Think about it. A young manager will replace a veteran manager who wants to move into a more managerial role.
The experienced worker can join a new team but not stay on the same team. The decision will be based on seniority, growth opportunities, compensation, and general manager/organizational needs.
Research shows that people who are able to move between departments and projects are more likely to stay longer. Employers can use internal mobility programs to support this goal. Internal mobility programs are vital for organization survival, as they are a proven way to decrease attrition.
Aside from these internal factors, employee turnover has become very costly.
Career pathing programs for employee retention
Career pathing strategies focus on establishing a structured, written career path for employees that supports specific jobs or different job responsibilities. A structured, written career path helps employees stay engaged by directing them to the next step of their career development. Career pathing has been proven to increase productivity by as much as 20 percent.
Why should employers consider using career pathing for employee retention? Career pathing is a proven employee retention strategy. Career pathing not only assists employers in ensuring their employees stay motivated, engaged, and committed to the company, but it also significantly increases employee retention rates and increases productivity.
With today's technology, it is easier to take action on how to improve the employee retention process. Companies can get a sense of employee satisfaction and then measure performance in a number of ways.
Using a job satisfaction scorecard, for example, organizations can track employees' job satisfaction scores for their current job and rating their job satisfaction for employees who quit or were laid off in the past 12 months.
Another option that employers can use to measure employee retention is an employee and corporate sentiment ratings. The sentiment ratings were developed by the American Psychological Association. They provide a metric for companies to measure the health of their employee and business communities.
Employee retention, a long term strategy
Employees are changing the game when it comes to creating a better workplace culture. By employing the right strategies, employers can help to maximize productivity while retaining talented employees.
The concept of employee engagement seems like a new concept to business leaders. However, there is an increase in organizations using some elements of employee engagement strategies to keep the focus on the employee and find a happy medium.
There is no one size fits all solution, so companies will need to customize their programs to meet the individual needs of employees. Each employee has different needs and challenges in their role, and how to optimize that will be unique to each employee. This is not as simple as getting people to wear a purple or pink shirt with a smiling face across their chest.
With the abundance of data available to identify employee behaviors, HR professionals can no longer rely on job creation numbers to drive decision-making, employee hiring decisions, or ensure that strategic business goals are being accomplished within their organizations.
Companies need to evaluate employee engagement and provide employees with tools and strategies to create a positive work environment where employees can thrive and feel motivated.
Leaders who address employee retention must look through the lens of creating customized employee engagement programs focused on the specifics of the employee and their needs. By doing this, the organization can optimize the retention efforts for each individual and increase its employer brand.
An employer's retention strategy should include ideas about the opportunities during the onboarding process, such as company orientation, new hire training, and one-on-one meetings with employees about professional development and continuing education opportunities. This should be supported with tools, training, and support so that the organization is seen as an employer of choice.
This article was written by Fawn Hentrel, Managing Partner.