Every time your organization loses a great employee, it hurts. Although some unfortunate turnover is inevitable and expected, when too many of those losses start to add up, the entire employee experience can crumble like dominoes.
The impact of employee turnover, particularly regrettable turnover—it can be felt throughout the company, from dips in productivity to hurt team morale. In today’s competitive talent market, replacing top performers is difficult and expensive, and high turnover is a serious threat to business success.
As a strategic HR leader, you’ve no doubt felt the pressure to increase employee retention. But the reasons behind the turnover aren’t always clear and often complex. While there is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some tried-and-true methods for uncovering the root causes of woeful turnover and some tried-and-true best practices for retaining more of your best talent.
What is woeful rotation?
Unfortunate turnover occurs when an employee’s departure from the company has a negative impact on the organization, or when a high-performing employee decides to leave on their own.
One misstep many HR leaders make is failing to differentiate between unfortunate and unfortunate turnover. Bundling the entire rotation and applying general solutions to the problem will not give great results. These efforts could reduce some turnover, but it doesn’t give you the ability to focus on retaining the people you most want to retain: your top performers.
Read on for five proven ways to meet the demands of today’s workforce and reduce woeful turnover in your organization.
Using data to identify the causes of voluntary turnover
Taking a closer look at employee data can reveal insights into your company culture and areas that need improvement. Tracking woeful turnover metrics can help you understand more about high performers leaving your company and what might be driving them away.
Start by working with company leaders and managers to identify what traits and behaviors make someone in your organization a superior performer, then use that profile when tracking dismal turnover. It’s helpful to know how many top performers are leaving, what teams they’re on, and any other circumstances surrounding their departure.
Just tracking where your woeful turnover is coming from can tell a story and alert you to potential areas of concern. For example, let’s say your pitiful employee turnover rate as an organization is only 2%. But, when you look at the metrics at the team level, you notice that the dismal turnover in the customer success team is 12%. This discrepancy tells you that something may be going on within that team and should be investigated further.
For a deeper dive into the data, tools like employee engagement surveys can help you uncover issues that may be occurring on specific teams or within certain groups of employees, and even allow you to predict — and hopefully prevent — future turnover. unfortunate.
Improve communication and feedback between employees and managers.
You can understand why an employee might want to look elsewhere for work if they feel they are not understood or have no say in their current workplace. The ability to safely give and receive feedback between peers and managers is critical to retaining top talent.
In our 2022 Workplace Report, we found that more than half (53.8%) of employees say that a top reason for leaving a company is a lack of support from management. To improve employee-manager relationships and begin to reduce voluntary employee turnover, identify what a good manager looks like in your organization and develop a plan to upskill managers throughout the organization.
Managers should hold regular one-on-one meetings with each of their direct reports to discuss priorities, challenges, and opportunities for growth. Empowering managers with communication tools that give them visibility into their employees’ progress allows them to listen and address any concerns or roadblocks their team members encounter, before they escalate into bigger issues.
Be transparent and offer competitive benefits and compensation
The promise of more money elsewhere can be a great motivator for an employee to leave, especially if they are already dissatisfied or disconnected from their current role. In a recent study of Pew Research Center63% of workers who quit a job in 2021 cited low pay as a reason.
All employees, but particularly high performers, want to feel that they are valued and that they are growing within their organization and in their career. And while it’s not the only thing people consider, compensation is inevitably an important factor that all employees consider to gauge how much their company values them (or not). Nearly a quarter of workers even report discussing pay with their coworkers, according to a 2019 Marketplace-Edison Survey.
Offering competitive wages and benefits is obviously important—it’s HR 101. But one area where many companies don’t do so well is providing a transparent compensation philosophy.
Employees need to see how their pay is determined and what they need to do to increase their earnings, with clearly defined opportunities for promotions and raises. Otherwise, they may make incorrect assumptions or feel that they are not being paid fairly. This puts them at much higher risk of being ousted by another potential employer with an attractive offer.
Promote work-life balance and embrace cultural transformation
The days of glorifying “hustle culture” are over. Today’s top talents demand a work/life balance and most will not hesitate to change jobs in search of a better culture. In fact, MIT Sloan School of Management found that a toxic company culture was ten times more likely to contribute to turnover than compensation.
To retain top talent, organizations must be more willing to embrace flexibility and reinvent the employee experience. Post-pandemic, many companies are keeping the option for employees to work remotely, at least some of the time. Reimagining what work looks like and offering employees more flexibility can increase engagement and allow high performers to thrive.
In an article for Forbes, Shane Metcalf shared how transformational changes, like implementing a 4 day work week it can lead to happier employees and better performance. “Since the beginning of 2020, new remote or hybrid employees have been burned out due to the lack of boundaries between work and life. A four-day workweek can create more structure around work and adds a weekday off to rejuvenate, manage life’s affairs and often deepen relationships with family,” she said.
Invest in employee development and provide clear career paths
If you’re trying to increase retention, don’t underestimate the importance of career development and growth opportunities, especially when it comes to high-performing employees. Sixty-three percent of employees who quit a job in 2021 cited a “lack of opportunities for advancement” as a factor in their decision to quit, according to research bank.
When your best employees feel stuck in one role or see no room to grow within the organization, they will look to continue their career path elsewhere. High achievers want to be challenged and feel like they are unlocking new levels of achievement. That’s why it’s critical for them to have career-focused conversations with their managers and have ambitious goals to strive for.
At 15Five, we use the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) framework to align and motivate employees to achieve personal and professional goals. The OKR methodology works well for high performing teams, as the goals are aspirational and provide a clear path to achievement and growth. Whether you use OKR or some other system, what matters is that you set goals as part of your culture, to motivate and retain your top talent.
Get the guide to reduce unfortunate churn
Losing too many great employees? A pitifully high churn rate can be detrimental to an organization, so 15Five decided to develop a guide that specifically focuses on combating it. Learn the different types of employee turnover, how to identify unfortunate turnover, and how to start taking steps to reduce it, with this practical guide for HR leaders.