Employee retention matters. A recent Gallup article says voluntary employee turnover costs U.S. businesses a trillion dollars every year. That’s trillion with a “t.”
The same article cited a Bureau of Labor Statistics annual turnover rate in the U.S. of 26.3% (2017). Multiply that by the cost of replacing employees, often between one-half to two times their annual salary. It’s no wonder the cost estimate is so high!
These statistics don’t account for intangibles that also walk out the door. Things like, knowledge, experience, relationships, and skills.
Why Good Employees Leave
The best and brightest in any organization have lots of options. Corporate headhunters tend to recruit from this pool. Every employer hopes to find these persons among their candidates for job openings.
Why would these stars be searching elsewhere? The answers might be too obvious. Some aren’t feeling challenged in their work. Others may resent being passed over for promotions. Quite a few are feeling unappreciated.
More than half of those who voluntarily leave their jobs say their manager or organization could have prevented it.
Many employees leave because they dislike their manager. Some cite a toxic culture that tolerates gossip, harassment, or bullying. Of course, money and benefits also make the list.
How to Improve Retention
Leaders often overlook the things that matter most to their best and brightest employees. Actually, these things matter to every team member.
- Ask me how I’m feeling about my job. When nobody in leadership cares enough to have a simple conversation about job satisfaction, is it any wonder employees want to leave? If I don’t know what the future holds for me and my family, why would I stay?
- Offer regular feedback and meaningful praise. This is another obvious piece of advice, yet many leaders either aren’t doing it or not doing it well. Feedback and praise must be timely, specific, and delivered in a sincere way.
- Schedule regular one-to-one meetings. I once worked for a company that practiced this from top to bottom in the organization. The agenda was driven by the direct report, not the manager. I was encouraged to share perspectives about the company, my work, and my manager. My ideas were valued. I felt empowered.
- Invest in training and development. This is especially true for soft skills, like emotional intelligence or productive conflict. Too often only the leadership has access to training. Everyone benefits from learning about themselves and the work priorities of others. Teams flourish when they know how to work together.
Is employee retention an issue in your organization? Then coaching managers and leaders about how to do these four things is a great place to start. Much of my client work is done in support of leadership. It’s gratifying to watch the culture transform when leaders are better equipped to do their jobs.
Don’t wait until retention becomes a problem. Start implementing these tips and keep your best and brightest engaged and satisfied with their jobs. Your company’s future depends on it.
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