Why you should care about reducing employee turnover
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “people don’t leave their job, they leave their manager.” Companies around the world are learning how true this is, and are making concerted efforts to decrease employee turnover by improving their managers. In Gallup’s study, State of the American Manager, 50% of workers surveyed have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career," and "at least 75% of the reasons for voluntary turnover can be influenced by managers."
If your objective is to reduce your company's employee turnover, one of the most cost-effective and impactful steps you can take is to help your leaders be better at their job.
Here are 8 tips to give your managers to start reversing employee turnover at your organization:
1. Make an effort to improve your listening skills
Listening is one of the most important forms of communicating and is crucial for managers who are trying to pinpoint reasons for high employee turnover. Once your team members understand that you are an engaged listener and are willing to hear them out, they’ll be much more honest with you.
Why are people leaving? Are there small issues at the organization that can be easily fixed once they’re brought to the forefront? There is no better way to find out than to hear it directly from the team.
2. Recognize outstanding performance
66% of employees say that they will quit their job if they don’t feel appreciated. Amongst Millennials, this figure is 76%, which is why recognizing performance one of the most important things that a manager can do to see a decrease in employee turnover. It’s human nature to seek approval and recognition, so depriving team members of this dramatically increases the chances they will leave.
Showing appreciation isn’t limited to giving employee bonuses or physical gifts -- sometimes it’s as simple as going out of your way to commend team members for their hard work. One great way to do this is by scheduling regular performance review sessions where high performers have the opportunity to be praised and recognized for their hard work.
3. Create opportunities for growth and development
Harvard Business Review found that “workers who stay longer in the same job without a title change are significantly more likely to leave for another company for the next step in their career.” Do your employees seem unmotivated to develop their careers within the company? Help them create their own professional development goals so that they can envision a future of growth within the organization.
In addition to this, provide a straightforward path to career advancement and promotion. To avoid turnover caused by employees feeling stagnant, demonstrate that there are professional development opportunities on the horizon.
4. Be deliberate in building the right team
Hiring is often treated as a costly, time-consuming burden rather than an opportunity to improve a team. This is completely understandable. Work needs to get done, and oftentimes managers fill roles quickly rather than deliberately. Reducing employee turnover is easier when you have the right team to begin with.
Here are some common mistakes managers make while hiring:
- They don’t consider cultural fit in their selection process
- They don’t ask the right questions in the interview or afterward
- They don’t include the right people in the interview or decision process
- They’re not looking in the right places for candidates
- The job posting doesn’t match up with the realities of the position
There are many resources out there to help managers conduct better interviews, and finding the best system that works for you is a great first step in reducing employee turnover.
5. Involve team members in important decisions
As a general rule, employees are less receptive to change when they feel blindsided. Better solutions to problems often come from where you’d least expect them. Opening up the decision-making process to those that the decision will be effecting is crucial. Team members who feel they are contributing and needed are less likely to go in search of more fulfilling and meaningful work.
Open up channels of communication that allow you to engage with employees on a regular basis, and make sure that you’re receiving input from them before making these big decisions.
6. Give and receive meaningful feedback
Without feedback, there is no growth. Managers who are open to receiving feedback are better managers. Period. Reducing employee turnover starts with having effective and competent managers, and competent managers encourage feedback from their employees.
Giving your employees opportunities to give and receive feedback improves productivity, task efficiency, team communication, and creates for an environment of constant growth. Professional development goals are also far easier to achieve when team members are receiving feedback from their managers.
7. Set clear and realistic expectations
Managers who feel that team members aren’t meeting expectations often look to replace them for someone more fit for the responsibilities. But what if these expectations were never formally set? How can you hold employees accountable to expectations that haven’t been laid out in front of them?
Workplace responsibilities should be known to every employee, and there should be no ambiguity when it comes to what is expected of them in their role.
8. Make work enjoyable for your employees
If your employees dread coming to work, it’s no wonder that you have high turnover. Obviously we can’t all be playing ping-pong when we should be working on important projects (I’m looking at you, hip tech startups with 15% turnover rates), but a sterile, boring work environment should be avoided at all costs. Promote creativity and engagement by letting employees customize their work area and put art and plants around the office. Encourage employees to take breaks where they can get some fresh air and set the example yourself.
Create a comfortable work environment to attract and retain the best talent, because new generations of workers care more about having pleasant surroundings to get work done.
High employee retention pays huge dividends
Even if turnover isn’t tremendously high at your organization, it can still be costly when it happens. Replacing an employee can cost up to 30%-213% of their salary and can incur other non-tangible expenses along the way.
Improving your managers is your first line of defense in reducing employee turnover, and comprehensive management training can help get that done. Tasks like resolving conflicts, providing performance feedback, and delegating don’t always come natural to new managers. Reduce employee turnover and set your supervisors up for success by giving them the 8 tips above, and committing yourself to continually finding new ways to help them improve.
Bonus: infographic with these tips to share with the managers at your organization
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