There is a lot of talk about “future-proofing” organizations these days, but what does that mean? If you take it literally, it is the process of anticipating and developing methods to reduce or negate the effect of future adverse events. When applied to employee turnover you will need to examine what some of the major causes are so that you can proactively develop processes to minimize their effects.
Here are 5 common causes of employee turnover and techniques to future-proof against them:
- Poor Management. Managers that use command and control techniques, communicate poorly, play favorites, or don’t support their team members can cause people to quit their jobs. If your organization conducts exit interviews, they probably already know who these managers are, if not you should look for trends to see if a manager has a substantially higher turnover rate for their department or team. Many organizations promote and/or hire people into management roles because of a successful track record of doing their job, but that does not mean they will be successful at leading others.To future-proof against this type of turnover, organizations should proactively create mentorship and leadership development programs. These types of programs should focus on how to lead, delegate, empower, coach, and recognize others. Managers should be held accountable for following these processes. Employee retention can be added as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) in the manager’s performance review to track their effectiveness.
- Lack of Recognition. Managers are often quick to point out what people are doing wrong or need to fix, but rarely look for opportunities to tell people what they are doing right. This is called “negative reinforcement” and is less effective than positive reinforcement when it comes to engaging and retaining people. People today want to know that they are appreciated and valued by their managers and organization.Organizations that want to proactively address this area can make sure every manager knows “how” to give positive recognition on a regular basis, not just once a month or once a year. Every manager should be able to see positive characteristics, attributes, or abilities in each team member. Pointing out to the employee when they are using these strengths is called, “Strength Centered Feedback” and is a powerful motivator when done correctly. Organizations can also implement more formalized systems for opportunities for employees to receive greater recognition. There are many kinds of these programs, some of which you may be familiar with such as, “Peer Recognition”, “Employee of the Month”, “Presidents Club”, and “Years of Service” awards.
- Unrealistic Expectations. Employees are being asked to do more, faster, better, and with fewer resources than ever before. When the pressure is on because of supply chain issues, or the organization is shorthanded because of employee turnover, they may be tempted to drive their people to do the job of 2 or 3 people. This type of unrealistic expectation can cause people to experience elevated and prolonged stress levels, and in turn burn them out, causing additional turnover.Managers need to set realistic goals for the employees that show up for work. This may require managers to manage expectations from senior management and/or customers. When employees see that a manager is going to bat for them by tempering workload expectations it creates added loyalty and trust in that manager.
- Lack of learning and development opportunities. Today’s employees want to know that they are growing and being developed. Organizations that don’t feel that it is important to invest time and money to develop their people are paying the price with attrition rates. Employees who feel like they are stagnating, board, or stuck in a dead-end job no longer stay with their organization, they quit! And the cost of constant turnover is killing many organizations.Organizations need to launch multiple types of training such as cross training, technical training, leadership training, and continual development of their people. Not only will these types of training help retain employees, but they also help with succession planning when it comes to promotions and/or filling gaps when disasters strike. Managers should also be evaluated on how well they develop their people.
- Company Culture. Culture usually stems from motivating factors as opposed to maintenance factors. Any of the above reasons for employee turnover can feed into a toxic culture, but there are many more. Motivational factors must be addressed, or the culture can become toxic. Often, when a toxic company culture is present the organization will implode and destroy itself.Companies often use “employee satisfaction” or “employee engagement” surveys are used by many organizations to take an internal pulse of the organizational culture. The results can often expose blind spots that senior management may not be aware of. The challenge is that often little is done with the results, and sometimes senior management justifies the results with excuses to protect egos from getting hurt. However, action must be taken to improve the results of the surveys, if the organization wants to change the culture, and it must be an initiative that is championed by the senior leaders.
While organizations may think these five areas are common sense, as organizations are faced with the fast-changing reality of today’s business environment, they are not common practice. To proactively future-proof your organization start addressing the areas above that are causing your organization to lose employees, and you will see a rise in retention rates as well as increased productivity.
Retention Strategies for Leaders
August 25, 2022
9:00 AM to 10:30 AM