Look around you. The world has changed both with the recent pandemic as well as with the coming of the younger generations into the workforce. Mass layoffs and furloughs that employers had to do to combat the stay at home orders during the pandemic eroded the trust that many employees had in their organizations. On top of that, the days when people would work for a single company their entire career are all but gone. Millennials comprise the largest percentage of the workforce. These younger employees consider trust an important factor in where they choose to work; and these younger employees consider job-hopping as a way to quickly advance their careers. Today, employee retention is a crucial driver of organizational financial performance, so organizations need to prioritize retention as a key initiative.
The need for organizations to act both strategically and with urgency to retain employees has never been more important. Many organizations have made a concerted effort to retain employees, but unfortunately, many of these same companies have systemic problems that keep them from eliminating turnover of high performing people. This is problematic when good talent can “call the shots” because other organizations want them too.
It is time to develop a robust retention strategy to keep these valuable employees. Let’s examine how to develop a three-pronged retention strategy by focusing on turnover data, mobility, and inclusion.
First, look at why people leave your organization. What are the key turnover points for your workforce in general (Example: Is it ninety days, six months, three years)? Is there a specific department that produces the most turnover? (Example: Development, Customer Service, IT, Sales?) Or, do these turnover points vary by diversity factors (Example: Do women, for example, leave sooner)?
Executive leadership must get a clear picture of what is going on and deeply understand the cause of these trends so they can build an effective retention strategy.
Second, examine the mobility employees may or may not have. Mobility refers to the deployment of internal employees whether it be promotions, lateral moves, or job rotation. Are employees encouraged to apply for new roles within their organization?
Mobility is a key motivational factor for the younger generations in the workforce. These employees like to be developed and like to know there is room to grow in the organization. Building an effective retention strategy will require this strategic factor to be addressed by the organization.
Finally, leaders have to examine if the organization promotes an inclusive culture. When you have an inclusive culture, you are making a conscious effort to help people feel that they belong. Be aware that subtle messages, such as who gets high-profile assignments on the team, who gets invited to meetings, or how people are recognized can affect the perception of inclusion by employees.
Defining what behaviors are acceptable and expected from leaders and employees at all levels establishing policies and then training everyone on them will help create a culture of inclusion.
Organizations that ignore retention will be at a disadvantage. Strategically addressing employee retention can help keep high performing employees and increase organizational performance. Examining and implementing a strategy around turnover data, mobility, and inclusion will give your organization the edge to succeed today and in the future.