Why Employees Quit: How to Increase Employee Retention

employee retention

Why Employees Quit: How to Increase Employee Retention

In order to retain good employees, you first need to look at why your employees might be leaving. Employee retention review is something that needs to be looked at regularly. Below are a few questions you may want to start with:

  • Do you have enough employees to handle the current or projected workload? If not, you could be stretching your employees a bit thin and making them burned out by long hours and heavy workload. According to a survey of Human Resource Directors conducted by Kronos Incorporated, 32% of employee burnout stems from an unreasonable workload. This is one of the top three factors in driving employee burnout.  
  • Have you rewarded your employees for their hard work on a project or are they looking at their 2018 wages and seeing little or no growth? They may not have faith that the future of the company is strong if raises or bonuses are not regularly handed out. In a 2015 American Psychological Association Survey, they looked at what is really stressing employees. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed report that they are stressed about money. Another 22% reported they are extremely stressed over finances.
  • Is the office workplace a positive place for all employees or are some feeling undermined or left out? Underappreciation or feeling failed by management creates a negative company culture. Unhappy workers cost the US between $450 to $550 billion dollars in lost productivity each year, according to a 2013 Gallup report.
  • Are family and work priorities pulling them apart? Employees value work/life balance and a poor work/life balance could incentivize them to look for jobs elsewhere. Prioritize overall employee wellbeing, and you’ll see the results in employee retention. In a Corporate Executive Board 2016 survey, they found that employees who felt they had a good work/life balance worked 21% harder than those that who did not feel there was an adequate balance.

These questions can hold the key to keeping top quality employees.

Employment Trends in 2018

We are seeing exciting trends for 2018.

US workers are seeing positive signs about their future job opportunities at the start of 2018.  This January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that unemployment is currently at 4.1%, the lowest since 2000 . This is significant with the additional statistic of job growth throughout the US, which is currently rising at a rate of 0.5% faster than in the previous decade.

This means that there are more jobs and employers are seeing the pool of prospective applications for jobs dwindling. Employers are looking for the best ways to keep their top talent.

In addition, the recent federal policy changes favor employers. Within the past month we are seeing more motivation to reward employees directly with boosted pay for hourly workers or one-time cash bonuses. Since the corporate tax rate was signed on December 22, 2017, more than 125 US employers have announced bonuses or pay increases for their employees for the fiscal year 2018.

How to Keep Good Employees

Stay Flexible

Personal time is important. Your employees want to know that you care about their lives both in and out of the office. If you expect employees to give up their personal time, take a conference call while on vacation, or work over a weekend to complete a project, then you should also allow them to take time off that they need during the work week. Having someone who supports them when issues arise in their personal life is very important. When employees are supported both in their job and in their personal lives, it will show in their attitude to their work and their dedication to the company overall. Larger corporations may have a well established Employee Assistance Program that can help manage personal life issues however a smaller company may not have this program established. “Taking a compassionate approach is a good thing to do, but it has to be applied evenly across the workforce. Otherwise it’s not fair,”  says Bensinger, DuPont & Associates COO Marie Apke.

Offer Benefits

Healthcare and retirement plans are top benefits that employees are looking at when comparing job offers. The ability to work from home, flexible vacation, and flexible working spaces allow your employees to be more productive with their time. CEO Cecilia Sepp from the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) has a flexible work from home policy. “The benefit isn’t the fact that you’re working from a remote office,” she says. “The benefit is the flexibility and work-life balance.” Not fighting long hours commuting to work can allow your employees to start their day off right; being able to take vacation when they want it will allow them to come back feeling refreshed and ready to work; and flexible workspaces encourage creativity and efficiency.

Higher hourly pay, bonuses, and matching contributions to 401(k)s, are additional ways that employers can take a positive step toward employee happiness and employee retention. It sounds logical that better pay for employees will make them happy, but let’s be clear: pay is not just about giving them more money, but also showing them that you know they are worth it. A raise or matching contributions to their future shows you are invested in them and what they do for the company. Education and training also emerged as two important pillars for workplace happiness, according to the Robert Half study. For the clear majority, work isn’t just about pay, with over a third willing to accept a lower salary to secure their ideal job.

Child care or an office-supported child facility can also be a great benefit. For example, Deloitte looked to the needs of their employees and offers an emergency backup care program for elder care and child care. If you need to be at work and your regular child care is not available, they have a program in place. Your company does not have to have a childcare facility on premise, but working together with a place where your employees’ children are during the day creates a strong sense of community. The juggle is real for working parents and finding quality, cost-effective solutions are difficult.  So companies are looking at ways to help your employees  focus more on their jobs and less on who is taking care of the baby tomorrow.  

Provide Unique Perks

Give your employees something they can’t get anywhere else. Does your company have VIP tickets to a local sports team or special event? Can you offer those tickets to a variety of employees, not just your top executives? Another option could be supporting a youth league. As much as your team needs supporting, so do local community organizations. This shows that you care about the community you work in and like to give back. According to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey of employed adults ages 21-35, millennials who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are nearly twice as likely to be very satisfied with their workplace and their career.

Another alternative is teaming up with local retailers to provide special shopping discounts. Shopping local and getting special discounts, or maybe special shopping hours, might be a great way to support your community and your staff.

Companies  are coming up with unique perks and benefits that relate to their mission statements. New Belgium Beer company gives special perks on employees’ job anniversaries.  At the first year anniversary, employees receive a Fat Tire Cruiser Bike. At five years, they take a group of all the five year celebrants to Belgium for one week to learn more about Belgium.

You could also consider offering education incentives to your employees and their children. Create unique celebrations for your employees instead of just a cake for all the birthdays in the month – perhaps gift cards to the movies or a birthday celebration for the department. For more ideas, check out 10 Fun Ways to Improve Employee Morale.

Technology Forward

Employees want to know that they are working for a company that cares enough to ensure their employees can get their job done. By taking advantage of new technology, businesses allow employees manage their tasks at hand without being slowed down by old systems. If you are using an old system that has not been upgraded to show relevant up-to-date projects, then your staff will likely get frustrated and spend more hours trying to handle simple tasks. Studies have shown that raising the number of employees who use computers can increase their overall output by as much as 5.4 percent. This productivity improvement results from giving two-thirds of manufacturing employees computer training. Getting a job done more efficiently allows for more time to work on new projects. Give your employees the tools to make them more successful.

Training and Education

Investing in education and training shows that you care about your employees’ growth and providing ways for employees to learn makes them stronger players in the company. “As workforce reshaping is a priority, understanding how you can hang on to the knowledge seasoned employees have and making sure it is captured and passed on the future generations could not be more important,” says Kristine Simmons, Vice-President of Government Affairs at the Partnership for Public Service. Consider paying for certifications or association memberships that allow your employees more opportunities to network with colleagues and learn about what trends are happening in their industry. Association memberships can often be overlooked by managers, but team members can develop a greater sense of self-worth and career motivation by attending local meetings and social events.

Direct Connections

Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. How long does it take to really do their job? What are the obstacles they are presented with daily – are they internal to the business or external? Are they balancing their office time and their family time to ensure they are not susceptible to job burnout? Are the managers and top executives presenting themselves as positive role models? Do the employees see a path to future growth in their own careers within the company? Connect directly with your team and you will see positive results. “When everyone is familiar with and understands one streamlined process the culture becomes much more cohesive,” says Lola Gershfeld, Psy.D, Board Dynamics Specialist and CEO at Level Five Executive.

You can ensure that your company is on the positive growth plan for retaining your employees.  Keeping that competitive edge in employee retention will give your employees the willingness to go the extra mile for you and your company.

For more on employee retention, contact Karen Curione.