How Leaders Can Fight Employee Turnover in 2022

April 3rd, 2022Remote Work

Employee Turnover keeps hundreds of thousands of managers awake at night. In the wake of the Great Resignation, managers are scrambling to crack the code on how to tackle high employee turnover rates, particularly in new remote and hybrid contexts.

What is Employee Turnover?

Employee Turnover looks at the number of employees in a certain period that leave an organization. More specifically, this phrase looks at the rate at which employees leave a company and are replaced by new employees.

What's the Cost of Employee Turnover?

You know high turnover at your organization is bad, but how bad is it exactly? Just looking at the financial equation of staff turnover, you can see that well... it's quite terrible.

A Gallup analysis found that replacing an individual employee costs "from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary.". On a more macro level, this problem sizes up to be a 1 Trillion dollar issue facing businesses across the country.  

What's the cost outside of the financial equation?  

Beyond the financial implications of a high turnover rate, there's a lot more at stake that often gets overlooked.

Looking at employees as more than just numbers will allow you to see that losing a star team member, who not only contributes significantly to business objectives but also contributes to company culture, can have a massive effect on your organization.

Relevant to this perspective is how high turnover affects employee morale. Suppose that 5 of your company's star employees quit within one month, the employees remaining are left with the loss of these people and a creeping intuition that perhaps they should consider leaving as well.

Employee Turnover in a Remote or Hybrid Context

Perhaps your organization has figured out how to avoid employee turnover in an in-office, in-person setting, but the Remote and Hybrid contexts are entirely new arenas. Managers and HR leaders are being forced to reassess their retention tactics and modify them to apply to the realities of this new way of working.

How Leaders Can Fight Employee Turnover in 2022

Understanding the importance of fighting employee turnover is easy, but taking steps to fight it and improve retention rates takes time, effort, and budget allocation. Below are five ways to fight staff turnover and increase retention rates.

Understand Your State of Employee Turnover

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Before implementing a boatload of solutions for what you think your organization needs, stepping back and getting a clear picture of your staff turnover story is vital.

Look at your company's historical turnover data to understand how these metrics have changed over time and what might be reasonable key performance indicators for your efforts and target turnover reduction rate. If you don't have access to this data, simply begin with the most recent data.

In this assessment, here are some initial questions to look for answers to:

  1. How long are people staying at the organization?
  2. What job levels, titles & departments see the most turnover?
  3. What are the main reasons that those leaving attribute to their departure?

Foster Company-Wide Connection

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A recent Harvard Business Review article explains that 'not feeling a sense of belonging' and 'employee disconnection' are some of the main drivers of employee turnover. What's more, the transition to work from home formats has left 65% of workers feeling less connected to their coworkers.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, work friendships have proven to greatly increase productivity and engagement.

What's key in fostering connection amount employees is making it truly fun and purposeful. Companys like TriplePlay work with organizations like Telus, Deloitte, Certn and HiMama through employee engagement challenges, formally known as 'Office Cups.'

Fun-forward, recurring rituals like Office Cup challenges introduce an abundance of benefits, including:

  1. Team pride and belonging through team score tracking & rankings
  2. Individual recognition through individual score tracking
  3. Cross-department relationship building through game formats requiring connection
  4. Day-to-day joy through the act of play

Welcome Feedback & Act on it

Design meeting
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Simply stating that you have an 'open feedback culture' won't cut it.

Practising what you preach by truly fostering and encouraging upward feedback at the manager and full-company level is a must. A recent study found that employees who do not feel safe giving upward feedback have a 16% decrease in their retention rate.

With this, pulse surveys relating to all facets of an employee's job and work experience are vital to get an accurate picture of flight risk. What's more important is taking this feedback and acting on what you hear.

For example, 79% of Canadian employees working remotely want to continue to do so. Understanding your employees' perspectives on this subject should be the starting point for designing your remote or hybrid policies. If this feedback is not given by employees or accepted by employers, job satisfaction can plummet as employees leave to find organizations that listen to their needs.

Equip Your Managers With Skills & Tools

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Having a great manager can be the primary reason an employee decides to stick around. It's not surprising that the opposite effect occurs when someone does not like their manager. While none of this is surprising, managers can often experience a lack of support with skills and tools to help them do their job well.

Ensuring that your managers are equipt with the skills and tools they need is vital to breaking the employee turnover cycle and boosting employee satisfaction.

Here are some tools that assist managers in their mandates:

  1. TriplePlay for ready-made, team building game socials
  2. Slack for easy and quick collaboration and communication
  3. Asana for project management
  4. Notion for documenting and tracking

Here are some courses that Forbes recommends for managers:

  1. Improve
  2. Business Intensive
  3. Arlan’s Academy
  4. VirtualSpeech
  5. Building a Second Brain
  6. Bob Iger Teaches Business Strategy and Leadership

Up Your Onboarding

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Fighting a high turnover rate almost always involves reassessing how your company onboards employees. Why is this so important? HBR explains that "Organizations with a standardized onboarding process experience 62% greater new hire productivity and 50% greater new hire retention."

Below are key areas to ensure you've built into your onboarding process:

  1. Company Culture / Social Onboarding: Ensuring your new hire is integrated with their new employee cohort, small team and company at large through social rituals and games
  2. Mentorship / Buddy Systems: Matching each new hire up with 2-3 mentors or buddies within the company to help with their transition and offer an outlet for support and guidance
  3. Defining Short & Long Term Goals: Establishing both professional and personal goals with the new hire to establish direction and motivation.
  4. Technical onboarding: Spending appropriate time with new hires to teach them the technical aspects of their job and providing them with helpful follow up resources

Final Thoughts

Smiling woman by a window
Photo by Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

The road to reducing employee turnover might seem daunting, but the tactical steps to making this happen are right in front of you and your employees will thank you for it.