How to stop turnover in its tracks: 5 helpful tips

The best defense against high turnover is a proactive approach. Here are five tips to consider.

According to the "2022 Retention Report" from the Work Institute, U.S. employers cumulatively pay $700 billion annually in turnover-related costs. Those expenditures come in the form of lost productivity, wasted time and lower morale, as well as recruitment and onboarding expenses.

The report, which used data from 234,000 exit interviews, found the top reasons for turnover to be:

  • Career development (21%): It's a job seeker's market, and today's workers rarely hesitate to jump at an opportunity that can elevate them to their next career step.
  • Work-life balance (13%): Employees want the ability to work remotely and have schedules that avoid peak traffic congestion.
  • Manager behavior (11%): Unsupportive managers leave employees feeling like they're stranded on island without hope of rescue.
  • Well-being (9%): Increasingly, job seekers expect employers to offer support for personal and family health issues.
  • Compensation (9%): When workers feel their pay doesn't match the amount of work they do, they're likely to look elsewhere.

The best defense against high turnover is a proactive approach. Here are five tips to consider:

1. Offer a competitive compensation package

Raising employee salaries may seem like an obvious solution to high turnover rates, but it isn't always possible. In that case, HR leaders may need to consider other ways to compensate employees.

For example, offering more opportunities to earn paid-time-off can help employees to gain the level of work-life balance they're looking for. Additionally, small, everyday acknowledgements of hard work like a hand-written letter from management can make workers feel appreciated.

2. Assess your office culture

A toxic workplace culture will drive out top performers if you don't take steps to remedy it. Without intervention, an unwelcoming environment will only feed in on itself as negative emotions brew. This will lead to higher rates of absenteeism, lower productivity and, of course, higher turnover.

"Assessing your office culture is absolutely key for retaining top talent and growing successful teams," says Shawna Bestreich, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Associates Division in Dallas. "Even your most loyal employees may leave if the workplace becomes toxic, so establishing the culture early on by communicating your vision and your long-term strategy is crucial. Following up and periodically 'taking the temperature of the room' is also critically important – just because your team was happy six months ago, doesn't mean that holds true forever."

If you're not sure how your office culture impacts your employees, it's time to ask them. Conduct a simple survey to learn what workers love about their jobs and what they'd like to see improve.

Unhappy workers are likely to pack up their things and find a different employer.

3. Develop a strategy for communicating change

Sudden change can send shockwaves through an office. For instance, the unexpected departure of a senior staff member can cause distress, anxiety, and invite damaging office gossip. When employees feel uncertain about their job security, they're more likely to look for new opportunities.

Your operations leaders and HR stakeholders should work together to develop a system for communicating organizational changes to staff members. Preparing everyone for a change in management and then following up with question-and-answer sessions can ease anxieties.

4. Conduct exit interviews

As with almost every business task, data is key to employee retention. Your observations and gut instincts can only tell you so much about a situation. Therefore, it's vital to collect information on employee feelings when you have the opportunity.

Conducting exit interviews that focus on constructive criticism can highlight pitfalls you didn't previously know existed.

5. Hire people who are right for the job

Employees in their first 12 months on the job tend to have the highest turnover rates. In many cases, people get hired only to learn they don't really like the job. Assessing your hiring process is one of the easiest ways to address this concern, but it may take a lot of work. A professional recruiter can help you pinpoint weak spots in your strategy and make suggestions for improvement.

For more information on how to improve employee retention at your organization, check out our resource center today.

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