Unlocking the Secrets of Employee Retention
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the world. A landmark event in human history, we now refer to timing as “pre-COVID” “during the pandemic” or “the new normal.” And while there are many negatives associated with COVID, most people agree that one of the most positive outcomes was increased workplace flexibility.
Employee satisfaction is a common performance measure with many reports claiming job satisfaction is most related to flexible work schedules because it provides employees with better health, increased work-life balance, and less stress. It also benefits employers with higher productivity, reduced absenteeism, and decreased turnover. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, turnover has increased at a compounded annual rate of 2% between 2013-2022. So, we have to ask: Why does employee turnover continue to rise, when flexibility is at an all-time high?
Factors of job satisfaction
According to Indeed.com, the top 5 reasons employees seek opportunities elsewhere include:
- 1. The need for greater challenges
- 2. Desire for higher pay
- 3. Lack of inspiration in current role
- 4. Wanting to feel valued by their organization
- 5. Seeking a better management relationship
It goes without saying that once an employee decides to leave, there’s a significant impact on the company. First, there’s a high cost associated with replacing an employee. There are a lot of studies outlining the cost, some have ranges from 33% to nearly 400% of an employee’s salary, while others are more defined, using 50% to 75%.However, employee turnover not only has financial implications, it also negatively affects the culture with remaining employees experiencing decreased morale and productivity. This was shown in 2020 with the “Great Resignation” when employee departures triggered a chain reaction. When one person leaves, it can cause others to evaluate their situation and, in many cases, discreetly check the “open to work” box on their LinkedIn profile.
So how do companies combat this wave of employee exodus? First, they need to acknowledge there may be internal factors causing a loss in job satisfaction. Then, they need to take steps to identify and understand the underlying issues. Unfortunately, many companies rely on exit interviews for this information. But most exit interviews fall short in identifying the employee’s true reasons or motivations to leave. Think about it – when the exit interview occurs, it’s too late to address an employee’s issues or problems. Employees recognize this and, in addition to a lack of anonymity, answers aren’t always honest or complete. Often times this is done to not “burn a bridge” for future references or interactions. Finally, employees often cite “more money” or “better opportunities” as reasons for leaving, but that is not the root of the problem. You need to uncover the reason(s) that made them start looking in the first place.
Conducting an effective employee satisfaction study
To truly understand the mindset of your workforce, you need to conduct annual employee satisfaction studies, be open to and act upon the responses, and track the results over time. By doing so, your leadership can identify and address issues that will help improve employee satisfaction.
First and foremost, the survey must be anonymous. Using a neutral, third party is best, but if that’s not an option, use an online survey tool and avoid asking identifying questions. You also need to be transparent and share the results with employees. This validates the time and effort they gave to provide input and demonstrates that leadership is listening. Finally, share your action plan. Nothing frustrates employees more than when an organization asks for feedback, the employee takes the time to provide it and then there’s no meaningful change. That’s not to say that everything needs to be changed at one time, but setting and communicating goals and improvement initiatives shows the organization is committed to employees, their feedback, and the culture, which results in boosting overall morale.
Like many things in “the new normal,” the work landscape continues to evolve, especially as more companies are requiring employees to return to the office for a pre-determined number of days each month. Now, more than ever, companies must protect their most valuable assets – their employees. By taking the initiative to measure employee sentiment and address the factors driving dissatisfaction, companies can cultivate a culture that fosters engagement and loyalty. This results in a workforce that is engaged and committed to achieving organizational excellence.
The experts at Unmuted can help you measure your employees’ satisfaction and track it over time. For information on how we can help, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.