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How to Reduce Voluntary Turnover

Written by Emily Peirce

Employee turnover is one of the more difficult problems for an organization to overcome.  It’s especially troubling when employees make the decision to leave a company, also known as voluntary turnover.  There are a lot of factors that can affect the tenure of a hire.  Since an employee’s reason for moving on isn’t always clear, it may seem like you couldn’t have done anything to prevent it.  However, that may not be the case.  In fact, 50% of employees who leave a job voluntarily cite issues with their direct supervisor as their reason for leaving.  In other words, people often quit their bosses, not their jobs.  That sounds somewhat dire, but there’s a silver lining to this grim statistic: it means employers have more control over voluntary turnover than they think. 

Offer Better Benefits

One way to incentivize your employees to stick around is by offering competitive benefits.  It’s obviously important to compensate your workers fairly, but what’s just as crucial is to make your employees feel valued.  Consider paying part or all of your employees’ insurance costs, or participate in 401K matching.  It makes your investment in your workers feel more tangible and personal.

Some incentives that aren’t directly related to money can also be a huge factor in making your employees feel valued.   Things like pet-friendly offices, group lunches, and company-backed charity efforts show that you appreciate what’s important to your employees.

It might be easy for your employees to find a job that pays more, but it’s a lot harder to replace the feeling of being valued as an employee and an individual.  That feeling is one of the things that makes people want to stay and work for you.

Faciliate Career Mobility

Another reason people leave their jobs is that they don’t feel their career is going anywhere.  Your best employees like to be challenged, and the absence of career and personal growth is often cited as a reason for moving on from an organization.  In fact, one survey found that 87 percent of companies believe that developing internal mobility programs would help improve employee retention.  In order to prevent employees from feeling stuck in a rut, provide clear expectations for how to move up in your company along with the opportunities to do so.  Promoting internally is a great start, but it’s equally important that all your employees have the chance to throw their hat in the ring if they are interested in an open position.  It ensures that everyone has a fair shot and that you’re really getting the best person for the job.

Career mobility doesn’t just apply to upward movement within your organization.  If they’re interested, don’t be afraid to cross-train your employees in other areas of your company.  Perhaps one of your well-performing salespeople is interested in transitioning into another department.  Rather than lose a great employee to turnover, why not train them in another area of your organization?  Not only is this a great way to hold on to good people, but it’s also a way to foster interdepartmental communication and to build a more productive team. 

Encourage Communication

To take the idea a step further, honest communication should be fostered throughout all levels of your company.  Communication is key to both maintaining work relationships and for setting expectations for your employees.  Try to offer both positive feedback and let them know what they can improve.  This prevents your workers from being frustrated by miscommunication, misunderstandings, and by a general lack of direction.

By the same token, it’s important that your employees have a means of addressing any concerns with you.  Make sure there are clear and appropriate channels by which you can receive employee feedback on any aspect of their job.  And when you do receive feedback, listen to it.  No one knows your business like the people who work there.  

Reward Success

With that said, suggestions and feedback aren’t the only contributions you should acknowledge in your employees.  In your efforts to make sure people stick around, don’t forget to acknowledge those who are going above and beyond for the company.  You should make the effort to recognize when someone is excelling and try to make sure even small victories aren’t overlooked.  As an employee, it’s encouraging to know that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.  It instills loyalty and a sense of fairness in your company culture that makes people want to stay.  These efforts go toward making your organization a place where your employees feel their contributions are valuable to you.

 Hire Smarter

One of the most obvious ways to make sure an employee isn’t going to jump ship, however, is to make sure you’re hiring the right people from the start.  A crucial part of finding the right people for the job is by making sure a potential employee’s goals and values are in line with your company.  Talk to your candidates about their expectations, and yours, and make sure they’re aligned before you start extending offers

 It’s also important to look at the aptitude and personality fit of a candidate.  Pre-employment testing can help you identify job applicants with the ability to do the job and the personality to thrive in it.  It’s an impartial hiring metric that’s proven to be significantly more predictive of success in a role than interviews or resumes.  When you utilize all the hiring tools at your disposable, you’re getting more information on your candidates so you can choose the right people for the job the first time around.

 

In the end, there are a lot of things you can improve within your company to make it more attractive to both potential candidates and current employees, but the sentiment is simple and consistent: build your company into a place people won’t want to leave-- and they won’t.

Emily Peirce

Written by Emily Peirce

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