Turn the Page on Turnover - Talentoday

4 Ways Companies Can Turn the Page on Turnover

It takes a lot of work to hire a new employee. Just think of all of that time and effort spent writing job descriptions, sourcing candidates, hosting interviews and making difficult decisions! At the end of all of it, everyone involved should have a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, high turnover rates can put a damper on any organization’s bright plans for the future. Instead of focusing on organizational and individual career growth, HR teams and managers must race to fill gaps while pushing their employees to do more with less. 

Indeed, employees are feeling this strain. Recent polling presented by HR Dive indicates that 62 percent of employees are feeling an extra pressure to do more at work, triggering 33 percent to note a marked decline in workplace happiness. All of these negative sentiments bubbled up to a troubling conclusion: “a third of survey-takers said their desire to stay at their job has decreased; another third said they are actively thinking about leaving their organization.” 

For struggling HR teams, moving forward while you’re stuck looking backwards to solve turnover troubles is simply unsustainable.

A Troubling Example

A recent study from the Wharton School tells the story of turnover pains in microcosm. Researchers worked with a Chinese cell phone manufacturer to track failure rates of their products over the course of four years. With an unprecedented amount of access to company data, they were able to pinpoint the exact date, time and location of assembly of each phone - along with the staffing levels at the time. Unsurprisingly, as weekly turnover rates in factories ticked up, so did the rate of product failure. The associated costs amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The takeaways for the employer turned some perceptions of their workplace upside down. While managers assumed that replacing a vacancy with an equally experienced person would solve the problem, this, too, proved to be disruptive. “That person who left has some knowledge that’s not easily replaced,” noted Ken Moon, professor of operations, information and decisions at Wharton. “Even though an assembly line is not a deeply collaborative workplace, there is still a need to coordinate with those around you. And that matters.”

Four Ways to Rethink Turnover

Examples like the one identified by the Wharton School represent a warning call for employers. While recruiting to fill gaps on teams is necessary, there needs to be a renewed focus on retention. Institutional knowledge is not accrued overnight. When teams are stretched too thin, employers can have little hope of providing proper onboarding and ongoing training to build that knowledge. 

In order to get from high turnover rates to promising retention rates, companies need to rethink turnover with four key areas of focus in mind: DEI, Growth, Communication and Culture. 

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Study after study has made it clear that employees want to work for companies that value diversity. Critically, they can also tell when they’ve been sold a bill of goods. Mentioning these key terms and commitments in job descriptions and your company’s digital presence is no doubt an important first step. Yet, not following through on those commitments risks alienating your workforce. Steps like hiring a team focused on DEI efforts, launching affinity groups and instituting regular check-ins with employees can take a company from words to action. 
  • Growth Opportunities: No one wants to take on a new role just to stay stagnant. According to Forbes, 76 percent of employees stated that they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training. When this doesn’t happen at work, one in two employees decide to pursue learning opportunities on their own. This opens employers up to risk. Rather than risk losing employees as they look elsewhere for development opportunities, build a robust, in-house training system that takes employees from onboarding to continuous skills development. 
  • Holistic Communication: Communication cannot be a one-way street. This was true when a majority of employees worked in a single location, and it’s even more true with the rise of remote and hybrid working environments. There’s no quicker way to lose talent than to make them feel as though their voice is not heard. Expanding opportunities for feedback through options like anonymous surveys and virtual town hall meetings is key in a decentralized workplace. 
  • Adaptable Culture: By now, it’s tiring to repeat that culture is crucial (but it is!) However, rather than doubling down on fitting employees into a predetermined box of the way things are, companies need to be open to expanding their culture through addition, not exclusion. Steps like diversifying the talent pool and tapping into the soft skills and people analytics data of your existing workforce can help inform the direction of your ever-changing organization. Culture is a living thing; it’s time to treat it that way! 

Are you ready to go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to managing your team to avoid costly turnover? Learn how Talentoday’s MyPrint assessment can provide a deeper understanding of your employees personality traits, motivations and behaviors.