The facts on employee retention are sobering at best. Nearly one-third of all employees are actively disengaged, and more than half see themselves jumping ship within a year of starting a new job. Despite measures to improve workplaces and offer better benefits, these numbers have not budged much over the last few years. Many workplaces have become so stagnant that the way the corporate culture reads on external marketing sources no longer matches what goes on inside.
A new Glassdoor study Why Do Workers Quit?, indicates that when workplaces become stagnant and employees do not advance in their careers at an expected rate, they are much more likely to leave for better opportunities. The biggest factors that lead to positive retention? The quality of an employer’s culture and values, combined with better opportunities for career growth and high overall employee satisfaction resulted in better retention overall, Glassdoor found.
HR plays a key role in creating better workplaces
The new HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®) study, Strategic HR Emerges as a Company-Wide Priority, indicates that less than 1 in 3 HR leaders say strategic HR initiatives have been embraced at their organizations.
“All companies must be looking at hiring with the future in mind," Amy Schabacker Dufrane, Ed.D., SPHR, CAE, and CEO of HRCI told HR Dive. “By investing in the performance of employees through enhanced compensation and benefits, and observing high performers to see how work gets done, corporate cultures can only improve. But this must be a concerted and shared effort between the C-suite and HR.”
How employers can increase the employee happiness factor
With ever-pressing skills shortages impacting many industries, what can employers do to increase the engagement and happiness level of their best workers to eliminate stagnancy? To answer this, consider some of the factors that lead to failing workplaces around the nation.
Recruitment doesn't focus on matching hires with the right managers
HR Dive spoke with Tonya Lanthier, CEO of DentalPost, a leading dental job board and community, about the importance of hiring the right candidates who compliment their managers.
“Using assessments, leaders have the ability to understand their personality types in order to then select candidates who are best suited to work for them,” Lanthier said. This is especially important in the dental field where a well-matched team of dental hygienists work more efficiently with a dentist based on his or her personality and work style.
Many companies forget the importance of proper onboarding or path finding
Onboarding should never be a one-day, rushed orientation after which new hires are asked to ‘sink or swim’. A consistent, proper on boarding can make a huge difference in the long term experience of a new employee.
Another real problem that can lead to poor retention of employees, especially those who are part of Gen Y and Z, is the lack of direction in terms of career paths. Each job type should have at least a basic outline of where it can evolve and grow into future leadership roles, based on employee performance goals. This can be discussed at regular meetings with employees.
Organizations forget that when employees are happy, customers are happy
Lanthier mentioned that a problem she sees most often are unhappy dental office personnel who protect negativity. This comes across as stagnancy in the workplace that unfortunately impacts the experience for patients too. Employers need to be mindful of this and understand what factors are making employees dissatisfied, listening with an open mind to those who complain.
Corporate cultures are inauthentic and dysfunctional at best
The culture of an organization that is projected to the outside world doesn't always match what goes on behind the closed doors of the workplace.
"Corporate culture is very important in this gig economy, and it comes across in many ways — in every communication and experience of employees,” Dufrane said. Take the time to find out what employees actually think about the culture during exit interviews and this can help to create a culture that is more aligned with the values of both the company and employee expectations.
Compensation often falls short of employee needs and expectations
Another major factor that causes employees to become attracted to other career opportunities is the failure of companies to keep up with the current cost of living vs. compensation. Employees are savvy enough to see what competitors are paying. When organizations understand this and take proactive measures to make sure employees are paid fairly — or communicate to employees perhaps why they can't pay the market rate if not possible — employees feel keyed in and listened to by the company.
There is much to be done in organizations to improve the culture and experience for employees. By considering some of the above factors, leaders and HR can partner together to improve retention rates and attract quality talent in the future.