What are you doing to engage and retain them?
It was reported recently by The Wall Street Journal that 3.4 million people chose to leave their jobs in April due to strong economic growth and record-low unemployment. They have become emboldened by a 4% unemployment rate and believe they can fare better in other organizations. More than one in seven of the nation’s 6.1 million jobless Americans in May were voluntarily unemployed, having left a previous position to look for another. Job-hoppers also tend to get better pay; those who move to a new job got a roughly 30% annual pay boost.
Add to this the Gallup poll on employee engagement that measures those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Gallup reported an incredibly low engagement rate of only 15% for employees in US corporations.
All of this is leading to huge problems for organizations. The cost of employees leaving an organization can be 30% or more of their annual salary. For highly skilled workers it can be as high as 213% of the cost of one year’s compensation, according to the Center for American Progress.
So, what can you do? How can you possibly prevent employees from leaving with tremendous opportunity, highly competitive pay and low engagement? A report from HuffPost cites growth opportunities as one of the 3 keys to employee retention.
Creating internal opportunities, even for lateral movement, inside of the organization can help retain employees who are looking for new opportunities. Maybe more permanent relocation of talent is difficult. If so allow workers to be in special project groups. Special project teams will raise the performance bar, re-energize and let people stretch their wings, even if it is only for a short time.
Training opportunities can also play a role. Keep in mind, however, that according to a recent Bersin by Deloitte report employees only have 1% of their workweek to devote to development. That’s less than 5 minutes, so microlessons should be an essential component of your development strategy. Video-based, bite-sized learning that can run on mobile devices can help engage and retain millennials as well as the rest of your busy workforce.
Sure, employees love to receive cash incentives, but they are not always necessary. Recognition is also a key component in retention. Simply let people know that you care. Career expert and best-selling author Beverly Kaye suggests running stay (instead of exit) interviews. Ask people what they like, or don’t like about the company and let them know you’re listening. If publicly recognizing achievements make sure you recognize people in a way they are comfortable with. Some people don’t want to be acknowledged in front of a large group and would prefer a more personal approach.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do something. With the opportunities available in today’s labor market your best talent may already have one foot out the door.