How can leaders in an organization help HR professionals reduce employee turnover?
To help leaders best support HR and reduce employee turnover, we asked business leaders and HR professionals this question for their best advice. From scheduling regular meetings to humanizing your hiring process, there are several strategies that help leaders and HR professionals work together to reduce employee turnover in their organizations.
Here are 14 strategies to reduce employee turnover:
- Schedule Regular Meetings From The Start
- Have a Candid Conversation About Retention
- Review Your Entire Work Environment
- Act on Exit Interview Data
- Listen and Act on The Advice of Your HR Team
- Ensure an Inclusive Compensation Stack
- Pay Your Employees Well
- Develop Coaching Skills
- Invest in Better Leaders
- Lead by Example
- Consider Using a Recognition Platform
- Reflect on Why Employees Would Want To Stay
- Reframe The Responsibility of Retention To People Managers
- Humanize Your Hiring Process
Schedule Regular Meetings From The Start
When an employee is hired, they report to one direct supervisor, and there is an often overlooked golden opportunity in this scenario. The opportunity is for the supervisor and the employee to set up one-on-one meetings at the beginning of the employment relationship.
As an HR Professional, I am keen on ensuring that the employee I assist in hiring sets up a regular cadence of meetings to speak with their supervisor. I have a regular weekly meeting with my supervisor as well. In my opinion, everyone at all levels of the organization should regularly meet with their supervisor. This ensures that there is a regular window to time to have a discussion, whatever that discussion may be. In keeping the dialogue open and honest, the employee has the chance to share what they are and are not happy about in their current role before they start on the path to disengagement and potential resignation.
Nina Pavlichko, HR Manager at Qmerit
Have a Candid Conversation About Retention
Make no assumptions that you know what it will take to retain your best teammates. The equation of work has changed dramatically post 2020. The drivers for retention today are often different, and this is your opportunity to open a candid conversation about retention.
These one-on-one sessions will take time and commitment from your leadership team. However, I predict this will yield a return on this investment. Be present, fully ready to listen, and hear the requests of your teams. This direct feedback might need a follow-up conversation. This is the important work we need to do now amidst the many uncertainties that still remain. Team building starts one-on-one.
Diane Fennig, Senior Consultant at The Gallagher Group
Review Your Entire Work Environment
It's well known in the HR industry that a leading reason for the Great Resignation was employees leaving corporations in pursuit of a better work-life balance. Employees want to feel appreciated for their contribution to an organization. The pandemic was a huge wake-up for millions of people who reassessed the quality of their lives, and if companies want to reduce employee turnover, then they need to review the whole work environment.
Leaders can assist by offering more flexibility with work hours, for example. Showing empathy for the challenges employees have taking care of kids or loved ones or even finding time to get to a dentist without taking a day of unpaid leave. Introduce hybrid work environments or allow employees to work remotely once a week if your type of industry permits. Focus more on productivity than rigid work hours.
Sharon Terera, HR Consultant at Afrolovely
Act on Exit Interview Data
If you have a high level of employee turnover, conducting exit interviews with leaving employees can give you insights into why that is and identify trends in why staff are leaving – perhaps stress related to workloads, poor management, or that pay and benefits are not competitive enough. Armed with data, leaders can communicate that they are aware of issues and show how they are working to change organizational culture to address areas of concern positively, indicating a commitment to improvement from the top level of the business.
Camille Brouard, Senior Marketing Executive at myhrtoolkit
Listen and Act on The Advice of Your HR Team
Your HR professionals know why people are leaving. And if they do not, they can tell you what tools need to be put in place – whether it's employee survey tools, workforce analytics, or otherwise – to determine why. The primary reason HR professionals aren't able to make a tangible reduction in turnover is that their input goes unheeded.
In countless SWOT analyses, I've conducted for organizations, HR is actually willing to surface what the primary root cause of turnover is. And many times, both the processes and technology changes to positively impact turnover are documented for leadership. It is the moment when leaders must both acknowledge and sign off on those changes when the path towards improvement can break down.
Jeremy Ames, Senior Manager at Accenture
Ensure an Inclusive Compensation Stack
Ensure your full compensation stack is inclusive. Salary and health insurance are table stakes. Instead, pay attention to how you are filling the variable bucket. If you see low utilization of your perks and benefits, it's time to change up your strategy and try stipends (with 90% utilization!) for better engagement. More engaged employees mean happier employees, and happier employees mean higher productivity, better quality of work, and less burnout. These things are critical for retaining your talent and running a successful business.
Amy Spurling, CEO and Founder of Compt
Pay Your Employees Well
With inflation at an all-time high, volatility in the stock market, fears of a recession, and a historic labor shortage, offering competitive cash compensation is currently paramount in reducing employee turnover. Simply speaking, employees are stressed about cash flow, and opportunities with competitive pay are abundant. If your company cannot keep up, you will bleed talent. When evaluating your compensation program, ask yourself: Are you paying your employees a living wage? What about a competitive wage? If you can't afford to offer a competitive wage, are there other benefits or perks (e.g., flexible or remote work, reduced schedule, etc.) that could bridge the gap?
Sarah Dabby, Head of People at ClickTime
Develop Coaching Skills
The research is clear – turnover is most commonly due to the boss, manager, or supervisor. It follows that developing coaching skills and a coaching culture is key to changing outcomes. When leaders learn to coach, they develop their team, empower their team, and engage their team. How specifically does coaching reduce turnover? Instead of telling, micro-managing, demanding, limited or poor communication, with coaching skills, the leader will be interested in the people on their team, ask questions, empower, and communicate effectively.
Cathy Liska, CEO of Center for Coaching Certification
Invest in Better Leaders
Investing in leadership training and development to create better bosses is the greatest single way to reduce employee turnover as leaders carry the most influence as to whether staff stays or goes. Improving retention requires efforts to create a better place to work, and company culture is how people are treated within the organization, not what's written on Core Values posters on the wall. Companies that are serious about reducing turnover are now ensuring their leaders at every level have been given the proper tools and training to become Retention Champions. Retention Champions are magnetic and attract staff to come and stay with them over time.
Cara Silletto, President & Chief Retention Officer at Magnet Culture
Lead by Example
Leaders can help reduce employee turnover by living the company culture. Leaders in the company can exhibit collaborative behaviors that inspire others to do the same. This sense of fitting in and being a part of something bigger can contribute to enjoyment in the workplace. Another way leaders can reduce turnover is to focus on employee development. In combination with HR's help, finding out each employee's career goals will allow specific plans to be made for employees. This plan can help them achieve their goals, and this type of career fulfillment will foster company loyalty and reduce turnover.
Iohan Chan, Content Writer at Clark Staff
Consider Using a Recognition Platform
Employees want to feel seen within their organization. One way to do that is to make sure they feel recognized and appreciated for their day-to-day efforts at work. Gratitude helps people be more engaged at work which absolutely reduces turnover. Leaders and executives can't take that on alone, so they should empower everyone in the organization with a peer-to-peer recognition platform. Gratitude and recognition are important in helping people feel seen, and when team members feel seen they stay at their job longer.
Logan Mallory, VP of Marketing at Motivosity
Reflect on Why Employees Would Want To Stay
I recently happened to chat with a CEO who struggled with retention across the organization. The CEO was frustrated and angry at the situation, their competitors, and their employees. "All these companies keep calling up my employees, offering twice our salaries and stealing our talent! What do they have that we don't?" And there it was, the key flaw and mindset shift we had to work on: What do they have that we don't?
A lightning-fast way to solve this dilemma was simply flipping the question: What do we have that they don't? Instead of comparing with others, the CEO suddenly reflected upon reasons employees might want to stay. This was the first moment, they were intentional and crystal-clear about it themselves. The only thing left to do was to embed these top three or top five reasons across the employee lifecycle so that the next time their competitors tried poaching employees, they would confidently decline and know why to stay.
Manuel Schlothauer, Founder at HeyManuel
Reframe The Responsibility of Retention To People Managers
It's important that leaders reframe the responsibility of retention. Retaining great talent is the responsibility of everyone across the organization. However, it is primarily the responsibility of people managers. While recruitment and development are well-known duties of people managers, retention is often that missing link. Reframing retention as a core people manager responsibility mitigates otherwise imprudent decisions to separate and turns managers into advocates for internal mobility as misaligned talent needs to be upskilled and reskilled. Leaders would do well to empower people managers as a part of the solution to retention concerns by reframing the responsibility of retention as primarily theirs.
Alexander C. Pullen, Sr., HRBP, Inclusion & Belonging HubSpot
Humanize Your Hiring Process
In a hyper-competitive labor market, voluntary turnovers that stem from mismatched hires are exponentially more expensive. It's time to retire traditional job descriptions that use polished, catch-all narratives and only highlight the positive aspects of the job to attract candidates.
The new age of acquiring talent (for retention) warrants the use of Realistic Job Previews in the hiring process to give candidates a 360 view of the role upfront – with both the opportunities and challenges included – so that they can make an informed decision about their suitability for the job. Share a recorded "Day in the Life" video, leverage virtual job simulations, and spotlight real, human experiences from current employees. From the very first touchpoints with candidates, strive for alignment about the day-to-day realities of the job to reduce first-year turnover.
Hamsa Suresh, Entrepreneur-In-Residence & Head of Growth at Hacking HR
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