The constant battle for hiring and retaining top talent is a challenging reality for most companies and the risk for turnover is ever present by opportunistic employees seeking the greener grass on the other side.
A 2018 West Monroe Partners study found that “59% [of employees] said they would leave because of a more appealing offer from a new company, not because they’re seeking an escape from their current company.”
To avoid the time and cost of high employee turnover, employers must be cognizant of their employees’ needs, many of which are as simple as more effective communication and positive relationships both with management and with coworkers.
1. Communication is key and has a high impact on employee performance
In asking, “If you had a magic wand, what’s the one thing that you would change about [your organization]?”, Peakon found that employees would benefit most from a change in their company’s communication (or lack thereof).
Of the changes employers can make to improve employee engagement, communication is one of the easiest — and perhaps one of the most important. A 2019 Dynamic Signal study, which surveyed over 1,000 US employees, found that nearly two-thirds have considered quitting solely because of a lack of workplace communication.
Employees feel a stronger sense of belonging when there is transparency between themselves and their organization. That sense of belonging translates to higher engagement, higher productivity, and ultimately higher profitability — and all it requires is that companies put more focus on keeping their employees in the know.
2. Management plays an important role in employee retention
The employee-manager relationship is crucial in terms of communication. A 2018 Udemy study found that almost two-thirds believed their manager lacked proper managerial training.
In order to more closely examine the responsiveness of management to employee feedback, Peakon compared employee feedback rates to responses from management, separated by industry sector.
The results showed that even the most responsive industry sectors — like technology and professional services — respond less than a third of the time, while the least responsive sectors like manufacturing and transportation leave a comment responding to feedback less than 10% of the time.
Acknowledgment by management is crucial and should be a priority to companies looking to retain their employees and avoid the high cost and lost time of higher turnover. Good communication means hiring and training managers to serve as reliable channels between employees and the company.
3. Workplace environment matters
Another top-ranked response to the question, “If you had a magic wand, what’s the one thing you would change about [your organization]?” doesn’t come as a surprise. Peakon’s study found that employees would like to change the office environment in which they work.
Providing an environment conducive to increasing productivity becomes all the more important to retain top talent, including flexible work arrangements with remote work options.
Case in point, a 2018 Upwork Future Workforce Report found that over half of hiring managers at companies with remote work policies said hiring has gotten easier, while a Flexjobs survey of over 3,000 employees found that less than 10% of employees prefer the office as a place of work.
All of this recent research is indicative of a preference that transcends generational gaps: Employees are more engaged and productive when their workplace is flexible, and most prefer to work out of the office.
Bottom line: Listen to the voice of the employee
An employee who feels like his or her voice is being heard is an employee who won’t leave for a competitor and is more engaged and productive as a result. Taking a more involved approach in listening to employee feedback and taking proper measures to implement whatever changes that can be made can improve employee retention and engagement.
The best part? It’s within every company’s power to make these changes. From communication to managerial responsiveness to the workplace environment, the changes that employees seek are low-lift but high reward.