4,252,000. That’s the number of employees who quit in January 2022 according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Have you felt the impact of employee resignations and challenges over the past 2 years? They are calling this period the Great Resignation and there are reasons for that but luckily there are things you can do to improve your chances of retaining talent.
Let’s consider a few indicators that share perhaps an encouraging picture of the future.
The number of “Quits” nationally declined in December 2021 and January 2022: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary), the number of “quits” decreased by 2.8% in January. However, there was an uptick again in February 2022.
Over 70% of employees who sought new employment say they regret quitting.
Seven out of ten workers — about 72% — admitted that they were surprised to learn that their new roles or companies were different from what they were led to believe during the interview process, according to the survey of more than 2,500 millennial and Gen Z job seekers conducted by The Muse.
As a result, it is possible that more people are quitting rather than sticking it out. About 1 in 5 job seekers even admitted they would quit within a month if the new role was not as expected, and 41% say they would give it between two and six months.
Just under half of job seekers — 48% — would actually try to get their old job back, according to the data.
What does that tell you as an employer?
There is an opportunity!
1. Be honest in your assessment in the role up front.
2. Select the right candidates.
3. Be intentional in their employee experience especially in the first 90 days.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce conducted a study and found these strategies as effective retention options for all organizations but especially small businesses.
• Transparency and good communication.
• A healthy work environment.
• 57% of employees said they would quit if they felt disrespected (Pew Research).
• 45% said they would quit because there wasn’t enough flexibility to choose their hours.
• Conduct annual performance reviews, people like to know how they are doing.
• Provide growth opportunities. Help people to pursue their passions and grow. Hopefully with your business but if they need to leave but you gave them the support they needed to grow, they will share with others that you are a great employer.
• Recognize good work. There are a lot of ways to do this but most importantly, it should be tailored to what’s important to your employee and unique to your business.
Trust is also a major driver of employee satisfaction. People will stay with people they trust.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce found common elements of attractive work cultures included an environment where employees feel heard, supported, and valued. What ways can you let your employees know that they are heard, supported and valued? It is important to convey trust right from the start.
· 33% of employees decide to stay or jump ship within the first 30 days?
· 33% of employees quit in their first 90 days?
· 90% decide whether to stay or go in the first 6 months?
Consider the following questions and think about ways you can enhance your chances of retaining your workforce.
· What are you doing in the first 30 days to confirm to your new employees that they made a good decision to join your business?
· How are you welcoming and orienting them to your business?
· How do you treat them once they are onboard?
· How do you show that you value them?
· How do you recognize them?
· What is your team environment like?
In my book, That Would Have Been Nice to Know. Success Strategies from Those Who Made Successful Transitions, I learned from 28 people, in different stages of their careers, and in different industries, some of their challenges as they started new roles. I asked them what they wished they knew before starting a new role and found that although this book originally was designed to support people that were starting new roles, what I learned is helpful for businesses. They told me where new employees might struggle which provides the opportunity for employers to better support employee transitions.
Here are a few of the themes:
Communication and business language. Words may change their meaning based on the business sector. To help a new employee feel a part of your culture, explain to them the acronyms that are common in your business. For example, what does BP mean?
Is it gas, blood pressure, or basic principles? Something as simple as BP can be confusing. What is in your world that might be confusing to someone who isn’t in your industry? What language might they not understand that could make them feel as an outsider?
Relationships. How do people in your business relate? What is the culture? As a new employee, how will they meet the team? Meals can often be a way of getting to know each other. Is there a designated lunch time? Do they bring their lunch or go out? Do people eat together or separately? All simple questions yet for a new employee, can become a source of stress.
New leaders. New leaders shared that they found it is easier for them to flex their leadership style based on your employees than it was to expect others to adapt to their style.
Do you hire veterans? Consider how your environment is different from their experience. They are accustomed to structure and predictability when it comes to promotions and career development. If you have a clear career path, tell them. If you don’t, tell them what to expect.
Bottom line…employees want the same thing you want. They want to be valued, to be a part of a team, and to be heard. This week, examine yourself and ask if you need to change in any of these areas and if you do, what is the payoff? Take at least one action to enhance your work culture today!