Employee turnover is costly. If you consider the lost productivity, time spent on exiting and recruiting, and backfilling resources, it’s estimated that turnover can be anywhere between 20-150% of an employee’s salary. Employee retention is a key objective in HR departments. And yet, a study found that in 2018, 41.4 million American employees left their jobs voluntarily. This converts to roughly 27 out of 100 employees that quit! How can organizations increase employee retention?
Knowing your attrition rates does little to support strategic business plans. In order for HR to make a bigger impact on business outcomes, HR needs to become more data-driven, looking past descriptive analytics towards more exploratory analytics and predictive analytics. (If you want to understand the difference between these types of analytics, check out the great explanation here by QuantHub). Luckily, developing data-driven retention strategies can be done with data HR already has.
Step 1: Identify and prioritize core areas
Resignation rates will vary across functions, locations, tenure, age, and performance level (most of these data should already be found in your HRIS).
It is important to identify where the lowest and highest retention rates are in order to strategically invest in programs that will deliver the most impactful results. For example, if the sales department in New York has the highest turnover rate, consider prioritizing efforts in this department. If the marketing department has very low turnover, consider looking at what they are doing and apply some of these solutions to the departments with the highest turnover. Comparing retention rates at various levels will give insight into how different employee populations are responding to their work experience.
Step 2: Analyze root causes
Once the area (department, age, location, etc) with the lowest retention rate has been identified, the next step is to analyze the biggest drivers for turnover. There are 5 drivers of turnover:
These data can be extracted from 1-on-1 check-ins between employees and their managers, exit interviews, focus groups, focused pulse surveys, and company reviews.
Step 3: Develop retention strategies
Once you have identified the drivers of retention with the biggest gaps, create initiatives to close these gaps. Some examples can be seen below.
- Hosting a company “values day”
- Cascading OKRs/KPIs
- Data-driven placement
- Mentorship match with non-managers
- Regular career path conversations
Feedback and Recognition
- Real-time feedback processes and systems
- Frequent feedback conversations
- Organize “lunch and learns”
- Company retreats
- Happy hours
- Create transparent salary bands
- Offer non-cash benefits
Many of the above initiatives can be implemented in a cost effective way (like having frequent feedback conversations and recognizing employee efforts). While turnover is costly, it is avoidable.
Did we miss something? What does your organization do to reduce turnover?