How to reduce employee turnover โ€” 5 modern strategies

Written by: Ana Collantes | Illustrated by: Officevibe team
Published on July 15, 2021 |  Reading time: 9m

If you’re experiencing high turnover, you’re not alone. It seems like turnover is to be expected and that there’s nothing we can do about it. But how true is this, really? If you want to know how to reduce turnover on your team, you need to know what’s causing it, and act accordingly.

๐Ÿ’ก As much as the world has changed, there’s still a lot you can do to retain talent. You don’t have to stand on the sidelines until things settle. You can shift the perception of your current employees, make them see a future at your company, and improve employee retention.

We’ll discuss the main factors that are causing people to leave their jobs, and review 5 top strategies that will be your guide in knowing how to reduce turnover in your team. And in doing so, better employee retention.

What are some of the causes of employee turnover?

10 common factors that result in employee turnover

According to a recent article by Oracle, the main factors that affect employee turnover are:

  1. Lack of employee purpose
  2. Poor compensation
  3. Being overworked
  4. Poor relationships between employees and their direct manager
  5. Little to no feedback and recognition
  6. Poor work-life balance
  7. Boredom
  8. No opportunities for growth and development
  9. Poor onboarding processes
  10. Toxic or negative company culture

These factors have always influenced whether or not employees stay at a job. We know that all teams are different and that you’re limited to what your organization offers (high pay, cool perks, an exciting benefits package, etc.). But this is exactly why it’s important that you can somewhat quantify the weight each of these factors has on your employees.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Reflect: Which ones are strengths in my organization, and on my team? Which factors are mostly influenced by my role as a manager?

As a manager, your job is to properly communicate to your team the factors that make your organization a competitive place to work, and support them as much as possible in the ones that aren’t that competitive. We’ll discuss a retention strategy for each one later in this post.

Post pandemic – what employees expect today

Flexibility in the workplace

The ability to choose when, how, and where people work is extremely important for employees today. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, companies went hand-in-hand with employees to make remote work function. It was a necessary measure for companies to keep running.

Now that the world is slowly transitioning to what it was before (to a certain degree at least), changing the narrative doesn’t seem right. What we mean by this is, a degree of workplace flexibility shouldn’t be a perk or exploratory measure. Employees expect to be able to keep the routines, schedules, and advantages they had for the past year and a half.

A 2020 survey report by Deloitte U.S. showed that 94% of respondents said they “would benefit from work flexibility.”

Workplace flexibility survey, Deloitte US

Managers who work hard to offer the right work flexibility to their teams, will better their employee retention.

Employee autonomy in the workplace

According to our employee engagement pulse surveys data, 1 in every 5 employees feels like they don’t have enough freedom to do their job. When we speak about employee turnover rate, this number is important.

Our data shows also a strong correlation between how much freedom people feel they have to do their work and levels of employee happiness in teams. If you don’t offer the right amount of employee autonomy to your team members, it will affect how they see their job and the levels to which they connect to it โ€” independently of whether they work from home or at an office.

Burnout

In Deloitte’s Workplace Flexibility survey, one of the main advantages people appreciated from their organizations was reducing their stress levels. And when it came to burnout, a recent survey showed that company leaders really struggled in the past year in making a long-lasting impact to help their employees manage it.

Burnout can come from uncertainty, stress, too much work, not enough time off, lots of changes in your organization, shifts in company culture…

Poor understanding of the levels of burnout in your team and a lack of strategies to mitigate it will certainly result in a high employee turnover rate.

Poor work-life balance and lack of focus on wellbeing

Somewhat related to burnout, people need to be able to better integrate their lives and work in ways that one doesn’t cannibalize the other.

According to Officevibe’s data, 39% of employees report negative feelings about their work-related stress. That’s 1 in every 2-3 employees! However, interestingly enough, when asked about how much employees think their managers care about their wellbeing, 85% of them feel their managers care. This shows how managers have the ability to support their employees and turn up employee’s satisfaction around work-life balance.

How to reduce turnover – our top 5 modern strategies

1. Keep a close eye on employee engagement, and act preventatively

Like we mentioned before, you can’t cover all the factors that influence whether people stay in an organization or leave. However, knowing what is going well and what is primarily reducing your team’s devotion to the company is the right place to start.

You can develop a survey and ask your team the right questions to measure employee engagement, and then use the results to evaluate what you should be focusing on.

Employee engagement tools like Officevibe send weekly pulse surveys to your employees. In just 5 short questions backed by science, Officevibe reviews the factors that influence employee engagement. In a matter of weeks, you receive a report with your team’s level of engagement, and an analysis of what’s going well and what you should focus on.

Officevibe's employee engagement metric results indicating wellness as a low score
Send your first pulse survey for free!

When you tackle issues as they appear, you’ll be able to offer your team support before they lose hope and decide to leave your team. The key here is to remain preventive, not reactive.

2. Master one-on-one meetings, and learn to lead tough conversations

If you’re not having one-on-one meetings with your team already, you need to start now. They’re also very important when you onboard new members. Here is where they connect with you, ask all their questions, and feel the right support as they join their new team. A manager connection-first approach has proven to positively influence the overall employee experience.

According to our data, 1 in 6 employees feel like when they reach out to their manager, they can’t devote time to help them. When we looked at how this affects an employee’s ability to feel part of the team, we saw that the two were strongly correlated.

Making time for your team is very important. And one-on-ones are the perfect place to do so in a personal way. But it doesn’t end there, you need to learn how to have difficult conversations. Lead the conversations around the key factors that might cause them to quit. Questions like:

  • Are they bored?
  • How do they feel about your management style?
  • Are they happy with their salary?
  • Do they perceive a toxic or negative company culture?
  • Do they feel like there is a place for them to grow within the organization?

Making time to have real conversations will make your team feel important. It will show them that they can work with you to fix what’s causing them to question their place on the team.

Don’t let your conversations fall flat

Make sure your conversations lead to action items, are collaborative, and schedule follow-ups. Having real conversations with your team and not acting on them can be counterproductive to help you reduce employee turnover. Keep your notes organized, make a plan, and allow your employees to add their own discussion points.

๐Ÿ‘‰ If you need best practices to host proper one-on-one meetings, visit our one-on-one meetings guide.

3. Nurture a culture of feedback

Do you want your team to feel heard and important? Create a safe space for feedback. A lot of managers spend lots of energy and stress trying to figure out all the answers. But often, the best solutions come from your team directly. When you create a place for feedback and you act on it, your relationship with your team improves and you increase their engagement.

๐Ÿ’ก Tip: Take feedback to a whole new level by offering your employees a space to share anonymous feedback. Employee engagement tools like Officevibe focus on offering the best and most safe space for your team to share their thoughts, and put it all together in a conversational setting to help you dig deeper.

Feedback on their work is as important. Good constructive feedback helps people grow and stay motivated. Grow the habit to tell them what makes them valuable and what they are really great at. Direct them on the things they can do better. If you become the guide and mentor of their professional development, they will most likely choose to stay.

4. Build a culture of employee recognition

Don’t wait to recognize your team for their hard work. People who feel valued are more likely to stay in their jobs. Our data shows a very strong correlation between employees’ levels of happiness and the frequency at which they receive recognition.

Match the recognition to the efforts

We suggest that you take the time to match each recognition moment with the level of effort and input your employee had to put in to get there. Some examples of recognition include:

  • A public message recognizing your employee’s work
  • A personal recognition message (with or without visibility to upper leadership)
  • An increase in responsibilities
  • An opportunity to assist events or experiences
  • A change in title and seniority
  • A shoutout at a team meeting
  • A bonus
  • A pay increase

Make sure that the recognition you choose to give properly celebrates the person’s accomplishment.

5. Revisit employee benefits and perks

Like we mentioned at the start, the needs of your employees have changed.

3 in 4ย employees want employers to provide mental health programs, benefits, and solutions.

A recent report by Headspace

The same Headspace report stated that “employees in 2021 valued benefits that helped them manage the disruptions in their lives more than traditional benefits like retirement or dental insurance.”

People had lots of time to rethink where they spent their time and what they do for a living this past year. It’s important that you meet employees where they are, and adapt your benefits to what matters the most to them.

“I am not in HR, so what can I do as a manager?”

Maybe you don’t have the power to change things at an organizational level. So take time to reflect, what are some of the perks your team gets from having you as their manager? Are these perks still relevant and important to them? How can you adapt your managerial style and practices to better assist your team?

There is also leverage in the data you can gather from your team. Ask your team what they no longer find beneficial and what they want to see more of, what they need in terms of company culture, and bring that up to the leaders of your organization.

Get closer to your team

At the end of the day, to reduce employee turnover on your team, most of it comes down to making time and space for them. People tend to leave people, not organizations. Managers hold strong power and influence in the overall employee experience.

Your day-to-day can get very busy very quickly. But if you stay proactive at making space for your team to speak up and be heard, you can reduce your employees’ turnover rate while improving retention rates. The secret is to work smarter, not harder. Find ways to incorporate tools and mechanisms to stay close to your team, and focus on what matters most.