Combating Turnover - Getting in the Minds of Employees

By Ann Fish

In the era of the Great Resignation, employee retention is a concern for many organizations. The 2021 Engagement and Retention Report from Achievers Workforce Institute showed that an astounding 52% of currently employed individuals said they planned to job hunt in 2021. While there are many reasons for turnover, some of which a company has no control over, low job satisfaction increases the likelihood of an individual leaving. Studies show that 78% of common reasons for quitting could be addressed in advance and potentially prevent turnover. By being proactive and understanding what elements of their position or the company an employee is unhappy with, organizations may prevent their employees from even contemplating quitting. Let’s discuss five thoughts that may be going through employees’ minds if they are thinking about leaving their current position.

1. “ I feel abandoned and unheard.”

A lack of support from their manager or supervisor can leave employees feeling abandoned and frustrated. This is especially true when an employee wants to perform well but feels hindered by a lack of manager involvement. Meeting with employees one-on-one is an opportunity to check on both how their work is going and if they are feeling satisfied and happy in their role. A follow-up plan which suggests next steps is a critical part of a successful one-on-one. Unfortunately, only 16% of employees say their company consistently acts on their sentiments. The actions of managers or supervisors are what show employees that they are cared about and heard.

2. “I can’t stay here if there are no opportunities for growth.”

A lack of opportunities to continue growing within a company can leave many employees feeling like they would be better off looking to advance their careers elsewhere. Managers and supervisors can use this time, while employees are performing well and growing in their current position, to consider succession planning. Discussing what could be next for the employee within the company, and retaining that individual is a win-win! Receiving mentorship and suggestions of what employees can do to prepare for their next job promotion shows them that their success and growth are important and valuable to the company.

3. “Work is consuming my life.”

One in four people said a lack of work-life balance is a reason they would look for a new job. Encouraging employees to avoid working late or to make time for vacations is not enough to combat the imbalance. Managers and supervisors must ensure that the workload expectations on their employees are conducive to a schedule where they don’t need to work overtime or skip vacations.

4. “I can’t take this tension and incivility any longer.”

Tensions and conflicts among employees or between managers and their direct reports may be subtle. However, being attentive will ensure that you address and resolve problems prior to these tensions causing irreversible damage. Through both their personal actions and their response to employees’ actions, managers and supervisors set the tone for what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable. One person’s attitude can affect the dynamic and job satisfaction of the whole team or workplace.

5. “All the extra work I am doing is going unnoticed.”

Managers and supervisors should be proactive in showing their appreciation. If an employee must ask for acknowledgement or appreciation, it’s too late. Retroactive appreciation is trivial and does none of the good that proactive appreciation can. Something as simple as an email or conversation expressing gratitude can go a long way. However, at some point, words of gratitude need to be followed by action. When an employee is constantly being thanked for going above and beyond, a larger token of appreciation like a bonus or a raise should be considered.

As record amounts of employees continue to voluntarily leave their job, securing the loyalty of those employees with a high flight risk is crucial. By preemptively understanding what conflicts may be going through employees’ minds, companies can combat low job satisfaction and in turn, decrease the turnover rate within their organization.