84% of Your Employees’ Could be Looking for a New Job

Greater workloads + diminished trust = disengagement

This pervasive discontent is a wake-up call, that can be traced to the following reasons:

  • prolonged recession and layoffs;
  • increased workloads, small or no raises;
  • excessive workloads caused by reticence to add staff, even as business conditions have improved, and
  • lack of trust in company leaders.

It all adds up to disengagement—a lack of commitment to the job beyond doing enough to get by.

Employees’ trust has been seriously shaken, and there is a general lack of confidence in leaders. As a result, the best and brightest employees—those who have survived layoffs and quietly toiled while feeling overworked and underappreciated—will be the first to explore their options as jobs open up. And because they are currently employed, these workers are likely to be among the most quickly hired.

Collateral damage

Turnover can stress those left behind. Remaining employees often shoulder the burden of staffing shortfalls, filling knowledge and service gaps while new employees come up to speed. They also may deal with dissatisfied customers who are frustrated with long waits, quality lapses and inferior service. As these employees see more and more of their colleagues exiting, they may question whether they should abandon ship, leading to a cycle of turnover.

10 actions to turn the tide

Here are actions that will help stem the potential loss caused by the looming turnover storm:

  • always remember that employees are people first, employees second. Treat them like people;
  • identify high-value performers and have open, constructive career discussions with them;
  • be honest and positive in providing them feedback about what they do well and how to improve;
  • catch your team doing something right and recognize it. Feeling unappreciated is a huge issue;
  • create a mentoring relationship to build mutual trust that will limit future defections;
  • assess manager’s ability to convey empathy and consider training to improve. Immediate supervisors’ communication, mentoring and coaching are essential as a first line of defense against attrition;
  • take care of them in ways that are meaningful to them and are aligned with the business’ goals;
  • conduct an employee poll or focus group to pinpoint opportunities for improvement and demonstrate employee opinions are valued. Listen openly, acknowledge, and share findings and action plans with staff. Not all ideas can be acted on, but staying focused on those you commit to is critical for earning/regaining trust;
  • add a new benefit that is meaningful to business objectives and the employees. This is a powerful retention tool;
  • share changing plans and goals. Make sure your team understands not only their direct responsibilities, but also how what they do contributes to the big picture.

Bottom line

The estimated cost of turnover commonly ranges from 50 percent to 150 percent (some sources report as high as 400%) of a departing employee’s salary, depending on the nature of the job. Beyond this hard cost, an exodus causes a domino effect that can inflict long-term, incalculable damage to the bottom line by weakening its brand.

The current economic recovery may be fragile, but at some point it will pick up steam. New opportunities will entice frustrated, disengaged workers. How are you focusing on workforce retention?

 Right Management Survey Results (December 2010):

 Yes, I intend to actively seek a new position 84% 60%
 Maybe, so I’m networking 8% 21%
 Not likely, but I’ve updated my resume 3% 6%
 No, I intend to stay in current position 5% 13%

We are problem solvers and innovators when it comes to shaping people-centric practices. We’ll help you implement down-to-earth strategies that build trust.
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