Of all the many challenges companies struggle with today, high employee turnover still comes out on top. What started with the Great Resignation is only intensifying. According to Gartner, the annual US employee turnover rate is predicted to jump a whopping 20% this year. March 2022 was yet another record-breaking month when it came to the number of employees quitting. Companies need to act fast–and act smart–if they want to hold onto their people.
What Is Employee Turnover?
Employee turnover is the rate at which workers leave a company over a specific time period, including both voluntary and involuntary separations. To calculate employee turnover on a monthly basis, use this formula: number of separations / average number of employees.
At present, the average US annual turnover rate is 20%. The goal should always be to keep turnover to a minimum, but if your organization has a higher turnover rate than this, you need to invest in retention strategies. Some companies delay retention programs because they can be expensive, but the loss of employees is more expensive when you take all costs into consideration.
To replace a worker, it costs about 8 months of that person’s salary (on average). The cost of employee turnover touches on many aspects of productivity. But there are also intangibles to consider, such as the loss of morale and the time required to bring new hires up to speed.
Reasons for Employee Turnover
The pandemic may have brought pre-existing issues to the fore over the past few years, but career advancement remains the number one reason for turnover. Other major factors include health and family, work-life balance, and retirement (now that Baby Boomers have started to leave the workforce).
When people cite “career advancement” as a reason for leaving, that can include things like professional development, job changes, and resuming education, with professional development being the number one career advancement concern. That’s why employee development programs are the right place to start when addressing a worrisome turnover rate.
7 L&D Strategies to Retain Happy Employees
Whenever implementing L&D programs, it’s critical to consider both employee objectives as well as those of the organization. L&D programs should be flexible in terms of the medium and include things like group workshops, internal mentoring programs, personalized lectures, online 1-on-1 coaching, and online mentoring. Here are seven proven strategies to get started:
Implement career pathing programs
Career pathing allows the individual to grow according to a predefined set of goals instead of a patchwork of courses. Career pathing is an excellent means for boosting retention and supports hiring and succession activities.
Provide DEI training opportunities
DEI is more than a means of promoting social justice and gaining deeper perspective through a more diverse range of opinions. It’s also a great way to level the playing field so that opinions from all sorts of employees are respected and all employees are truly heard, ultimately leading to various organizational advantages.
Encourage Personal Learning Initiatives
One lesson learned from Covid-19 is the importance of mental health and stress reduction. Providing relaxation classes, extra time off, and even time management skill training has a trickle-down effect that is good for companies as well.
Create a Culture of Learning
Continuous Employee Development, or offering employees perpetual learning opportunities, is a strategy rife with benefits. It acclimatizes employees to the idea of continuous self-improvement and recognizes the fact that there are always skill gaps – especially with abrupt shifts becoming a fact of business.
There’s no way around it: for L&D programs to be successful, and for employee retention to improve, direct managers must be involved in the process. Of course, the HR and L&D departments are running the show. But upper management needs to commit the resources for development programs while accepting that they may cause short-term schedule interruptions.
Train managers in a way that enhances retention
Bad management is among the top factors for poor employee engagement. It’s not always easy to address, but a good place to start is working on skills like communication, empathy, and motivation. These types of initiatives also demand a change in attitude, as managers will need to focus on objectives beyond profitability.
Teach managers to act as ‘creativity mentors’
Managers need to balance deadlines and hierarchy with quality and initiative, and that requires providing freedom for employees to create. Famous examples of this include Apple, which has no general managers and plans product releases years in advance to allow creative flexibility. And then there’s Google, with its ‘20% time’ policy where employees were encouraged to take time off just to think up new products. The results of this time for their passion products? They include Google Maps, AdSense, and Gmail. Not too shabby.
Enable managers to find informal roles for their employees to reinforce skills
Once a worker completes a professional course, it’s important that they start implementing the new skills right away to help them “stick”–even if no official positions are available at that moment. Managers should look for part-time, temporary, or other creative opportunities to exercise recently acquired skills.
GrowthSpace as an Anti-Turnover Tool
When it comes to the success of any L&D program, the bottom line is that it must be suited to the individual employee. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach usually leads to wasted time and irrelevant instruction.
With GrowthSpace, organizations of all sizes can identify the granular L&D needs of every one of their employees. Through its proprietary technology, GrowthSpace links the top L&D experts in any field to companies and employees seeking to overcome skill gaps. And this makes all the difference in the battle against employee turnover.