12 Surefire Tips to Reduce Employee Turnover

Darcy Jacobsen

How would you feel about a higher retention rate in your organization? I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single HR exec I know who would turn that down. In fact, figuring out how to reduce employee turnover is without a doubt one of the most intense challenges facing most human resources departments.

According to a LinkedIn survey, the average annual employee turnover rate is about 11%. Add in employees who would have moved jobs over the course of the pandemic but didn’t because of fear of job insecurity, plus all of the employees demanding more flexibility than their current employers will provide. All together that equals, well, a lot.

With that in mind, here are a dozen tips on how you can slow down the revolving door at your company. Some may be familiar, some may be new to you, but all should help you inspire long-term loyalty from your best employees.

How Can Organizations Reduct Employee Turnover?

1. Carefully consider the hiring process.

The best way to ensure employees don’t leave you is to make sure you are hiring the right employees to begin with. Define the role and job description clearly—both to yourself and to the candidates. And then be absolutely sure the candidate is a fit not only for it, but for your company culture.

2. Fire people who don’t fit.

As the old saying goes, “a stitch in time, saves nine.” The same goes for cutting employees loose when necessary. Sometimes even when you follow the advice above, you get an employee who — no matter what you try to do — just doesn’t fit. And, no matter how effective they might be at their actual work, an employee who is a bad fit is bad for your culture, and that creates “culture debt.” They will do more damage than good by having negative impact on your company. Cut them loose.

3. Keep compensation and benefits current.

Be sure that you are paying employees a fair going wage for their work (or better) and offer them a competitive salary and benefits, or — really — who can blame them for ditching you? This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how few companies offer raises that keep up with an employee’s development and actual rising worth.

What does compensation look like in an agile world? | Find out here.

4. Encourage generosity and gratitude.

Encourage pro-social behavior in your employees. When they are given the opportunity to connect with one another through acts of connection and appreciation, employees will be healthier, happier, and less likely to fly the coop. And by encouraging them to be on the lookout for good behaviors to commend, you give people a sense of ownership of the company.

5. Recognize and reward employees.

Show your employees they are valued and appreciated by offering them real-time recognition that celebrates their successes and their efforts. Make it specific, social and supported by tangible reward, and you, too, will be rewarded—with their loyalty.

6. Offer flexibility.

Today’s employees crave a flexible work-life balance. That impacts retention directly. In fact, a Boston College Center for Work & Family study found that 76% of managers and 80% of employees indicated that flexible work schedules had positive effects on retention. And more and more companies know it.  That means, if you’re not offering employees flexibility around work hours and locations, they might easily leave you for someone who will.

7. Pay attention to engagement.

This one sounds obvious, but for too many leaders interest in engagement is limited to the results of engagement surveys. It’s not enough simply to run an engagement survey once a year. You need save most of your energy to take action based on the results and you need to work to build a culture of engagement in your company all year long.

8. Prioritize employee happiness.

Happiness may sound a bit soft and squishy to many execs, but the numbers behind it are anything but. High employee morale is a key indicator of job satisfaction, absenteeism and alignment with values–just for starters. Investing in the happiness of your employees will pay dividends in engagement, productivity and yes, retention.

Looking for tips to building employee happiness? | Find them here.

9. Make opportunities for development and growth.

Employees place HUGE value on career development opportunities. In fact, a Cornerstone survey drew a direct connection between lack of development opportunity and high voluntary turnover intentions. If you aren’t developing your employees then you aren’t investing in them. And if you aren’t investing in them, why should they stay with you?

10. Clean up performance reviews.

Our Workforce MoodTracker survey painted a frankly dismal picture of how employees feel about performance reviews. Only 49 percent of them find reviews to be accurate, and only 47 percent find them to be motivating. Performance reviews offer a prime opportunity for a big win to increase trust and fortify your relationship with employees. Improve performance management by overhauling reviews, and watch employee trust and satisfaction grow.

11. Provide an inclusive vision.

One key factor in employee engagement and happiness, according to experts, is to provide them with a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. Offer employees a strong vision and goals for their work and increase their sense of belonging and loyalty to your organization.

12. Demonstrate and cultivate respect.

Finally, don’t discount respect when it comes to creating a magnetic and positive work environment. In fact, in one study, respect in the workplace was revealed to be a key factor in voluntary turnover. Find ways to cultivate and nurture respect in your workplace and it will pay off in higher employee retention. Conduct exit interviews when employees put in their two weeks to see how you can improve.

Use these tips to help build a culture in your organization that will keep your employee turnover rate low, and your best employees on board and productive for years to come.

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