This spring, Gallup released a concerning statistic about employee retention. The global research and consulting firm conservatively estimated that U.S. businesses lose a trillion dollars in voluntary employee turnover. This stat feels even more relevant when coupled with Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers showing 40 million, or 26.9 percent, of the population quit their jobs in 2018.
Surely someone, somewhere must be wondering what’s going on for so many people to voluntarily leave a job. One explanation might be that employees are tired of being treated in a “seen but not heard” manner. The below statistics illustrate this may be the case.
- 52 percent of those surveyed said their manager or organization could have convinced them not to leave.
- 51 percent said that in the three months before quitting, neither a company leader nor a manager asked them about their job satisfaction or goals for the future.
Prioritize Employee Satisfaction
How can it be that so few employees feel their contributions matter? When it comes to finding solutions, much of it falls back on individualized recommendations. This includes personalized action plans, learning and development opportunities, career coaching, workplace autonomy, flexibility and achievement/recognition.
These are all important initiatives but unless they are adopted as a priority by the highest level of the organization, the actual doing falls on the individual. Without this accountability, it becomes easy to look at the collective, ignoring the bad managers and excusing turnover as a cost of doing business.
Employees are Brand Messengers
In this business-as-usual scenario what’s often missed is what matters in the greater scheme. People by nature are social beings. They share what’s happening in their life, including the good and the bad. This information gets shared in many ways: personal conversations, written correspondence and a range of social media.
Any word about a company – good or bad – is going to get out. An employee has the potential to be a company’s strongest brand messenger or its worst. Why not cultivate a workforce who feels good about coming to work and proud to be doing the work? These are the employees who can boost a company’s reputation and derive satisfaction by inviting others to do the same.
This also works in reverse. An employee that lacks autonomy, learning opportunities, career advancement and recognition will not work at the same level as someone who loves their job. Either the person will stay and become a drain on resources and morale, or they will take their talents elsewhere. But with their departure they will also take hard feelings about the things that went wrong, which doesn’t bode well for the company when it’s time to convince new employees it’s a great place to work.
Times continue to change and with that comes less employee loyalty. Companies looking to grow and retain their people are more dependent than ever on quality employees who are happy about where they’re working today and in the future.