How to Reduce Employee Turnover

Human Resources and People teams have their work cut out for them. Between trying to figure out how to reduce employee turnover, hiring, and plenty of other initiatives, it’s been more of a challenge than ever before.

While People and HR teams have known it all along, one thing that’s finally becoming clearer to companies as a whole is that people need to come first. Gone are the days where organizations could prioritize winning at any cost and still hope to succeed.

Reasons to reduce employee turnover go beyond just the bottom line. When retaining employees is an issue, it influences the morale of employees who are left behind and can quickly overburden the HR or People team with reactive solutions versus a proactive strategy that enables long-term company culture changes.

These days, many employees indicate that not even higher salaries will get them to stay with a company if they’re not aligned in other ways. So, where should your organization be making changes to put people first and help them stick around for longer?

Prioritize DEI&B

Many companies start paying attention to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging when they feel they’ve got most things figured out and “can afford” to spend the time on it. Unfortunately, making DEI&B initiatives a priority isn’t something that can wait.

Perhaps one of the most basic things to look at is pay discrepancy. Does everyone in the same position make the same amount of money? If not, why not and what will you do about it?

Do all executives and leadership come from similar backgrounds? What can be done to promote others and inject more diverse voices into the equation (especially within leadership)?

Creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment where every individual feels like they belong is the first step towards creating an environment where people feel like they matter.

RELATED: Guide – How Organizations Can Use Leadership Development to Support DEI&B Initiatives

Create Psychological Safety

According to Amy Edmondson’s research, there are few things more important for employee morale, development, and performance in the workplace than psychological safety.

Challenging the status quo at work isn’t easy. Yet some organizations continue to punish those that speak up, ask questions, and take risks by dismissing their concerns and saying things such as “that’s just the way we do things around here.”

If you want to reduce employee turnover, start listening to your employees without repercussions. You hired them after all — so listen to them.

In fact, encourage them to speak up. Some companies that prioritize psychological safety are creating initiatives where individuals who feel like they’re ready to look for another job can get guidance and support from within the organization.

At the very least it prepares that person’s manager for their resignation, but sometimes it results in fruitful discussions or another internal opportunity being a fit.

While the concept might scare you, it’s a pure example of a psychologically safe environment where people come first. And it results in a more positive experience for the company and its employees.

Exhibit Flexibility

Many individuals across the world have worked remotely since early 2020. Why should they be forced to return to an office every day?

A recent survey by EY shows that 90% of employees want flexibility in when and where they work. 

Remote or hybrid work is just one example of flexibility, but there are other ways that you can put people first by being flexible to get even better results. Giving employees greater control over their work schedules and allowing them to do basic everyday life tasks such as childcare runs and doctor appointments without justification contributes to greater psychological safety. 

Develop a Culture of Learning

Some people leave their current job because they get tired of doing the same thing day in and day out. They crave a new challenge and the chance to continue learning.

A learning culture, combined with psychological safety, creates an environment that helps to reduce employee turnover. With increased emphasis on learning, more employees are likely to adopt a growth mindset which contributes to improved engagement and innovation. Overall, businesses that are top-ranked for workforce training enjoy 53% less attrition

RELATED: Guide – Creating a Culture of Learning for Hiring, Retention & Growth

Set Clear Advancement Opportunities

One of the fastest ways to move up in one’s career is by taking a new job. Many individuals look outside their current company because internal opportunities aren’t evident. Additionally, many employees aren’t getting the development and support they need to make a change.

Outlining clear advancement opportunities for individuals demonstrates thought and care. Treat employees as humans who have their own goals and ambitions, and don’t try to keep them in one position because they might end up somewhere else — especially in this job market.

Develop Your Leadership

We know that the saying “people leave managers, not companies” has merit. While management might not always be the top reason for employee turnover, great leadership goes a long way towards managing retention.

Providing everyone in your organization with development around human-centered leadership skills such as empathy, active listening, giving and receiving feedback, shared accountability, DEI&B, and more, will help close the gap. You’ll not only be creating more effective managers, but you’ll empower employees to exhibit greater leadership and more easily step into people-manager positions in the future.

Find additional ways to reduce employee turnover and retain top talent by downloading the guide.