8 ways to avoid the turnover tsunami

8 ways to avoid the turnover tsunami https://www.thoughtfarmer.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Owls-high-five.png

If we want to retain the incredible culture we built and avoid the turnover tsunami, we all need to level up our game on what makes a healthy and productive workplace.

July 27, 2021

Are you ready for the turnover tsunami?

If you have noticed an increase in employee turnover in the last few months, you aren’t alone. The Achievers Workforce Institute’s Employee Engagement & Retention Report says that 52 percent of North American workers plan to look for a new position in 2021. 

Why? Because after reaping the benefits of a remote (or hybrid) work environment, not everyone is ready to go back to the way things were before. Employees are now demanding a more flexible and fulfilling environment. Plus, many organizations (like ours) have expanded their recruitment strategy to include employees from other geographical regions. 

As much as some of you may be tempted to say “Suck it up and get back into the office,” if we want to retain the incredible culture we built and avoid the turnover tsunami, we all need to level up our game on what makes a healthy and productive workplace.

So don’t wait around for attrition to take its toll.  Creating a meaningful and healthy work environment is completely within our reach and together we can avoid the turnover tsunami (a term we first learned about from our friends at Brilliant Ink). 

Here are some tips: 

Offer a hybrid workplace (If you can)

Obviously not every sector can employ remote or hybrid workers, but for many organizations (as we learned in the last year) it’s easily achievable. A hybrid approach aims to provide an optimal balance of productive work with reduced stress and less commuting.

Hybrid work allows for increased freedom and autonomy around when to work, and where. It also allows employees the opportunity to fit work around their lives, rather than structuring work around fixed hours logged into an office. For many employees (and employers) it’s an ideal scenario as it combines autonomy with sociability and structure. This is particularly critical for those caring for, or who themselves, are immunocompromised. 

However, as mentioned, not all of us have the luxury of quality internet access, designated home workspaces, or distraction free environments. And obviously remote work or hybrid work isn’t an option for frontline workers or deskless employees. For further advice on how to engage this group of employees, check out our post: How to improve the digital experience for deskless employees and frontline workers.  

Celebrate organizational success

It’s been a long and challenging year and a half, and many of your employees are likely feeling the burnout. They may be asking “Why am I here?” “Does my work really matter?” This is why it is critical to post your organizational success stories on your intranet. Even better, explain how specific departments contributed to a recent sales or service win. 

Here at ThoughtFarmer, we relied on the sharing of success in the early days of the pandemic. 

Sharing corporate success stories with employees is something we have always advocated for other organizations to do, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that we truly understood how positive news can unite employees across an organization.  

When the emails came in of customers telling us how much they appreciated our product and support during this challenging time, we made sure we shared the good news immediately with our employees on our intranet. It was exactly what we needed in our day. 

Get strategic with exit interviews 

If you want to avoid the turnover tsunami, you need to take a step back and look at the reasons your last few employees left. Hint, if you don't know why, then you probably are neglecting to have exit interviews.  

Were there warning signs? What may have kept them with your company? What are you doing with the information you collect in these exit interviews? And is this data in an easily accessible location. 

Your exit interviews should identify why an employee left, ideas to improve the organization, warning signs about potential discrimination or harassment, and any opportunities for managers to improve.  

Prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives

More than 3 out of 4 job seekers and employees (76%) report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. So if your workplace isn’t providing a diverse and inclusive environment, don’t expect your employees to stick around.  

Having a diverse workforce is particularly important to underrepresented groups: Nearly a third of employees and job seekers (32%) would not apply to a job at a company where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce. This figure is significantly higher for Black (41%) job seekers and employees when compared to white (30%) job seekers and employees, and is also higher among LGBTQ (41%) job seekers and employees when compared to non-LGBTQ (32%) job seekers and employees.

Create a recognition program

One of our customers, Capital Region BOCES recently learned how their employees really felt about working there. Through an employee survey they learned their employees were feeling a little unappreciated. 

The team at BOCES took notice, and immediately began building a three tier recognition program. The first tier was to launch shout-outs.  The second tier was to provide monthly commitment awards. And the third tier was to annually acknowledge employees who went above and beyond. 

Their intranet played a huge role in developing, launching, and managing the entire recognition program. They started by creating different pages for different features of their programs. They then added online forms for nominations and created a recognition calendar with dates for ceremonies. Their initiative was so amazing, they even won a ThoughtFarmer Best Intranets Award. 

 Recognition Program Space In BERT Management Team

Develop a culture of learning

Compensation matters, but so do opportunities for learning. Millennial and Gen Z employees in particular are life-long learners who expect continuous educational opportunities from their employers. Providing learning opportunities also sends a loud signal to employees that you are committed to them and their future. 

Knowledge sharing is also a big part of creating a learning culture. When employees are encouraged and rewarded for sharing knowledge, they will be more engaged in learning. 

Establish a culture of transparency

It’s no secret that a transparent culture is good for business. It can also help reduce the impact of a turnover tsunami. 

Transparency is powerful because it builds trust. It starts at the top, but transparency is something all employees can contribute to. 

ThoughtFarmer customer PCI has one of the most incredible examples of transparency that we have ever seen. Their CEO and President Drew Clancy blogs every single day and shares it on their intranet. Recognizing the value of complete transparency and authenticity, he also makes himself available to everyone at PCI.  Through a section on their intranet called Drew’s Red Button, anyone in the company can submit an issue or question to Drew directly and he will respond. 

To further maintain transparency, they created a section on the intranet that contained weekly CEO Council Meeting Minutes, the COO’s Monthly Operating Letter, and skip-level meeting results. They also record their virtual quarterly business meetings and post segments of the video so anyone who missed the meeting can watch it on demand. 

Plan for some losses

Finally, it’s important to recognize you can’t hold on to every employee, no matter how great of an environment you create. It’s also okay to celebrate when employees have moved on to new and exciting opportunities outside your organization. 

A healthy turnover rate (and one that helps you avoid the turnover tsunami) is one that allows your organization to run smoothly and creates more opportunities than headaches.

Have questions? Get in touch! We're always happy to hear from you.