Updated: Oct 5
High employee turnover is never a good sign for a business. Not only does it increase costs associated with hiring and onboarding, but it also can negatively impact product or service quality, as well as overall company morale.
If your company is having difficulty with employee retention, it’s not too late to turn things around—but you’ll want to act quickly. For your next step, try these 14 strategies recommended by the members of Forbes Coaches Council.
1. Ask People Why They're Leaving
Many times exit interviews become venting sessions and just an HR procedural step. Take the time to listen to those employees on their way out. Start with validating those emotions they bring into the room, and acknowledge that those emotions are real. Then listen to what brought them to the decision to leave. Despite the negative feelings that can arise, try to end on a positive note. - Kelly Huang, Genesis Advisers
2. Conduct Stay Interviews
Exit interviews are like autopsies in nature, but stay interviews are like wellness visits, focusing on what employees enjoy about working for the company and on what needs to be fixed. As an employee is walking out the door, there's nothing that a manager can correct immediately to keep them, while those who stay can be reassured that they're appreciated and can see their feedback being used. - Annette Franz, CX Journey Inc.
3. Clearly Define Roles And Expectations
Turnover occurs when employee expectations aren't met. If it occurs with new employees, it's because something has been misrepresented to them. With seasoned people, the issue may be around compensation or institutional friction that makes work harder than they think it should be. Get clear about roles and responsibilities, as well as how they will be evaluated, then clear a path for them to do it. - Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
4. Look At Your Decision-Making Processes
Assuming you hired for cultural fit and set clear expectations of the role, it is likely the day-to-day evidence of your culture does not equip or empower growth, learning, belonging and/or the ability for people to do their best work (add value) in relevant ways. Start with a look at the quality of communication and decision-making—cracks here become big gaps in our ability to do our best work. - Cyndee Blockinger Lake, Blank Page
5. Assess Your Culture
I've had a lot of success addressing retention issues by assessing and improving organizational culture. Components of culture are direct predictors of retention. I also tend to look at why people stay with a company, not why they leave, and work to enhance those indicators. One client used analytics to identify personas of retained, high-performing employees and recruited for those. - Michael Couch, Michael Couch and Associates Inc.
6. Hire According To Strengths Required
The top reasons people leave their job are either their boss or their strengths weren't being used. If you're sure it's not a leader issue, the next step could be to ensure that future employees have completed a strength-finders assessment. Hire according to the strengths required for the position, not from a resume or great interview. You will likely have a better fit for the job and a happy employee. - Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC
7. Ask An Outside Consultant
If you are losing employees, have an outside HR consultant do an exit interview with those who have left your company. Ask your current employees what they like about their work and the culture, and what gets in the way of their job. Put the HR and employee recommendations together and prioritize. Share your new focus with your current employees. Ask for feedback regularly about the effectiveness of the changes. - Bobbie Goheen, Synthesis Management Group
8. Observe The Unspoken Trends
While explicit (spoken) feedback is insightful, implicit (unsaid) feedback speaks volumes. It's important that leaders observe trends around what goes unsaid. When they notice their most verbal team members become silent, they must see the trends that occurred at that time and take ownership of their ability to impact such trends. - Corey Castillo, Truth & Spears
9. Take Time To Re-Establish A Human Connection
Employees leave teams and organizations when they no longer feel a positive emotional connection to the company. Leaders can reconnect with their employees by communicating how their roles add value and letting them know they matter. A leadership climate that is focused on human connection and is emotionally responsive to the needs of its people creates an environment that retains employees. - Jonathan Silk, Bridge 3 LLC
10. Use Your Existing Employees As Advocates
Use employee advocacy techniques to engage and empower your employees to help you recruit better candidates who will stay longer. When employees are empowered to share about your company culture online, their friends take notice and help you attract better candidates— 47% of recruits that come through employee referrals are still on the job after three years, as opposed to 14% that come from job boards. - Julie Fisher, Your Digital Guardian
11. Reconstruct The 'Map'
Something is clearly not working and all it takes is to ask and listen without preconceived notions. Take a real exercise to reconstruct the map. Find out what people are feeling and thinking as they work here. What do they really want? The clearer you can make a new map and put new initiatives in place, the more likely you can retain and attract the right people. - Chuen Chuen Yeo, ACEsence
12. Foster Psychological Safety
Take a temperature check on how employees are working together. Do this by listening and observing. Specifically, do members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other? If the answer is no, psychological safety is low. Promote, embrace and allow employees to communicate their full selves. Foster a culture of psychological safety and you’ll see a decrease in turnover. - Elizabeth Ruiz, EAR Enterprises
13. Work On Your Core Values
High turnover often means employees are disengaged. Disengagement tends to stem from feeling unseen and unheard. If you had to pick one value where you felt seen and heard, what would it be? Now take that value and ask your employees for feedback. Are you living that value? To what extent? What can you do to give your employees more of that value so they feel more seen and heard? Live by example. - Anne Beaulieu, Walking Inside Resources Inc.
14. Truly Listen To Your People
People want to be heard, and giving them a chance to voice their opinions can alleviate the frustration or resistance they are experiencing. Conduct one-on-one or group interviews, use an assessment or hire an external facilitator. If you take the time to listen, you’ll be able to pinpoint the root of the problem and communicate more effectively to address your employees' specific concerns. - Vered Kogan, Vered Kogan Coaching, LLC