Is Employee Turnover Avoidable? New Research from Betterworks on the Impact of Performance Enablement

By John Schneider
Updated May 24, 2022
3 minute read

How can performance enablement help companies create a better employee experience —  retaining and developing top talent and delivering on business outcomes?

That was the orienting question behind the survey that informed our latest research report, The State of Performance Enablement: Redefining performance management to develop top talent and reduce churn, which was released this week.

In many ways, performance enablement is the driving force behind employee experience. It forms the infrastructure upon which engagement depends — inclusive of processes, tools, and behaviors that give employees agency over their own work experience and career trajectory. It also plays a key role in increasing productivity, autonomy, and other important measures of business success.

This first deployment of our annual report, which comes from a survey of more than 2,500 full-time employees in the US and UK, revealed some hard truths about the labor climate employers are currently facing — but offered some provocative ideas for stemming the tide of turnover.

For example, even after two years of massive upheaval, it appears the Great Reshuffle isn’t over. Nearly half (46% ) of all employees say they are planning to actively or passively look for new jobs in the next year — and nearly 1 in 3 of those who have stuck it out so far say they could still be lured away by better career development opportunities.

But this turnover is not inevitable. These employees told us they are more likely to be running from companies to get away from their old job (72%) rather than toward exciting new opportunities (28%). Which means they are yours to lose.

In fact, most employees have a lot of ambivalence around quitting. Of the people who said they are currently, actively looking for work, 32% told us they always like their company, and 26% said they are still active supporters who recommend the company to others (via eNPS/employee net promoter score).

So why are they leaving? We found that many are feeling deep frustrations around their careers and development, and with a lack of signaling and development at their current company, they think they have no choice but to look elsewhere.

Less than half of employees surveyed said they discuss career and growth with managers more than once a quarter, and 20% say they rarely or never have such discussions. When it comes to the purpose of the work they do on a day-to-day basis, nearly half (48%) of survey respondents said they feel trapped or somewhat trapped by out-of-date goals by the end of the quarter/year.

Unsurprisingly, people who felt trapped in goals said they don’t like working at their companies and were more likely to say they are looking for work.

One surprise in the research was that employees might also be much more open to counteroffers than many companies seem to realize — and companies have a real opportunity to make career development part of that picture, either proactively or reactively.

Half (47%) of employees who left their jobs in the last two years said they would have stayed for the right counteroffer — including better pay and benefits and better career development. Yet only about 55% of employees are getting such offers from employers.

What are the day-to-day processes, tools, and practices that will help retain more employees? This research found that some of the significant factors that impact employee experience include: agile goal-setting, more 1:1 feedback, and more frequent conversations around career development.

Dedicated technology also represents a real opportunity for companies hoping to ensure a positive employee experience. Six in 10 employees said they lack a helpful tool to document career aspirations and determine the skills needed to reach them. The survey also found definitively that having underperforming tools for performance enablement can be worse than having no tools at all.

Download a complimentary copy of the full research for more on the findings above — and additional insights on check-ins, feedback, goals, and other critical components of employee enablement.

Read the Full Report

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