The U.S. is in the midst of a turnover epidemic. According to the latest Workforce Vitality Report from ADP Research Institute and Moody’s Analytics, the employee attrition rate for Q4 2016 slightly exceeded 26 percent. These numbers were even starker when broken down by age group. The 25-to-34 demographic saw a turnover rate of almost 30 percent, while the rate for employees 24 and under was nearly 63 percent.
In a way, this is good news for American workers. It implies a large number of jobs are available and the economy is improving. However, the situation presents a problem for employers, who are at increased risk of losing their staff and being forced to find and train new ones. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129. In addition, Glassdoor found it takes approximately 23 days to complete the hiring process. Many business leaders would rather save the time and money by ensuring their employees don’t quit in the first place.
If you are serious about reducing your turnover rate, you should make this goal one of your objectives and key results. Doing so gives you actionable, time-bound steps to succeed in keeping your staff. Here are things to keep in mind when creating such OKRs:
Increase activities that build company culture
When searching for a specific cause of high turnover, business leaders tend to look at tangible factors like benefits and compensation. Such efforts are misguided, however, as these elements have little influence over whether or not an employee enjoys coming to work. The biggest predictor of happiness, according to the 2017 Employee Engagement Report from TINYpulse, is a company’s culture.
People who are happy at work are more likely to remain with their employer after a year, so increasing these feelings should be one goal of any business hoping to reduce turnover. To incorporate this idea into your, OKRs try hosting more leisure events. As an example, your objective could be to increase work-sponsored activities to at least one event per quarter. A key result could be to have at least 30 percent of your staff attend the first one and increase attended by 10 percent each quarter.
Another idea is to create workplace wellness programs. Here, the objective could be to create a structure that focuses on total body health: cardiovascular fitness, strength and mental wellness. A key result would be to have 70 percent of your staff participate by the end of the year.
Recognize employees when it matters
The TINYpulse survey also pointed out a disturbing trend. Because fewer managers recognize staff for a job well done, only 25 percent of employees feel like they are valued by their employer. Their engagement falters as a result, and they’re more likely to search for a job where they feel appreciated.
Therefore, every business focused on reducing employee attrition should create programs that make their staff feel acknowledged and supported. These programs could range from rewards for exceeding team OKRs to an individual thank you when a person does well. Keep in mind that when it comes to receiving individual recognition, no two people are alike. For example, some prefer a nice comment over email while others would rather be spoken to in person. Tools like the BetterWorks Work Graph allow management and executives to acknowledge staff members in ways that best benefit the business and the company.
Offer more opportunities for growth
It’s rare that people are comfortable doing the same things day after day. They’d much rather be challenged or work on something they find fulfilling, which makes new assignments a welcome opportunity. Look for ways to vary your staff’s typical job description. In terms of OKRs, your objective wouldn’t necessarily be to increase the number of tasks a person has to complete. Instead, it would be to give them assignments that are more involved or more essential to the success of the business. Focusing on an employee’s growth also shows you trust him or her to handle something difficult, which is another form of much-needed recognition.
Employee growth sometimes involves a promotion, but it doesn’t mean you have to pull a new position out of thin air. Your industry is always changing no matter where you work – new productivity software is constantly released and updated, new legislation is changing legacy processes and big data is altering the way many businesses make decisions. Offering training on these new developments and tools is a great way to help your staff improve and increase its skill set.