How to Reduce Turnover

Turnover is inevitable in every company. An employee may love their job but leave for an opportunity they’re more passionate about. Other times, changes in someone’s life can make it necessary to get a new job.

But the unfortunate reality is most people leave a job when they’re unhappy. An employee can grow to feel like the grass is greener on the other side and it’s time to move on.

Employee discontent can be prevented in many cases. Instead of losing a valuable team member and going through the process of hiring and training someone new, you can reduce employee turnover by following the tips outlined in this article.

Have a supportive company culture

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people want to like where they work. An employee will leave if they don’t enjoy their job or get along with their colleagues.

Every company should have a supportive and positive work environment where employees are respected and treated well. Each person should feel like their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and the company appreciates the contributions they make.

While work is often stressful, it’s also important everyone gets along and works toward common goals. Try your best to be aware of the different dynamics that exist in your workplace and resolve problems before they grow out of hand. If your employees like coming to work, they’ll stick around for a long time.

Be open to employee feedback

One of the best ways to build a positive company culture is to allow your employees to speak their minds. They should be able to voice ideas and valid concerns without upsetting their manager or another member of the leadership team.

Taking employee feedback to heart leads to improvement across the entire company. Listening to fresh ideas can help the business evolve and reach goals faster than anticipated. Decision makers don’t need to implement every suggestion, but they should be open to hearing a junior team member’s opinion.

You can also improve the employee experience by learning what would make the staff more comfortable as they go about their workdays. Consider conducting an annual employee engagement survey asking the staff what changes they would like to see. It might sound silly but some people would rather go through the effort of getting hired elsewhere, than asking for even a minor improvement in their current job.

Establish clear responsibilities and goals for each position

Another way to reduce turnover is to set clear expectations for each individual employee in your company. This should be done the first day they join – and even talked about during the hiring process.

Tell them what you expect them to accomplish in the first week, month, 90 days, and year on the job. From there, outline the exact tasks and projects they’ll need to complete to achieve their goals. This approach makes each team member feel like they’re doing meaningful work and not just spinning their wheels. It also benefits the company since employees tend to stay more motivated and on task when they know what they need to achieve.

Do regular performance reviews

Once you have clear responsibilities and goals set for your staff, it’s important to let each person know how they’re performing. Team members should meet with their direct manager on a weekly, or at least monthly basis, for a standard check-in. They should talk about what they’re working on, how it’s coming along, and what the results should be.

In addition to regular check-ins, every employee should participate in an in-depth performance review every six months or year. This conversation should be a retrospective on how the employee has improved over time and where they still need to make progress. Direct managers and employees should revisit previously-established goals for the employee’s role and talk about how they’ve done at accomplishing them.

Lack of clarity is a common reason people quit their jobs. If someone is not sure how they’re doing, they might feel like they’re not appreciated or worry they’re underperforming. These concerns can be resolved by clearing the air with frequent check-ins and consistent performance reviews.

Strive to promote from within

Every professional has long-term career goals. The work they’re doing today is setting the stage for the work they hope to do down the line. Unfortunately, the easiest way to get a promotion and raise is often to get a new job.

Your company can retain its most talented people by promoting them when the right positions become available. If an employee has been meeting their role objectives, it makes sense to trust them with greater responsibilities. During the annual or semi-annual performance review, career goals should be a topic of conversation. Learn what the employee aspires to do in the future and if your company can make it happen. If they’re not quite ready for advancement yet, tell them what they can do to get there and make a note to reevaluate their progress during the next performance review.

Create an internal training and mentorship program

While promoting from within helps with retention, employees may lack the skills to move into a senior role. Even if they’re great at what they do, it often makes more sense to hire an external candidate than promote someone who doesn’t have the background the role calls for.

This problem can be avoided by establishing a program that prepares team members to take on more responsibility the longer they’re with your company. Ask members of your senior leadership team to set aside a few hours each week to train and mentor junior employees. In this program, they can teach participants what they do and how they do it, while also sharing the important lessons they have learned along the way.  

Learn where you can improve

Even if your company is a great employer, people eventually move on. While you don’t want to see employees go, you can learn why they’re leaving by conducting an exit interview. Meet with them on their last day and find out if there is anything your company could have done to retain them. They’ll likely be straightforward so make the right improvements to prevent other employees from leaving for the same reasons.