In the past 12 months, over 19 million US workers have quit their jobs, and it’s getting even worse since employees are willing to quit without another job in the pipeline. Instead of investigating the true causes of attrition, many companies are jumping to well-intentioned quick fixes such as increasing financial perks, offering bonuses, and promoting employees. This transaction might be a short-term solution; nonetheless, with other companies offering the same or more, employees are switching jobs and sometimes entire industries. To start turning attrition into attraction, companies must make an effort to strengthen the relational ties people have with their colleagues and their employers. Below are three key steps to do so:
1. Assess if your employees feel heard and valued
The past 18 months have taught employers that pay, benefits, and perks are important to employees. However, even more critical is that employees want to feel valued by their organizations and managers. Asking employees about their job satisfaction through assessment tools provides invaluable insights to help your company shape priorities and procedures. Make sure that responses are collected anonymously, so you get an honest assessment. Some typical metrics to assess values are:
- Are employees’ values aligned with the company’s values?
- How are employees defining the success of the company?
- Do employees have the ability to recognize what strengths and qualities they bring to the company’s success?
- Do employees perceive that they have the tools and support to do their job well?
- Do employees feel supported by the company, direct managers, and coworkers?
- Do they feel they are receiving fair pay?
- Are they receiving recognition for their discretionary efforts? Are those recognitions perceived as authentic?
- Do employees feel that work is fairly distributed?
- Do they feel they have opportunities to acquire new skills? For advancement within the company? That the company values work/life balance?
By understanding what employees are running from and what they might gravitate toward, company leaders are can invest in a more fulfilling employee experience.
2. Assess organizational culture
Often, employers ignore organizational culture unless the workplace becomes toxic. Executives who don’t make their people feel valued can drive them away from companies, with or without a new job in hand. Companies can begin the cultural assessment by asking some of the following questions:
- What are our core values? Do we need to revise them? How do our employees interpret the company values? Are they aligned?
- Do we have the right people in the right places, especially managers?
- What has been the attrition rate in the past year? Are our offerings to the employees transactional?
- Are our benefits aligned with employees’ priorities?
- Can we provide career paths and development opportunities to employees?
- How are we building a sense of community for our employees, especially in remote and hybrid models?
Such organizational assessments can help you identify critical issues and opportunities to improve your organization’s overall effectiveness.
3. Take initiatives to help employees feel valued
Making employees feel valued must be seen as an organizational initiative rather than a wellbeing initiative. Some critical steps are:
- Touch base early and often. If you create routines that allow your employees to share stories with you about what they’re doing or working on, you can make them feel “known” by you.
- Give balanced feedback. Employees want to know what they’re doing well and where they can improve.
- Address growth opportunities. Employees want to know what the future holds for their careers.
- Offer flexibility by showing trust and appreciation
- Make it a habit, be authentic in your approach
Setting up strong communication channels with employees, building trust, and acting on feedback about recognition and working conditions is a core part of being a successful, human-driven employer.
The Great Attrition is real and will continue. Yet this unique moment also represents a significant opportunity for your company. By evaluating how your values align with your employees’ values and acting thoughtfully on the relational aspects of work that people have missed the most, your company can start turning attrition into attraction.