Q&A: I’m seeing turnover; what should I do?
Is your organization experiencing a lot of turnover? It can be overwhelming to figure out what to do when it’s happening, let alone prevent it from becoming an uncontrollable pattern. In this episode, Summer Rogers, Senior Solution Consultant from the embedded analytics team at Visier, joins the show to share what you can do proactively […]
Is your organization experiencing a lot of turnover? It can be overwhelming to figure out what to do when it’s happening, let alone prevent it from becoming an uncontrollable pattern.
In this episode, Summer Rogers, Senior Solution Consultant from the embedded analytics team at Visier, joins the show to share what you can do proactively and what you can do reactively to combat this issue.
- Order your copy of our book People Operations: Zenefits.com/pops-book
On this episode, you’ll hear:
- [01:12] Thoughtfully design culture and avoid toxic managers
- [02:23] Invest in development opportunities for your employees
- [03:20] Act on what you learn in stay interviews
- [04:00] Reactive measures to keep your people; counter offers
- [05:15] Consider boomerang workers
Welcome to POPS, the show that shows you how to shift from human resource paperwork, to people operations for the new world of work. How? By answering one question at a time. I’m Summer Rogers, Senior Solution Consultant from the embedded analytics team at Visier. And I’m here to help answer the question, you notice an increase in turnover, what do you do? Prior to solution consulting, I spent 15 years designing products serving the human capital management space, nine of which I spent in a leadership role. In short, talking to experts in the field like CEOs, CHROs, maybe chief people officers, directors of talent and supporting a team of people has provided a broad education and some experience on the topic and certainly helped me design products to meet those needs.
I want to answer today’s question from two perspectives, what you can do proactively and what you can do reactively. Proactively, there’s a long checklist of targeted actions to reduce voluntary turnover. Based on experience and research, here are a few, I believe are most effective. Thoughtfully designing culture. Culture is how you do what you do in the workplace. It is the formal and informal systems. The behaviors and values that influence the employee experience at work. I don’t care if you’re a startup or global enterprise. This is really important as a step. It impacts retention, because it allows candidates and employees to make more informed decisions about roles and responsibilities. This isn’t a stagnant thing. You need to assess your culture and adapt to rapidly changing times. The second example, avoid toxic managers. There are many articles and studies on this topic. I am surprised to this day that still one in four managers have not received leadership training, 25% is a lot.
Managers are your frontline in retaining talent. Their ability to assess, coach, empathize and solution is critically important for their employees productivity and satisfaction. And it’s strongly correlated to the manager’s own positive work experience. Prevent turnover of your managers and their employees by developing your people leaders. Third, invest in potential. Development opportunities for your employees increased engagement and commitment to the organization. And it’s good for business too. It’s a no brainer, a far less expensive route with a better return on investment than backfilling employees. Now, here is my favorite proactive action. The one very practical action, both managers and HR business partners should be doing immediately is scheduling time for what a colleague of mine calls a stay interview. That’s right. You heard me correctly. Exit interviews are common practice, but do you have a stay interview? Managers can ask their employees directly; how are you?
What do you need? How can I help make sure this organization is helping support you and your professional and personal goals? It’s an informal conversation. And it’s a little effort that goes a long way in ensuring your employees, their managers, and the business itself are in alignment. Lastly, act on what you learn. If someone wants to change roles, learn a new skill, negotiate salary. Consider it, do it. Take action on what you hear for those employees you’d like to keep. Let’s talk about reactive measures. Sometimes there are forces beyond our influence, macro forces that spark waves of change. We all experienced a pandemic and we all witnessed the impact it had on work. These events are hard to predict and therefore hard to fend off with proactive actions. So let’s discuss what you can do if proactive prevention isn’t enough and you are experiencing in real time increased turnover that is affecting the ability of the business to progress at its expected pace.
So let’s say a high performer with a high impact on the business gives notice. What can you do? Well, you can make a counter offer and even offer a retention bonus. You have one shot to get your employee to reconsider with a counter offer and a retention bonus. A retention bonus has an explicit duration of time that that employee is expected to stay. And hopefully, they will reengage for the long term. But this buys you time to succession plan, move resources, and even get ahead on hiring. Signs that this could be something they’re willing to consider is that they’re sharing with you the details of their offer. This conversation needs to happen between their manager and the employee and its success rate is highly dependent on the relationship that exists between the employee and manager. I recommend only countering once to avoid setting a pattern of counter offers, to negotiate salary outside of performance and compensation cycles. And consider this a warning from a high performer that you, their manager or HR business partner needs to be more attuned to their needs and goals at work. It means check-ins.
My next reactionary recommendation is about alumni. Alumni might be your future boomerang worker. Your high performer is leaving, sometimes it’s unavoidable. But build bridges, don’t burn them. Demonstrate appreciation, support, and care up until their last day and beyond. Stay in touch with your alumni and be proud of their accomplishments outside of your organization. The boomerang worker is real. What is a boomerang worker? It’s an employee who quits the organization and at a future point returns. I’ve personally experienced a member of my team leaving after three years tenure and returning a year later. He took another product role with a higher salary. He gained experience and skills while he was working on another product. And he also shared that he never once had a performance review or a development conversation with his manager. I remember the day he came in for an informal interview. We walked around the product and engineering floor and his former colleagues enthusiastically encouraged him to return.
It felt great for him. It felt great for us. He told me for over a year at his company, he never had a check-in or performance review with his manager. And he hadn’t realized the importance he placed on that kind of support. He worked with me for another four years and left some time after my own departure. Attracting former employees back to the organization has a lot of positive outcomes. Visier, Forbes, CNBC have all written recently about this topic and the positive impact of a returning employee outweighs the risks. Time to hire is faster. Productivity is faster. Domain knowledge is reengaged. And other employees infer that they’re already at a great place to work. Reducing their curiosity to look elsewhere. Social platforms like LinkedIn, make it easier to keep in touch and attract former employees to boomerang back to your organization.
I want to thank Zenefits for the invitation to speak on this topic. The HCM space is full of products and services aimed at helping organizations of all sizes, support their most important resource, their people. Visier is one of those products too. Please check us out and see how we can help both organizations understand insights around their people and even how we can help other HCM software products embed analytics, so their data can be accessible and insightful for their customers.
Do you have any questions for us? Click the link in the show’s notes, or if you’ve got another idea or feedback about our show, send them to [email protected] Bye for now.
About The People Ops Podcast
Every week, we share the decisions, struggles, and successes for keeping up with an evolving workforce and a changing workplace. No matter if you’ve been in HR or are just getting started, this combination of transformational stories with actionable ideas, as well as context on hot issues, keeps you up-to-date while answering the questions you didn’t even know you had.
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