Late last year, The Washington Post proclaimed, “workers are ghosting their employers like bad dates.” The article revealed that recruiters at global staffing firm Robert Half had noticed a 10-20% rise in ghosting over the preceding year.
Amidst the increase in ghosting, job-hopping remains commonplace. It’s becoming more and more challenging to retain top talent. A staggering 81% of employees would consider leaving their job for the right offer. The average number of years workers spend at Silicon Valley’s tech titans is especially fleeting. Workers at Uber, Apple, and Google leave after 1.23, 1.85, and 1.90 years, respectively, according to research from Paysa.
Fortunately, there are proactive steps that employers can take to avoid workers giving two weeks’ notice or, worse yet, falling off the face of the earth.
1. Prioritize opportunities for professional development
Workers are yearning for opportunities to grow and advance. Millennials are especially apt to prioritize professional development opportunities. According to research by Gallup, up to 87% of Millennials consider professional development important. It’s not about going through the motions—workers want to be supported as they aspire to climb the ranks and progress in their career.
Yet professional development opportunities are hard to come by. According to research by SHRM, only 30% of workers are satisfied with their current professional development opportunities. To be sure, workers aren’t just blowing smoke in craving professional development opportunities. Research indicates that 70% of today’s high performers lack crucial attributes essential to their future career success.
Forward-thinking companies intent on reducing employee churn are embracing a learning culture. An organization’s learning culture is one of the most important drivers of business impact. Consider, for example, American Express. As recounted by SHRM, American Express measures the impact of learning interventions on individual and organizational change. Additionally, it leverages employee pulse survey results to better understand the impact of various learning interventions and strategies. Recognizing the impact of a learning culture, American Express has even crafted a dedicated role focused on learning. David Clark, the company’s senior vice president and chief learning officer reflects, “When employees are consistently learning, they are happy.”
The leaders of tomorrow will prioritize embracing a learning culture and professional development opportunities. In doing so, they’ll move waters in terms of preventing employee turnover.
2. Eliminate monotonous work
According to a 2018 study spearheaded by Korn Ferry, boredom and the desire for new challenges is the number one driver of employee churn. A staggering 33% of individuals cite boredom as the primary impetus behind their decision to leave.
While there are numerous drivers associated with boredom, monotonous work packs an especially potent punch. Workers are spending hours on end performing monotonous low-impact work. In fact, according to a new study by Asana, workers spend, on average, four hours and 38 minutes each week on pure duplication of work. In addition to time spent on duplicative work, workers are constantly throttled by bottlenecks in their workflows.
In our technology-powered world, it’s hard to believe that workers are squandering so much of their valuable time on low-impact activities. Investing in tools that automate workflows—in particular, those that are powered by artificial intelligence—can go a long way in heightening engagement and reducing employee churn.
3. Leverage artificial intelligence
Peter Drucker is often attributed to the quote, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Forward-thinking companies recognize the importance of measuring the various factors and initiatives that influence employee retention. Professors Brooks Holtom of Georgetown University and David Allen of Texas Christian University recently developed an index to measure turnover propensity. According to Holtom and Allen’s research, there are two primary drivers behind employee turnover: turnover shocks and low job embeddedness. Turnover shocks are incited by events such as marriage or a change of leadership that cause workers to re-evaluate whether or not they should remain at the company. Job embeddedness, on the other hand, relates to how strongly connected workers feel to the workplace. Job embeddedness tends to plateau when workers lack deep social ties in the workplace.
The single most effective way to reduce employee turnover is to embrace artificial intelligence. By leveraging artificial intelligence, companies can determine which specific factors drive turnover and predict which employees are most likely to leave. By monitoring salary increases, life events, performance ratings, participation in professional development opportunities, and thousands of other data points, employees can uncover the true drivers inciting employee turnover. Armed with artificial intelligence, no stone should be left unturned. Even such factors as length of work commute can influence turnover.