Turnover is one of the most common HR headaches that you face, but what can you do about it?
Summer Rogers, a senior solution consultant on Visier’s embedded analytics team, says that there are 2 primary approaches to solving turnover: proactive and reactive.
Proactive approaches require getting ahead of the problem to make employees less likely to leave in the first place, but when employees come to you with outside offers, a reactive approach can give you a chance to retain them.
To learn more, check out Summer’s proactive and reactive strategies below.
Proactive retention strategies
Culture encompasses the formal and informal systems, behaviors, and values that influence an employee’s experience at work — and it can have a massive impact on retention.
Summer suggests 4 proactive strategies to prevent turnover: thoughtfully designing culture, avoiding toxic managers, investing in potential, and conducting stay interviews.
Culture encompasses the formal and informal systems, behaviors, and values that influence an employee’s experience at work — and it can have a massive impact on retention. A well-designed culture adapts to changing times and gives employees the ability to make informed decisions about their roles and responsibilities. What is your current culture, and how can you change it to make coming to work a positive and impactful experience for all your employees?
Avoiding toxic managers seems obvious — and an important part of a thoughtful culture — but Summer says that 25% of managers have received no leadership training. Managers are an organization’s front line when it comes to retaining talent, and their ability to coach and empathize with employees is a primary factor in both employee and manager satisfaction.
Investing in potential requires offering development opportunities, which Summer says is a “no brainer” for organizations and far less expensive than replacing employees who leave. This can include job-specific training and learning and attention to career paths and upward movement.
Lastly, Summer recommends the stay interview as an alternative to the exit interview. This gives managers a time to communicate with employees about how they’re doing and what they need to be successful and feel supported — before it’s too late.
Reactive retention strategies
Even the best-prepared organizations face unexpected turnover or macro factors beyond their control, like the pandemic and the Great Resignation. Summer says there are 2 main reactive strategies to combat turnover: making counter offers and nurturing boomerang employees.
If a high-impact, high-performing employee gives notice, the manager can respond with a counteroffer and a retention bonus — which specifies an amount of time the employee is expected to stay. An employee bringing up the outside offer can be a good sign that they’re willing to reconsider, but the success rate of this tactic depends on the relationship between employee and manager. Summer also cautions leaders to only counteroffer once to avoid creating a pattern.
If a high-impact, high-performing employee gives notice, the manager can respond with a counteroffer and a retention bonus — which specifies an amount of time the employee is expected to stay.
And finally, if employees do decide to move on, Summer recommends building bridges, not burning them. By treating departing employees with care and respect and keeping in touch, organizations can benefit from engaged alumni who might one day decide to return — something Summer has experienced in her time as a manager.
These “boomerang employees” offer myriad benefits: faster time to hire and time to productivity, reengaged domain knowledge, and a strong signal to other employees that the grass is not greener.
Some level of turnover might be unavoidable, but with a careful mix of proactive and reactive strategies, you can keep the high-performing employees who matter most — or attract them to return in the future.
For more of Summer Rogers’s discussion of strategies to combat turnover headaches, tune in to POPS! The People Ops Podcast.