VOICE OF EXPERTS

6 Ways To Turn Around Employee Turnover

Although many organizations are experiencing strong revenue growth, thanks to a strong global economy, they are suffering because employees are leaving in droves.  Why is this happening?  By the end of 2020, 50% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996), and this generation is not willing to work in a crappy dysfunctional culture.  It’s that simple.
Many leaders and managers have thrown Millennials under the bus, calling them lazy, entitled, coddled, and irresponsible.  Because these generations have gotten such a bad rap, it’s easy for people to make the leap and say, “Millennials are quitting on us because they don’t have their act together.  It’s not us, it’s them.” My friends, this could not be further from the truth.  With all due respect, your workers are quitting on you because your organization doesn’t have its act together.  You may be thinking, “If this is true – if our culture is bad – we would have had employee turnover issues for decades.”  Very logical, but let me tell you why you haven’t had an employee turnover problem for decades- Your older generations of workers – Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, and Gen Xers – value the status quo and loyalty.  Millennials value changing the world and autonomy.  So, when a Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, or Gen Xer’s needs are not met, he or she usually does not do anything about it because they value the status quo and being loyal.  Millennials are not wired that way.  If a Millennial’s needs are not being met, there’s a good chance they will quit on you because they don’t value “the way we’ve always done things here” and loyalty. To put your organization on a winning path, embark on an Employee Engagement Journey.   Here’s a roadmap:

Conduct an Annual Employee Engagement Survey.

The survey results will tell you what percentage of your employees are Engaged, Neutral, and Disengaged.  Select a survey with no more than 40 questions, as a survey this length will take 10 minutes to complete.  Knowledge is power.

Set a One-Year Employee Engagement Goal.

If 50% of your employees are engaged, consider setting a goal to increase engagement to 55% the following year.  Then each year thereafter, continue moving up your goal.  Employee Engagement is a journey – you should expect to make progress year after year.

Develop a strategy to improve your culture.

The strategy will be actions that managers need to take with their teams in an effort to improve the culture.  What areas should you tackle?  Look at the five lowest-scoring questions on your Survey and create a list of manager actions that will help improve these areas.  Also, address the areas of two-way communication, recognition, and creating a work environment where people feel connected to something bigger than themselves.  When employees have a voice at work, feel appreciated, and have meaning at work, they stay longer and are more engaged.

Engage your CEO in your Employee Engagement Journey.

The strategy should be communicated to managers from the CEO, so everyone sees that culture change is a priority.  Conduct Manager Town Hall Meetings where the CEO shares the Survey results and the strategy to improve.  End the meeting with the One-Year Goal, so managers know they own the improvement in the culture.

Hold managers accountable for results.

The easiest way to do this is to make the One-Year Goal your manager’s goal.  Your managers play a key role because they have the most interaction with employees.  If your One-Year Goal is to increase engagement from 50 to 55%, add this goal to your Performance Management System for all of your mangers. Accountability is a must in the world of culture change.

Course correct and celebrate.

If you miss the One-Year Goal, it’s usually because your managers are not executing on the strategy.  Bring managers together and have open and honest conversations about what’s standing in their way.  End the meeting by encouraging managers and letting them know you are confident in their abilities to succeed.  If you meet or achieve your One-Year Goal, celebrate.  Your managers have done great work executing on the plan!   In general, employees do not leave amazing workplaces that are meeting their needs.  Follow the six steps above and I trust you will see improvements in six months.  In addition to minimizing turnover, an extraordinary culture will boost employee productivity and creativity, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.  Priceless.


Jill Christensen Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?”, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees.