New research reveals three reflective questions for leaders struggling with employee retention and turnover.
TikTok work lingo has -- once again -- carried into the mainstream. In recent months,a new phenomenon has surfaced called rage applying, which is the act of abruptly looking for a job elsewhere due to dissatisfaction with your current job.
While this trend may be convenient for employees, many leaders are starting the year uninspired, understaffed, and (hopefully) under the impression it's time to make a change. So, how can leaders get ahead of rage applying and keep their top performers on the payroll?
The state of the workplace (and questions leaders must ask)
To answer this question, Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI) surveyed over 5,000 employees and HR leaders worldwide, revealing many truths about the current --and future -- state of the workforce. The data found over half of employees (61 percent) have one foot out the door, shining a light on the workforce's current imperfections.
If leaders are seeing high turnover and are searching for a catalyst, they should self-reflect on three important questions:
1. Am I making my employees feel heard?
Employees want to feel heard. Every HR model should be fueled by employee voice, given those who can work the way they prefer are 22 percent more likely to say they won't hunt for jobs this year. This is especially critical since nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of HR leaders say the labor shortage is getting worse.
.When organizations listen to employees, they are well-positioned to adopt policies and practices that align with workers' unique wants, driving engagement and retention. Indeed, employees who say meaningful action is taken on their feedback are 37 percent less likely to job hunt in 2023. It all comes down to the simple truth: You must make business decisions based on direct feedback, as opposed to overgeneralized assumptions.
For example, employees who work the way they prefer report higher engagement, belonging, and job commitment than either onsite, hybrid, or remote employees, showing the power of adhering to employee wants instead of listening to flashy headlines. While hybrid work is often idealized by the media, the research revealed these workers are most at risk for low rates of engagement and belonging. The answer isn't hybrid work, but flexible work -- with respondents admitting flexibility is the top reason to stay in a role. However, it's important for employers to learn that flexibility doesn't look the same for every worker. It's vital to adopt an employee-driven flexible work policy, empowering workers to define what way of working best fits their needs.
2. Am I making my employees feel seen?
Employees want to feel seen. Workers say they'd rather work at a company where they feel supported and valued, as opposed to feeling not-so-appreciated and making 30 percent more. While fair compensation matters, employees are seeking something bigger than a hefty paycheck. They're seeking belonging.
"Belonging is the powerhouse of every workforce. With employees now logging on from different Zip codes, connecting with colleagues is no longer happening at the water cooler with the same regularity," says Natalie Baumgartner, chief workforce scientist at Achievers. "Leaders must create opportunities to mimic the water cooler chatter in a virtual setting, and for many, it starts with polling the workforce to see how workers prefer to connect. From there, they can implement meaningful practices that will resonate with the entire organization."
For example, organizations can leverage HR technology to introduce virtual employees to like-minded co-workers, known as employee pairing solutions. By leveraging this technology, people can seamlessly connect on similar interests and form meaningful workplace friendships, which ultimately, ups overall retention. So much so, employees with a strong sense of connection are 19 percent less likely to job hunt and more than twice as likely to feel a strong sense of belonging. Though to-do lists are big and budgets are small, leaders still need to prioritize employee connection (even if the board-meeting slides feel like a bigger priority).
3. Am I making my employees feel appreciated?
Employees want to feel appreciated.Forty& hours of impactful work a week deserves 40 words of impactful praise. Recognition is the biggest driver of employee connection -- and it's also a protective factor against turnover. Employees who report they are never recognized are 39 percent more likely to say they will job hunt in 2023. Work can be taxing, but when your colleagues sing your praises, the list of deliverables feels easier to tackle.
"A recession is coming, and leaders are looking for budget-friendly ways to drive continued success," says Baumgartner. "Upping employee recognition is a low-cost way to drive high-impact results, given that 90 percent of employees say that receiving recognition motivates them to work harder. Also, employees who say their organization values recognition are half as likely to be actively job seeking."
So, the next time a co-worker dazzles you with a well-thought-out presentation or comforts you with meaningful strategic direction, take advantage of the opportunity to celebrate their wins. Well-constructed complimentary feedback that is specific, personal, and describes the impact they had could be the needed interception between a top employee and an interested recruiter.
Rage applying is stealing the news headlines, but with proper reflection, the phenomenon doesn't need to steal your top performers. It is vital to understand what motivates individuals and what they value, rather than lobbying policies and practices blindly. Never underestimate the power of checking in with employees and gathering constructive feedback. It may be the ticket to success in 2023.