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The Harsh Reality About Retention in This Hot Candidates’ Job Market

by Stacy Pursell | Jul 10, 2019

Hiring for employers in this current job market is made tough enough by the fact that qualified candidates are in short supply. However, the matter is made all the worse by the issue of retention.

Earlier this year, a new report from Gallup estimated that U.S. businesses are losing a trillion dollars every year due to voluntary employee turnover. (And believe it or not, Gallup spokespeople indicated that number is conservative. It could very well be more money than that.) Shortly after the information regarding that poll was released, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its own numbers. Specifically, the BLS announced that the number of workers in the United States who had quit their jobs in 2018 was more than 40 million, representing nearly 27% of the workforce.

However, the report from the Gallup poll contained even more intriguing information:

  • Slightly more than 50% of professionals polled indicated their manager or their employer could have done something to keep them from quitting. Obviously, they did not.
  • Slightly more than 50% of professionals polled indicated that in the three months preceding their departure, no one at their employer had spoken with them about their job satisfaction.

So believe it or not, all that anyone had to do was speak to these employees about their job satisfaction in the months leading up to their departure. It may have taken more of an effort for some of these employees to stay, but at the very least, they indicated that their manager or employer could have done something to keep them from quitting. And more than likely, that something did not have to be a raise or other increase in compensation. However, not enough effort was made to keep them. Consequently, half of these professionals left for another employment opportunity . . . and created half a trillion dollars in costs for their employers at the same time.

While the title of this article is “The Harsh Reality About Retention in This Hot Candidates’ Market,” there is actually more than one harsh reality. Those realities are as follows:

  1. As mentioned above, there is a lack of qualified candidates for many positions.
  2. Because there are so many employment opportunities and options available to top candidates, these candidates are changing jobs more frequently, resulting in the type of turnover reflected in the Gallup report.
  3. Employers are experiencing higher rates of attrition and lower rates of retention.
  4. Employers are missing out on opportunities to retain more of their most important employees, mainly because they are failing to engage these employees and communicate with them about their job satisfaction and career goals.

It’s perhaps this final reality that is the harshest. That’s because it’s disheartening and disappointing to realize that you could have done something to retain your best employees, but because you didn’t, they left the organization for another opportunity. Which brings us to the crux of this article, namely what you as an employer CAN do to stop employees from leaving.

With that in mind, below are five strategies for improving the retention rate of your organization:

#1—Make your onboarding experience a top-notch one.

I’ve mentioned this before in numerous articles and blog posts. During the onboarding process, your new employee is evaluating whether or not they made the right decision in joining your organization. And if what they experience convinces them that they made the wrong decision, then it will only be a matter of time before they leave.

#2—Recognize your employees in a variety of ways.

Once again, this can be simple. It could be a pat on the back (literally and/or figuratively) and a kind word. Or it could be an email or formal recognition in front of their co-workers. Your best employees just want to know that their hard work is appreciated.

#3—Make personal development a top priority.

The reason that you should make this a top priority is because your best employees are making it a top priority. This illustrates one of the main reasons why many organizations lose employees: their priorities are not in line with the priorities of those employees. What is important to your employees must also be important to you. If not, then your organization’s retention rate is at risk.

#4—Upgrade your equipment on a consistent basis.

This is a retention strategy that some employers do not consider, and that’s a mistake. Professionals want to work with the latest and most up-to-date equipment available. It helps them do their job faster and better, which is a win-win for everyone involved. People have left their job not because of their boss or the company culture, but because they were tired of dealing with old and outdated equipment.

#5—Be as flexible as you can be with employees’ work schedules.

This is a priority for younger workers, the Millennial Generation in particular. Although there is a limit to how flexible some organizations can be in regards to work schedules, any flexibility will go a long way toward retaining employees. Taking a hardline stance in this area can backfire, especially considering current market conditions.

Retention is a huge issue for employers in this current marketplace. However, there are things that employers can do to stop their best candidates from leaving. Follow the steps listed above to give your organization a competitive advantage over other employers in the marketplace.






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