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Why is retention so vital today? One reason is that Gen Z and millennials are more likely than any other generation to look for a new job in the next 12 months. In fact, according to a Bankrate Job Seekers survey, in March of this year, 78 percent of Gen Z and 61 percent of millennials will likely search for a new role.
Losing talent is expensive. Between recruiting, onboarding, and training, replacing an employee can cost up to two times the employee’s annual salary. As these generations become a bigger part of the global workforce, companies will have to work harder than ever to retain their services and avoid significant and continuous recruitment and onboarding costs.
What’s causing workers around the globe to leave their jobs?
So, why are workers likely to search for new jobs? G-P’s 2022 Global Employee Survey tackled this very question head-on. Respondents from nine countries shared what they were looking for when changing jobs.
The most common answers across the globe were better pay, wanting to feel more fulfilled, more career progression opportunities, and wanting to learn something new. The same survey also found a direct correlation between job happiness and productivity — on a global scale, workers agreed that the quality of their work decreased when they were not happy in their jobs.
For example, 83 percent of South Korean-based workers, 80 percent of Israel-based workers, and 75 percent of Australia-based agreed with this statement. Naturally, the next logical step to solve this problem of difficult employee retention and lower productivity is to examine ways to make employees happy. Here are a few methods to ensuring teams are productive, happy, and engaged.
#1: Autonomy over one’s schedule can help with retention and productivity.
A recent June to December 2022 study was conducted on four-day working weeks. As 61 companies throughout the UK, totaling 2,900 workers, took part it’s no surprise that the approaches to the four-day workweek structure varied.
These included everything from “Friday off” models to “staggered,” “decentralized,” “annualized,” and “conditional” structures. Of the 61 participating companies, 56 are continuing with the four-day week (92 percent), with 18 companies confirming the policy is a permanent change.
Compared to a similar period from previous years, the companies involved also reported an average annual revenue increase of 35 percent. This indicates healthy growth during this period of reduced working time, suggesting increased productivity and motivation. Significantly, when it comes to employee retention, the number of workers leaving participating companies decreased by 57 percent over the trial period.
Moreover, before-and-after data shows that 39 percent of employees were less stressed, and 71 percent had reduced levels of burnout at the end of the trial. Likewise, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep issues decreased, while mental and physical health improved.
#2: Focused time can prevent interruptions and save companies money.
Another key strategy to boost productivity is encouraging employees to implement “focus time” into their daily routines. Focus time is uninterrupted work time for your most important tasks. 2021 data showed that employees receive up to 125 messages via Slack daily. This is a problem because it can take over 23 minutes on average to get back on track after an interruption.
According to a 2022 German Think Tank Next Work Innovation report, regular interruptions can cost companies EUR 58 billion annually. Therefore, encouraging your employees to block off part of their day to focus on their essential work will help increase their productivity and decrease frustration.
Focused time can be implemented easily by using Microsoft Viva Insights. Features include setting automatic time blocking for top-priority work. This means Viva will schedule focus time for up to four hours daily once preferences are set up. Metrics also detail how many days a user has consistently focused, which can aid both employees and their managers when assessing areas like workloads and even wellbeing.
Additionally, when it comes to working with colleagues in different time zones, emails can be scheduled so that they will only send during the recipient’s working hours. By fostering a culture that it is encouraged to switch off from devices and not respond immediately to requests, companies drive productivity. Moreover, engaging with your workforce is surprisingly overlooked, but the consequences can be very beneficial.
For example, a Salesforce study found that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work. In contrast, employees that don’t feel recognized when they do great work are almost twice as likely to be job hunting. Therefore, giving your employees permission to find their best way of working will help increase retention.
#3: Mapping out a path to professional progression benefits both employees and their employers.
Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 report found that, along with dissatisfaction, workers are experiencing staggering rates of both disengagement and unhappiness. Sixty percent of people reported being emotionally detached at work, and 19 percent said they’re miserable.
One way to tackle disengagement at work is to help employees map a career path. For instance, Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent 2023 survey found that 84 percent of employee respondents with a clear career path said it makes them more committed to their employers. A career pathway helps ensure employees have equal opportunities, pay structure, and access to varied forms of professional progression across the organization.
So, what are some practical yet effective means to prioritize career growth? Build or update your organizational chart to clearly outline job responsibilities across your company. By doing so, both managers and employees can track their performance by mapping out their career path during onboarding and performance reviews, using short- and long-term goals as data points.
Coaching is another tactic that companies can deploy to simultaneously increase engagement, productivity, and retention. Investing in coaching for your team enables employees to explore barriers affecting their professional and personal lives. Business coaching can help tackle issues around self-confidence, work relationships, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and work performance, and can easily be conducted in one-on-ones, team settings, and even through subscription-based coaching apps.
These areas are transferable to non-business settings as well, bringing real value to employees’ personal lives. Upcoach says the most common benefit received from business coaching is increased self-confidence with 80 percent reporting an improvement. Another 70 percent specified increased work performance as a positive outcome.
This data shows that, as this type of coaching is typically only available for leadership roles, applying this benefit to the entire workforce is an effective way to build brand loyalty and retention.
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