High turnover rates affect employees and employers
FARGO — According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee stays in a job position for 4.4 years. Employees born between 1977-1997 will have 15 to 20 jobs in their lifetime.
This job-hopping creates problems for both employees and employers. Continuous turnover makes it difficult for employers to sufficiently train, while employees find it difficult to advance in their chosen career.
A high turnover rate isn't the fundamental problem. Employees leave for various reasons, but there is a subtle trend that employers need to be aware of if they plan on keeping their employees.
Fortunately, people don't up and quit their job because they hate their boss.
"That's actually pretty rare," Carly Guthrie, a San Francisco Bay human resources consultant, said in an interview with First Round Review. "Generally, almost everyone gets a sense of mismatched chemistry during the hiring process. If someone leaves because of their boss, that's a failure in the company's hiring process — an employee didn't get enough exposure to their boss during the (hiring) process."
So, why do employees leave?
Employees typically leave because employers don't respect their time.
Guthrie explained that "a really good CEO thinks about the bigger picture and realizes people have lives out of work. That's the number one way to prevent people from feeling like they might want to be somewhere else."
Guthrie emphasized that the hours of 5 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Monday belongs to the employee and the employee alone.
A loss of confidence in the company is another reason people leave. If the career path becomes muddled and unclear, employees lose the ability to create goals and this causes a loss in confidence in the overall game. People want to feel secure, and they want to believe in that what they are doing has meaning.
If "you don't believe in the company or concept anymore, you lose confidence in the marketability or leadership," Guthrie said.
In 2013, Forbes cited an Accenture study that discovered 43 percent of people left their job because of a lack of recognition. Employees shouldn't require hand-holding, but an occasional "good job," is encouraged. Just as people want to feel secure, they also want to know that the work they do is valued by the employer.
Additional studies have shown that acknowledgment creates more motivation than raises.
The same Accenture study also revealed that 35 percent of people leave because of internal politics between employees or from higher up. The average employee spends 25 percent of their week working with other employees. If internal politics are affecting the team, it's likely someone is going to bow out. People leave when they are unhappy, and the quickest way someone becomes unhappy is when conflict arises.
Guthrie believes a new retention strategy, one that encourages trust through a flexible schedule and an opportunity to work from home, is a good way to retain more employees. But for it to work, mutual trust and respect needs to exist.
"It's human nature to think, 'I don't see this person in the office, so I subconsciously assume they don't work as hard.' Managers need to communicate clearly to employees (and themselves) that they are results-oriented, while employees need to trust that it's important and justified when managers ask for them to be in the office," Guthrie said.
She asserted that respecting time and abilities is perhaps one of the most important ways of making this strategy work.