17 Surprising Statistics about Employee Retention
Does power lie in the hands of employees? In today’s job market it does, and leaders must address the causes of attrition to retain their workforce. Employee loyalty is hard to earn but ultimately the key to business success.
If you haven’t had time to think deeply about your company culture — or if you’re just starting to build out the business — finding out why a great employee leaves (or what you can do to keep one) can be a bit of a mystery.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few surprising employee retention statistics and how to avoid losing valuable team members.
1. The average employee exit costs 33% of their annual salary
Replacing employees costs a lot of money. A company must spend significant time and money to search for the best talent through advertising, recruitment agencies, screening, interviewing, and hiring.
A study by Employee Benefits News on employee retention found that the average cost of losing an employee is a staggering 33% of their annual salary.
In other words, when an employee leaves, you haven’t just lost talent or time. You’ve lost valuable funding for your company.
When recruitment fees, training, and lost productivity are considered, a high turnover rate can have crippling financial implications on a business. That being the case, why not retain your employees, funds, and time by ensuring their happiness?
For the best results, implement a strategy to improve employee retention. People are every company’s greatest revenue generator in terms of innovation, sales, customer relations, and many other important factors. The cost of attrition is directly related to the company’s ability to redistribute the work and hire replacements for lost employees, usually at greater costs.
All companies spend money to attract the right people. What many companies don’t do is invest in employee retention strategies.
2. A lack of appropriate management skills makes employees 4x more likely to quit
According to an older TINYpulse Employee Retention Report, 40% of employees that don’t rate their supervisor’s performance highly have interviewed for a new job in the last three months — compared to just 10% for those that do rate their supervisor highly.
Managers that aren’t kept to a high standard can negatively affect their subordinates and result in high turnover — even for your best employees.
According to Udemy, nearly half of employees said they’ve quit a job because of a bad manager. What’s more, 56% think managers are promoted prematurely and 60% think managers need managerial training.
Too often, managers find themselves elevated into their positions due to the need for employers to fill a vacant spot when the person they have in mind is not ready. In some cases, these managers lack management skills and haven’t been trained thoroughly enough to manage their team effectively. This can cause unrest within a team, forcing employees to look for better-managed companies to join.
One way to start building trust with your employees while growing your management skills at the same time is through 1:1 meetings. These allow you to discuss issues directly with every single employee and manage problems one by one without being overwhelmed by the challenges coming your way.
Plus, getting to know what every employee is dealing with and helping them fix these core issues will help you lower your employee turnover rates.
3. Employees that don't feel recognized when they do great work are almost 2x as likely to be job hunting
According to TINYpulse data, 21.5% of employees that don’t feel recognized when they do great work have interviewed for a job in the last three months — compared to just 12.4% that do feel recognized.
Employees seek validation for their work and are more likely to show loyalty when validated. Per Qualtrics, employees whose managers consistently acknowledge them for good work are five times more likely to stay at the company.
Not concerned about your employee retention yet?
TINYpulse discovered that 24% of employees who felt they had not received recognition from their direct supervisor in the past two weeks had recently interviewed for another position, compared to just 13% who had received recognition.
If you want great results, make employees feel appreciated. Employees in a new position often try hard to prove their worth to management. However, if their efforts are met with negative criticisms or they go unrecognized altogether, these employees tend to become unhappy and not motivated.
Furthermore, studies show that 79% of people who quit their jobs cite “lack of appreciation” as their reason for leaving. When employees spend considerable time and talent on the business and management doesn’t validate their work or reward their contributions, it’s no wonder they seek employment elsewhere.
4. Employees won’t stay if there isn't a culture of encouraging upward feedback
Employees that don’t feel comfortable giving upward feedback are 16% less likely to stay at their companies, according to TINYpulse. Feedback shouldn’t just flow one way. Open communication is key to understanding the needs and points of improvement of both managers and employees.
Qualtrics reports that 60% of U.S. employees reported having a way to provide feedback about their own employee experience. But only 30% said their feedback is acted upon by their employer.
It’s great when employees have upward evaluation systems in place. But when they believe their leadership can’t or won’t do anything to improve a problem, they may consider their employers to be ineffective.
Encourage employees to regularly communicate their thoughts. An open line of communication will demonstrate to employees that their opinions are important. Regular and honest communication shows employees that they’re valued, and it also allows you, as a leader, to recognize when adjustments might need to be made to improve employee retention.
Employee surveys, for instance, let you see exactly what your team thinks about manager effectiveness. Keeping these anonymous will guarantee honest answers you can improve around.
5. Clear onboarding processes make employees happy
According to TINYpulse data, employees are 23% more likely to stay if their manager clearly explains their roles and responsibilities. Don’t leave your employees wondering what they need to do on a day-to-day basis and questioning whether they’re meeting your expectations. One study by Jac Fitz-enz contained in his book titled “The ROI of Human Capital” established a distinct link between staff onboarding and employee retention.
Further, a joint study from Kronos and the Human Capital Institute states that 76% of human resource leaders said their onboarding processes are underutilized, and another 24% didn’t even have an onboarding strategy, to begin with.
Disorganization from the beginning of an employee’s experience can only impact their work negatively — think: poor communication, how they perceive company culture, and time lost, to name a few.
Ask the right questions during onboarding to ensure everything is clear and keep employee engagement levels high throughout the entire work experience.
New employees face different challenges than tenured employees, and early in the onboarding process is the best time to course-correct.
6. Employee retention is a concern for all HR leaders, but the results are slow
According to a study, 87% of human resources leaders have placed their employee retention attempts as a #1 priority for the next few years. The same Kronos study noted as a bottom line that 20% of them find it difficult to maintain focus on this priority as there are other factors that take away their attention and budgets.
Progress to ensure these employee retention activities is slow with a lack of automation and funding to keep them running. Managing employee retention still seems to be at the very beginning of a fundamental change in the industry as companies are still directing their core efforts toward bringing in new talent rather than retaining existing top performers.
7. Career advancement retains talent
TINYpulse findings reveal that employees who feel they’re progressing in their careers are 20% more likely to still be working at their companies in one year’s time.
On the other hand, a lack of advancement or skill-building can be morally deflating. Not to mention, more than 70% of high-retention-risk employees say they'll be forced to leave their organization to advance their careers.
Clear communication on developing a career path and advancement is not always guaranteed. Having the professional growth opportunities laid out to employees by recruiters early on is the key to guiding them in their careers.
Professional growth for good employees is one of the key factors candidates take into account when applying to a new company. Promising but not delivering on this will only increase your turnover rates and decrease your employer branding efforts.
8. Millennials are 22x more likely to work for a company with a high trust culture
Organizations that provide ill-fitting cultures for their workers can expect to see higher turnover. Millennial employees are less likely to leave their organizations if they maintain trust and transparency. The day-to-day experience of your employees is a huge factor in determining career choices.
Nobody wants to stay in a work environment where they’re not feeling safe or are pressured into doing things they don’t want. By building and maintaining a collaborative corporate culture, you can treat employees like professionals and prove that you trust them to do the jobs you hired them to do.
9. A sense of purpose has a sizable impact on employee retention
Employees who believe their company has a higher purpose than just profits are 27% more likely to stay at their companies.
Working with a team toward a specific mission and vision is an experience that employees find important. All companies with high employee morale, job satisfaction, and a strong benefits package show their values through a core mission statement.
Gallup research found employees who are "engaged and thriving" are 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months. Having a sense of purpose — the why behind the what — can help your employees feel like they’re doing something meaningful beyond just a job.
10. Lack of respect loses employees
According to TINYpulse research, employees who say there’s a low level of respect between colleagues are 26% more likely to quit their jobs. And 61% of employees say trust between themselves and senior management is very important to job satisfaction.
Despite this, only 33% are very satisfied with the level of trust in their organizations, according to SHRM. A toxic culture pushes away top talent, despite other perks and benefits an employer might offer.
11. Work-life balance is more valuable than you think
Employees who rate their work-life balance highly are 10% more likely to stay at their company. In addition, a study in the Employee Engagement Series conducted by Kronos found 95% of HR leaders admit employee burnout is sabotaging workforce retention.
Beyond these numbers, though, lies every single worker’s attempt to lead a healthy life without the stress of going to the office daily or not hitting their deadlines and targets. Burnout is affecting more and more people at a global level and isn’t specific to one single gender, nationality, or race. It impacts people mentally, emotionally, and physically, leading to potentially serious health issues that scare potential hires for a good reason.
Access to remote work and healthy work hours are just some of the factors employees look for when deciding whether to stay at a company or move on. Encourage employees to set goals for their work lives, their personal lives, and their pursuit of a healthy work-life balance.
12. Professional growth is a leading priority
LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report revealed that 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.
Among all statistics about employee retention, this one seems to be more frequently mentioned. While no one wants to see their star player leave, developing your team to be the best they can create a positive culture.
In fact, 70% of US employees say that they're likely to leave their current job and opt for another opportunity at a company that invests in the professional development of their employees.
By investing in professional development, you can prove to your team that you care about them and are investing in their career growth.
13. Empowered employees are happy employees
TINYpulse found that employees who feel in control of their careers are 20% more likely to stay in their roles. When employees have an idea of where their career trajectory is headed — and leadership supports their endeavors and provides guidance to make that a reality — loyalty will follow.
A Conference Board survey on job satisfaction shows that 51% of U.S. employees feel satisfied with their job. However, this means 49% aren’t satisfied, and it’s up to leaders in the workforce to find out why.
Talk to employees and put transformational processes in place if you wish to retain top talent.
14. Companies that support remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than companies that don't
Remote work is now a reality most of us have experienced in one form or another. According to recent studies, many would still like to keep working remotely in the future.
The benefits of remote work that are determining more people to adopt this lifestyle in the future. And you only get to know this type of freedom over your schedule when you try working from home yourself.
From a management point of view, it turns out that companies who let their team work from home have a 25% lower employee turnover rate since they show their care for the well-being and work-life balance of their employees. Beyond that, the same study found that it takes 33% less time for distributed companies to hire a new employee.
Embrace remote work, and not only is it more likely that your employees will stick around, but it also becomes easier to hire new workers when positions open up.
15. Employees prefer companies with a positive ethic despite a better salary offer from another organization that displays unethical conduct
Nobody wants to work for a company that shows unethical conduct towards the world, its clients, and, above all, their very own employees.
People want respect and care from future employers more than anything else. In fact, 79% of people won’t accept a new offer from a company that didn’t act against sexual harassment even when the salary is higher.
The same findings from The Manifest show that potential hires are opposed to selling client data illegally, polluting the environment, and discriminating against race, nationality, and gender — especially when it comes to payment.
16. High employee engagement rates lead to people being 87% less likely to leave their company
One core idea we always support as it lies at the base of any happy and successful workplace is maintaining high engagement rates for your employees. Not only do these keep your team productive and eager to be at work instead of just waiting for the workday to end, but they also raise your retention rates.
According to the Corporate Leadership Council, employees who are committed and engaged at work perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave their current company.
Let these numbers sink in and you’ll realize just how huge these numbers are compared to companies that can’t keep employees for longer than a year.
17. Workplace diversity and inclusion impacts employee retention
Did you know that 67% of job seekers seriously consider inclusion and diversity when choosing their next workplace? And with as many as 3 in 5 workers experiencing workplace discrimination, it’s no wonder people prefer a work environment where diversity is supported.
Offer the same opportunities to all of your employees — from equal pay to have a say in the decision-making process. And remember that inclusion starts with the hiring process. Ensure you remove any bias during recruitment to build a diverse team where everyone will feel like their voice is heard and respected.
Create a better employee experience to keep high performers
Whether you’re a C-level executive, HR department professional, or middle manager, be committed to creating a better employee experience.
By doing everything you can to create a happy workplace, you can convince your team to stick around for the long haul. In return, your business becomes more profitable, more effective, and more desirable to work at. What’s not to like?
How TINYpulse can help
TINYpulse provides you with an easy way to stay in constant connection with your employees by soliciting feedback regularly and in a digestible manner. You can then identify key culture drivers in your organization and make informed decisions to improve employee experience. Book a demo to see how easy it is to collect and act on feedback in TINYpulse — boosting your retention stats along the way.
"This is one of the more tangible ways of how we've saved a considerable amount of money because we've been able to keep our people."
-- Nick Smarrelli, CEO at Gadellnet Consulting Services
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