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  • Published Feb 15, 2024

How to Keep Your Talent when 50% of People are Looking for New Roles

Explore effective strategies to keep your talent engaged and retain your workforce in a market where 50% are seeking new roles.

Amanda Reill
Amanda Reill

Author, Speaker & Coach

Employees receiving recognition at a company event, highlighting the importance of appreciation in fostering a positive workplace culture.

In 2022, over 22% of workers spent a year or less at their jobs. That kind of turnover is what Human Resources nightmares are made of.

Even if you’re not having nightmares, employee job-seeking behavior has the potential to keep you up at night. Gallup’s recent finding that 48% of employees are “watching or actively seeking a new job” is no comfort.

You may be asking yourself: Who is next? How am I going to build my recruitment pipeline? What will this turnover cost in training, lost productivity, and everything else that comes with the endless jigsaw puzzle of replacing workers?

With turnover costs averaging 33% of an employee’s salary just to find their replacement, there’s no question that it’s a financial priority to keep the employees you have. Not to mention the fact that anyone who has ever worked in HR knows the recruiting process can be painstaking – not something you want to start over every twelve months for every position. The goal is always to keep top talent which means creating a strategy around employee retention that is intention and grounded in the research on what employees are looking for most.

A diverse group of individuals gathered around a table, engrossed in their work on a laptop.

The world is a different place than it was a few decades ago. In 1983, male workers aged 55-64 had a median tenure of 15.3 years. With a 2023 average tenure of 4.1 years (and only 2.8 years for employees aged 25-34), it’s clear the tides have turned.

We might not be able to turn back time. The rapid speed of technological advancement is unlikely to slow down and the future of work looks different than the past. But is there anything we can do to increase employee retention?

How to improve company culture and employee retention

We may not be able to change today’s fast-paced world with its overwhelming flood of options for job-seekers, but there are certainly things we can do to hedge our bets and increase our chances for success. These numbers are not an irreversible future for our companies.

Right alongside the statistics about employee turnover are some statistics that can help us understand which companies do succeed in increasing employee tenure. There are always companies on both sides of the average, and there are things that can be done to tip the scales.

It all hinges on the types of relationships we build with our employees.

Jessica Kriegel, a chief scientist at a workplace culture consultancy called Culture Partners, says a major contributing factor to employee attrition is the erosion of the employer-employee social contract. Workplace relationships aren’t just business transactions anymore. People don’t just want paychecks; they want purpose.

Pull-out quote: “A community is a group of people who agree to grow together.” Simon Sinek, bestselling author and speaker on leadership and company culture

But building relationships and positive company culture is not something we can do haphazardly, throwing things like social events and added benefits at the wall and hoping they’ll stick. In fact, company culture and increasing employee satisfaction don’t have anything to do with events at all. It’s firmly rooted in the kind of communication we have with our staff.

People want to feel known. They want to feel recognized for what they contribute. They want to know there’s a place for them in the organization and a roadmap to their success. And they want to see that their employer is demonstrating loyalty to them by investing both time and resources in prioritizing those things.

Gartner research has shown that 82% of workers say it’s critical that their employer sees them as people, but only 45% believe they’re actually seen that way. Those words hurt! Everyone wants their company to be a happy place to work.

The Human Deal Framework Gartner created as a result of these new statistics helps give us a guide to understanding the heartbeat of our employees. The image below shows five statements that reflect what employees are looking for in 2024.

Strategies for increasing employee engagement

Managing a growing organization is tricky. Historically managers were judged primarily by their technical skills, but unfortunately that left many lacking at actually being able to manage teams to high levels of success. In fact, Garter’s Top 5 HR Trends and Priorities for 2024 reports that if it were up to them, one in five managers would choose not to be a people manager.

That’s a major HR challenge. If it’s not feasible to remove these 20% from their management positions, particularly on specialized teams, then what can we do?

Equip Our Manager for Success

HR professionals using innovative tools in a strategy session to improve employee retention, showcasing a commitment to modern HR practices.

We may not be able to turn a brilliant accountant into a sensitive empath, but we can give them tools to improve their success. Training and courses to increase EQ and soft skills can do a lot to increase manager awareness of human behavior. But one of the reasons we created the Happy platform was because we recognized that even with a stronger EQ, it is still difficult for managers to understand each of their employees’ individual needs, particularly if the manager is not naturally relational.

  • Happy Workstyles act as personalized guides, offering insights on optimal ways to communicate and collaborate, tailored to each individual's unique style. Regardless of your work environment—be it remote, office-based, or hybrid—Happy Workstyles ensure your team works harmoniously.
  • Happy Profiles allows every user to build a personal profile that represents themselves in their own words and style. Like a how-to guide for every employee, manager, and leader in your organization–or Cliff’s Notes for your team. With Happy Prpfies, get to know your coworkers with social media-like features, creating understanding & connection.
  • Happy Coach offers real-time, personalized coaching advice through the innovative use of AI, supported by human expertise. This feature ensures continuous growth and improvement in interpersonal dynamics.

Adapt to Diverse Workstyles

Every human being has a unique set of skills and preferences that help them to be successful. When we take the time to acknowledge those skills and preferences and accommodate their work accordingly, production increases. But something else happens that is perhaps even more important than productivity. Our employees notice. They feel known, engaged, and connected to their company. Companies with engaged employees don’t only see less turnover, they’re actually 21% more profitable. The modern workplace is becoming increasingly diverse in terms of backgrounds, lifestyles, and even neurodiversity. We are finding that trying to fit every employee into the same box isn’t the best way to increase employee satisfaction.

A remote employee engaged in a video conference from a home office, exemplifying successful adaptation to remote work environments.

For example, many companies are adopting hybrid approaches after realizing that some people are more productive remotely while others prefer in-office collaboration. Some people need accommodations for them to produce their best creative work or find their deepest focus.Even with the best intentions, keeping track of these preferences and workstyles can be really difficult to manage. Things get busy; we’re juggling a hundred different priorities, and mistakes are made. Happy understands how important it is to access information about the unique needs of our team members in the moment and on demand.

Whether you’re onboarding new employees, evaluating a drop in performance, or helping a team navigate a conflict, revisiting each individual’s Happy Profile provides invaluable intelligence that helps you get to the root of the problem. Understanding their Happy Workstyles can also help us optimize roles to maximize synergy with their strengths, and Happy Coach can help us deliver messages in the way they will be best received.

Build and Enhance Culture

That same Gallup's 2023 State of the Workplace report, which highlighted that 48% of employees considering leaving their jobs, cites lack of engagement and a disconnect with company culture as primary reasons. It's clear that addressing these aspects is crucial for retention. This is where Happy can play a transformative role.

Happy's platform offers a unique approach to improving workplace culture by facilitating personalized interactions and creating a sense of belonging among employees. Unlike traditional methods that might not address the root causes of disengagement, Happy utilizes insights to help companies tailor the work environment to the needs and natural synergies of their teams.

A diverse team actively engaged in a brainstorming session, symbolizing collaborative innovation and inclusive problem-solving.

By leveraging Happy, managers can gain a deep understanding of what drives engagement for their teams. This might include identifying preferred communication styles or better understanding the types of projects that energize and engage different team members.

Implementing Happy's solutions can lead to a significant shift in company culture, moving towards an environment where engagement is not just a goal but a natural outcome of personalized and thoughtful management practices. This shift can dramatically reduce the desire to seek new opportunities elsewhere, as employees find their needs met and their contributions valued within their current roles.This ensures that employees feel heard and valued, directly addressing the concerns highlighted in Gallup's report.

Happy offers a practical and innovative solution to the challenges of employee engagement and culture fit, directly tackling the reasons many employees consider leaving their jobs. By focusing on personalized engagement and fostering a culture of belonging and mutual respect, companies can create a more satisfying and productive work environment that retains talent and drives success.

Behavioral Science Enhanced By AI: The Key to Increasing Employee Satisfaction

The user interface of the Happy platform, showcasing innovative tools for improving workplace culture and employee engagement.

There have been major strides in behavioral science that are helping us understand how to make sense of our new normal. And there are things we can do to improve employee retention and employee tenure. We don’t have to take shots in the dark, hoping our employees will be happy with our efforts. Leveraging tools like AI and platforms like Happy, we can find ways to scale our understanding of human behavior down to each individual on our payroll, all while keeping our approach personal.

Technology helps us scale our efforts, find what works, and make those actions repeatable. When you take formal steps to understand and invest in your employees’ well-being, you communicate how important they are to you. They hear the message loud and clear that you want to know them and make their work environment a place where they can visualize a future.

 “Innovation in HR means creating environments where employees thrive. Happy is at the forefront of this shift, focusing on what really matters—people” - James Lawrence, Happy Cofounder and CEO

In the face of evolving workplace dynamics and the daunting challenges of high turnover rates, the focus must shift towards nurturing a work environment where every employee feels genuinely valued and understood. The journey towards fostering a culture of engagement and belonging requires more than just good intentions—it demands a strategic and personalized approach to management and interpersonal relationships.

By leveraging innovative platforms like Happy, we have the tools at our disposal to transform our workplace culture into one that not only acknowledges but celebrates the unique contributions and preferences of each team member. Happy Cofounder and CEO, James Lawrence, highlights this point saying, “Innovation in HR means creating environments where employees thrive. Happy is at the forefront of this shift, focusing on what really matters—people.”

Happy not only enhances employee satisfaction and retention but also propels organizations towards greater productivity and profitability. As we embark on this path, let us remember that the heart of our success lies in the strength of the connections we build with our people, proving that investing in our employees is not just good for business—it's essential for creating a thriving, future-proof workplace.

Want to learn more? Book a free demo today.

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