At Teamdeck, we regularly talk with people working at different software development companies. When demoing our resource management app and onboarding new clients, we learn about their typical processes and issues. We've noticed that many software houses...
Low employee turnover is the goal of many companies, and rightly so. When your retention rates aren’t satisfying, you have to worry about hiring and onboarding new people, plus personnel changes may quickly derail your company’s projects. Organizations that work on client projects—agencies, software consultancies, etc.—need to stay particularly mindful of these factors.
While most of your employees might not be actively looking for a new job, they’re still interested in exciting offers. Emplify’s “Employee Engagement Trends 2020” report revealed that 73% of employees are “currently open to a new career opportunity.” Interestingly, the turnover risk isn’t much lower for people who have been with your organization for a while. 63% of employees with 10+ years of tenure at a given company are also open to new opportunities, according to the same study.
Does that mean that your efforts to reduce employee turnover are hopeless? Absolutely not. You can definitely improve employee engagement and loyalty using the right strategies. Lower turnover rates should soon follow along with tangible benefits for your organization.
What are the benefits of improving employee retention?
When you reduce employee turnover, it will have a positive effect on your company’s bottom line. Recruiting and onboarding new employees can be very costly, so it’s in your organization’s best interest to make good employees stay.
Frequent changes to your talent pool may also cause project scheduling issues. In many industries, some roles are notoriously difficult to fill. As a result, your employees might need to take on new responsibilities in the meantime. Say that your team is working on building a mobile app, but a lead developer quits your company mid-project. Even if the project is well-documented, the rest of the team will likely not be able to make up 100% of the time lost for finding and training a replacement.
Things get even more challenging when your company is working on several projects at a time. It is usually the case with agencies or software houses. Successful resource allocation can be difficult in itself. When you’re struggling with high employee turnover, assigning the right teammates to the right projects and keeping these projects on track is extremely challenging.
Agencies also have to consider their team’s reputation in the eyes of the clients. Your clients will likely get to know at least some of the team members that bring their project to life. It’s an opportunity to build trust and impress your clients with your team members’ expertise. When the client needs to get to know new employees regularly as the previous team members quit, they might be wondering whether your company is truly a trustworthy partner.
How to reduce employee turnover?
By now, you know that reducing employee turnover will be favorable for your organization. It’s important to note here that we will discuss strategies that will help you combat voluntary turnover: people leaving your company on their own volition. We’re not talking about the employees you let go, as it depends predominantly on you hiring the right people. Granted, it’s an interesting topic, but it deserves a separate blog post on hiring the right people for your company.
Today, let’s focus on the strategies you can embrace to make employees want to stay at your company instead of quitting. Hopefully, these ideas will help you analyze the work environment you’ve created for your employees and find improvement opportunities.
Understand why people quit
First things first. Before you jump to conclusions like “people leave our organization because they’re overworked,” it’s always best to ask your employees directly. Sure, your assumptions might turn out to be spot-on, but you’re also likely to uncover issues you didn’t even realize were bothering your employees. Conducting a thorough exit interview with the employee that’s quitting your firm is a must. You will get valuable insights about your organization, and hopefully, you will manage to part ways on good terms.
Evaluate your employees’ needs regularly
Of course, an exit interview is not the only opportunity for you to find out what’s bothering your employees. Get used to checking your team’s pulse regularly. Knowing your team’s current needs, you will get a chance to act on these findings and hopefully prevent people from quitting. How can you efficiently monitor your employees’ feelings? After all, manually preparing, distributing, and analyzing employee surveys could be very time-consuming. Fortunately, tools like Officevibe or Peakon enable you to send out short surveys and track aggregated results.
Promote the work-life balance by monitoring people’s workload
You can probably imagine that work-life balance is integral to your employees’ happiness. To stay productive and engaged, they need to have time to spend with their loved ones or pursue hobbies. Unfortunately, it is not necessarily easy to spot people who are struggling with excessive workload. Sometimes, you only find out about their frustration when they hand in their resignation papers.
At Teamdeck, we believe that monitoring resource utilization is a great way to prevent such situations from happening. It allows you to see who has too many assignments for their capacity and who could use some extra tasks. With a robust resource management app, you can easily track everyone’s workload and make adjustments to the projects’ schedule to ensure your employees can stay happy and productive.
Consider giving your employees more flexibility
Flexible work is a trend that many workplaces are embracing. Remote work has become a new normal for organizations in the COVID-19 times, but giving your employees even more flexibility might be an excellent strategy to combat high turnover rates.
How can you introduce flexible work? First of all, you should ask your employees about their needs and preferences. Is the ability to work from home a priority for them? Do they feel the need to have some wiggle room when it comes to the working hours? Perhaps a 4-day workweek would be a game-changing system for your organization?
You can also inject some flexibility when it comes to employee benefits. There are ways to let your team members decide about the details of their perks. Some of them would prefer a gym membership, while others would appreciate an Audible subscription. Different employees will have different needs, so why don’t you pick an employee benefits partner that enables flexibility in choosing perks.
Foster team spirit
Team retreats alone probably won’t significantly reduce employee turnover. However, if you commit to fostering team spirit daily, you’re likely to make your employees feel more engaged and happy at the workplace. You don’t have to allocate a huge budget for an international trip and luxurious accommodation. A humble board game night could be a way for your employees to get to know each other better and find common ground. Consistency will be essential: if your company culture doesn’t support camaraderie, a one-and-done event won’t affect employee retention.
Are you worried that switching to remote work will hinder your team-building efforts? You can find some ideas for remote team-building activities here.
You shouldn’t be surprised that your employees want to know what’s going on in their work environment. Without knowing the general strategy, company objectives, and mission, it’s more difficult to feel engaged or develop good ideas regarding their tasks.
Note that transparent company culture is important not just at the company level but also at the project level. Project transparency will improve your team’s productivity and strengthen their sense of belonging and purpose which are integral to keeping the turnover rate low.
Set development goals and facilitate learning
The stats speak for themselves. 1/3 of people surveyed by Instracture said they had left a job because they wanted more development opportunities. Being able to grow their professional skills is extremely important for your employees, and you should take that into account when trying to reduce employee turnover. Do your teammates have clear development goals, OKRs, or KPIs? Is the career path at your company clear to the workers? Do you offer a training budget? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you face the risk of people jumping ships to a company that facilitates growth and development.
Evaluate employee compensation and benefits
High employee turnover might be a result of people getting offers with higher rates and more exciting benefits. Of course, you’re not always in a position to be the highest-paying employer on the market. Still, you should regularly evaluate your employees’ compensation to make sure that your team members aren’t underpaid for the job they do. The same goes for employee benefits. Regularly conduct a needs assessment and check what your competitors offer. If you manage to keep your employees satisfied financially and perks-wise, you’re very likely to reduce employee turnover at your organization.
Reduce employee turnover and improve engagement among your team members
Naturally, low retention rates are worrying for employers. While the reasons for people quitting your company may vary, and you should definitely analyze them, we’ve outlined some pretty universal strategies you can adopt to reduce employee turnover and inspire your hires with welcoming company culture. Do you have other sure-fire ways of lowering the turnover rate? Drop us a line in the chat!