The “Great Resignation” has continued into 2022, with almost half of employees looking for a new job or planning to look for a new job soon. It might seem like devoted employees are a thing of the past, and business leaders struggle to find ways to hold on to valued workers and reduce turnover. While resignation rates are high on average, they are not uniform across industries and companies. Some companies within the same sector are seeing very different attrition rates than their competitors. For example, data from Revelio Labs showed that one company experienced 5.1% attrition in the financial services sector, while another experienced 15.2%! Clearly, one of those companies has a healthier culture than the other.
CultureX, a company that measures organizational culture using AI, analyzed 1.3 million Glassdoor reviews to pinpoint the most frequent topics discussed by former employees that point to toxic workplace culture. They identified the “Toxic Five” traits of workplace culture associated with the most employee turnover: disrespect, non-inclusive, unethical leadership, cutthroat employees that undermine each other, and abusive bosses. Other indicators of negative workplace culture were job insecurity, failure to recognize performance, and organizations that had a poor response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Creating a Culture of Devoted Employees
Having a great workplace culture is an important part of reducing employee turnover. So how can leaders take action to create a positive work environment full of devoted employees?
- Start with great onboarding. The onboarding process for new employees is their first introduction to the organization’s culture. First impressions matter, so make sure you have a thorough strategy that helps new employees acclimate to a new workplace, ensures they have the tools and knowledge to do a great job, and encourages team bonding.
- Provide opportunities for lateral job moves. According to MIT Sloan, lateral career opportunities are 12 times more predictive of employee retention than promotions. Many workers looking for new jobs are just looking for a change of pace or the chance to try something new. A lateral move can also benefit the organization because current employees take less time to onboard into the new job and can bring insights about improving inter-departmental communication and productivity.
- Have more fun. Company-sponsored social events are a great way to strengthen employees’ connections to their teams. This is even more important as workers return to the office after working remotely through the pandemic. Employees may feel disconnected from their co-workers, so providing opportunities for social connection through something as simple as an office potluck or happy hour can make a big difference.
- Create a predictable work schedule for front-line workers. When blue-collar or hourly workers can describe their schedule as predictable, they are much less likely to quit. In a Center for Worklife Laws study of 28 Gap stores, employees of some locations were given their schedules two weeks in advance, and managers weren’t allowed to cancel those shifts. In contrast, other stores continued their usual scheduling practices. The stores with predictable schedules increased employee retention, and employees reported experiencing better sleep, and those with children at home reported a 15% reduction in stress.
Workplace culture is one of the few competitive advantages that is solely in the hands of a leader. If organizations want devoted employees, it is definitely a two-way street. Leaders must treat their workers as they would like to be treated. Creating a positive environment where everyone feels valued and respected is the key to reducing turnover and retaining great employees.