Why Do People Quit Their Jobs? Retention Strategies to Reduce Employee Turnover

Workforce retention challenges took on new meaning during the recent Great Resignation when thousands and thousands of workers voluntarily left their jobs on the cutting room floor. But whether or not there’s a war for talent going on, employee turnover will always be an issue that needs a sound solution. Let’s look into why people quit their jobs and how to reduce employee turnover. (Hint: diversity and inclusion plays a big role!)

The Top 6 Reasons Why People Quit Their Jobs

Pew Research polled a random sample of almost 7,000 American workers and noted that resignations hit a “20-year high last November.” Their findings produced clear reasons why employees left their jobs in recent months:

Their pay was too low. 

Especially in an economy struggling with inflation, every penny counts. Between August 2021 and August 2022, inflation rose 8.3%. Higher prices have hit the middle and lower classes hard, especially in areas like food and gas as well as housing and utilities. Even in industries where salaries have risen slightly, the pace has not been able to keep up with the rise in inflation.

There were no opportunities for advancement. 

Growth is the natural order of things. People value organizations that nurture their professional growth and make room for professional advancement. Likewise, if their current position will keep them stagnant, chances are they’ll look to leave.

They felt disrespected (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

No one wants to feel less-than. While hierarchies exist within organizations, people do not want to feel overlooked, undervalued, taken for granted, or bullied. In a worldwide Georgetown University study of 200,000 workers, respect from leadership earned a top spot on their list of what matters most to them.

This sentiment is also impacted by diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace. Almost 81% of employees said they would consider quitting their job if their employer was not committed to diversity and inclusion.

Child care issues. 

During the pandemic shutdowns, childcare became one of the many issues for working parents. The flexibility of working from home provided a solution and much-needed relief. With some companies returning to the office, parents may look to organizations that continue providing the flexibility they (and their budgets) need. Beyond cost, parents’ childcare concerns include its accessibility and its quality.

Their job offered too little flexibility. 

Increasingly in the last few years, employees have begun prioritizing personal success along with professional success. Work-life balance is a benefit with high value, particularly for millennials and younger generations of workers. Health and well-being matter, and a flexible work schedule often adds to their sense of well-being.

The company’s benefits were poor. 

Benefits can be just as important as salary. According to recent studies, a generous 401K and even sign-on bonuses aren’t enough for present-day employees. Besides workplace flexibility and remote working options, the benefits that matter most to employees are family leave and paid time off as well as supporting education and mental health, not just physical health.

8 Employee Retention Strategies

Retaining employees is much more cost-effective than hiring new talent. That’s why reducing employee turnover should be a fundamental objective for HR and company leadership. Once you find that quality talent, you should have a plan in place to keep them happy from the get-go. Here are some retention strategies to help your employees stick around:

Create a great onboarding experience. 

First and second impressions matter. If you impressed them enough to beat out your  competition, make sure you keep hitting all the right notes. Here are some tips for a great (and effective) onboarding experience:

  • Dedicate one specific person or team to manage the onboarding process. This can help organize and streamline the process, eliminate chances of miscommunication or oversight, and give the new employee a clear point of contact.
  • Make sure they have everything they need to get started – before they start. Especially if they’ll work remotely, having the technology, tools, and training to start off right on day one is key to a satisfying onboarding experience.
  • Help them connect with the company and your culture. Make them feel welcome and acclimated by putting together a welcome package and setting up meetings (casual and not-so-casual) so they can get an idea of how things work around the office – not just for their team, but other departments they might interact with throughout their tenure. Shadowing, even before day one, can be a great way for them to feel more comfortable and confident as they take on their new role. 

Implement mentorship programs.

Something that should be an integral part of onboarding and continued training is employee mentorship. Having a personal resource to educate, acclimate, and support talent leads to higher productivity and job satisfaction. It provides reliable and sustainable knowledge of workplace culture, roles, tools, programs, and processes, and it can support continued career growth throughout the employee’s tenure.

Offer expanded benefits – think outside the traditional box.

The top three benefits that people desire are plenty of paid time off, plenty of family leave, and flexible/remote work options. Outside of that, here are some other popular ideas for benefits that can reduce employee turnover:

  • On-site health services
  • Mental health services
  • Benefits and perks for total well-being
  • Student loan support
  • Continuing education programs
  • In-house professional development
  • Financial advice and counseling
  • Contributions to employees’ charity efforts
  • Office parties
  • Employee clubs and activities (e.g. book clubs, knitting clubs, exercise groups – the possibilities are endless)
  • On-brand perks (e.g. pet-friendly workspaces, free books, yoga/meditation classes, free food)

Offer opportunities for professional development and education.

We mentioned this briefly above, but this benefit is highly-valued amongst a majority of employees despite age and generational gaps. Some ideas for continued growth that modern companies are implementing include:

  • Cultural classes
  • Language classes
  • Women’s leadership initiatives
  • Career coaching
  • Scholarships and off-site education compensation/tuition reimbursement
  • On-site, off-site, or online training for career growth and excellence
  • Classes on health, nutrition, and well-being

Set up an employee recognition program

Feeling appreciated for the work you are doing and the contribution you are making is important not only for reducing employee turnover, but for increasing employee engagement. Implement a fair, valuable, inclusive program and reward individual and team efforts. Aspects of good recognition programs include:

  • Building it around your organization’s culture and values
  • Rewarding good work in a timely manner
  • Ensuring recognition can be attained by every employee
  • Allowing peers to nominate each other for awards, not just managers

Give management comprehensive leadership training

One of the top reasons employees resign is a lack of respect from their leaders. Therefore, you can reduce turnover by ensuring everyone with a management role receives competent training in areas like: 

Keep compensation competitive.

Stay on top of industry salary trends, so you don’t lose talent to the #1 reason people quit their jobs: their compensation was too low. These days, employees aren’t hard-pressed to find new opportunities. Don’t overlook this key factor for retention, and pay them what they’re worth.

Create a non-toxic, inclusive workplace environment. 

Nothing damages employee morale more than feeling bullied, unwelcome, or ostracized. A toxic work environment can quickly drive down employee engagement, poison company culture, and drive talent out the door. 

A Deloitte study found that creating an inclusive culture greatly benefited employee retention rates and recruitment. Other studies found that almost 75% of employees seek diverse companies and that 32% would not apply to an organization that lacks diversity. 

Representation of genders, cultures, and nationalities across all levels of the organization helps to create an equitable environment and one where people believe that they are valued and they can thrive and rise. In fact, almost 75% of millennials believe that inclusivity drives innovation, which explains why so many professionals seek out diverse organizations in their job search.

Creating an atmosphere that not only accepts but welcomes diversity is one aspect of inclusivity. Creating frameworks and processes where voices are heard and valued is another. Educate leadership on workplace diversity and inclusion, ask your workers what makes them feel comfortable and appreciated – then act on it. Other practical ideas include:

  • Clearly communicating goals and expectations
  • Making sure team members are prepared for meetings in advance
  • Making cyclical adjustments to meetings for employees’ different time zones
  • Give credit where credit is due

Don’t lose out on great talent. Make sure you regularly evaluate employee engagement to ensure that you’re creating an environment that encourages retention, raises job satisfaction, and reduces turnover. When you need new talent, however, DiversityWorking can support your hiring efforts by providing easy-to-use resources that give you access to thousands of diverse professionals that can fill your open roles. Check out our Employers’ programs today!