According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, the U.S. currently has a high number of job openings. Record numbers of employees are contemplating jumping ship to embark on those opportunities. Consider these facts:
Just over half of employees (51%) say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings.
In August 2012, the number of Americans voluntarily leaving their jobs was 2.1 million according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. By August 2016, that number jumped nearly 50% to 3 million workers. An increase in the total count of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs typically signals greater confidence among workers who believe they have more and better options.
Only 33% of employees are engaged in their jobs according to Gallup. Employee engagement is defined as the level at which employees are emotionally invested in, and focused on, creating value for their organizations every day. This means that two-thirds of employees are therefore not engaged—an incentive to explore other employment options.
Research conducted by the Center for America Progress revealed that losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of their salary for hourly, unsalaried employees, to a whopping 213% of the salary for a highly trained position. The impacts of low retention are indeed systemic and costly. To minimize them while increasing employee engagement, managers can take the following steps.
Raise the level of praise. Dale Carnegie’s 27th leadership principle is, ‘Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.’ Praising employees demonstrates appreciation and respect, and helps foster feelings of ambition and competence. According to another Gallup study, employees who have supervisors that care about them, e.g. discuss their career progress and encourage development have, “lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, and better customer loyalty than work groups in which employees report that these developmental elements are scarce.”
Hone in on humility. ’Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person,’ is Dale Carnegie’s 24thleadership principle. Managers who share specific stories about a mistake that they made and how they corrected it demonstrate humility. This characteristic makes them more approachable, likeable and trustworthy. Reinforcing trust and respect before offering negative feedback will soften the blow while still instilling the correction(s) that must be made. Providing constructive criticism is never easy no matter how long a leader has managed employees—unless the leader has acquired strong leadership skills.
Go for growth. According to yet another Gallup study, employees who have worked at a company for less than three years, compared to those employed with a company for ten or more years, strongly agreed that they were given opportunities to learn and grow. Clearly, employees yearn to learn and those presented with opportunities to grow their skill set are more likely to be not only engaged, but committed to an organization. Mentorship and tuition reimbursement programs, and succession planning coupled with employee career goals, are great ways to encourage employee growth within the organization.