Job-hopping is on the rise. In a 2019 Retention Report by the Work Institute, 27% of study participants revealed that they’d left jobs voluntarily that year – a whopping 88% increase since 2010. 32% of those respondents put in notice because of dissatisfaction with company culture specifically.
This rise in short-term employment is tied to a number of cultural and economic shifts, and sometimes can’t be avoided. The complicating influence of COVID also remains to be seen. But two things are certain: 1) An employee who’s dissatisfied with their workplace in 2021 is far less likely than their predecessors to grin and bear it, and 2) voluntary turnover can be costly for businesses. These realities put the onus on business owners to gauge employee satisfaction on an ongoing basis in efforts to improve company culture and morale. The good news: Taking your workplace’s temperature isn’t as hard as it sounds. Here are a few turnkey ways to get an honest read on your employees’ opinions in the ongoing quest for talent retention:
Send out anonymous surveys. Once a month or so, on a steady and reoccurring basis, use Survey Monkey or another tool to send out 2-3 questions that let your people anonymously offer feedback (anonymous is key). Your in-house human resources director or outsourced HR service can help you choose the questions, which over time should cover company culture, employee experience, work-life balance, and expectations versus reality.
Multiple-choice format allows for quicker responses, generally leading to higher response rates. If you take the multiple-choice route, just be sure to include a form field after each question (or at the very end of the survey) inviting respondents to elaborate if desired.
Beyond offering invaluable insight into how employees are feeling, making surveys a habit (as opposed to a one-off) shows your people that you’re truly interested in their opinions. One caveat, though: Don’t distribute surveys unless you’re ready to act on a least some of the reoccurring feedback. If you send out surveys and fail to respond, it gives your team the sense that surveys are for show. We see and hear this quite often; it runs counter to talent retention goals.
Take a deep breath and read your Glassdoor reviews. If employees or former employees have made their experience public via Glassdoor or another employer review forum, read what they have to say – but only after committing to an open mind. Remember: Glassdoor reviews typically skew negative. What you find might be tough to swallow, but reoccurring gripes or even intense vitriol have the potential to help you hone in on areas ripe for improvement.
Take exit interviews seriously. At small and medium-sized businesses, exit interviews can get lost in the shuffle – a huge misstep given their potential to clue you into what your people are saying and thinking. Approaching these interviews thoughtfully – and, again, with an open mind – can yield great insights into perceptions among everyone on payroll. Just make sure to consult with an HR professional before conducting exit interviews to make sure that your questions are legal and advisable.
Change what you can – and acknowledge areas you can’t. There’s a chance you’re not in a position to accommodate your employees’ wishes at a wholesale level – even the ones you agree with. If that’s the case, it’s wise to nonetheless acknowledge these grievances and dig deep for small ways to alleviate them. Continue to communicate and take action (even small action) regularly until the area is improved – even if that takes years.
Getting a read on company culture is delicate territory, and benefits from insights offered by HR professionals. Give us a call at 610.443.0119 or inquire with us here for ways to navigate these and other HR-related decisions.