Employee Turnover - Can you prevent it?


Employee Retention is a challenge that many employers are facing as we adjust to an ever-changing new norm. One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is that the gap between generations is narrowing and all employees are searching for balance and happiness. So, what can employers do to gain a better understanding of what employees are looking for, keep employees happy and prevent their top talent from leaving? While there is no silver bullet. Employers can take certain steps to invest in their talent through engagement, communication, and appreciation.


It’s dangerous to feel confident about the programs you offer and believe that you are doing all the right things. You need to be willing to ask employees what’s important to them and review your current total rewards strategy and programs to ensure that they align. If changes are needed, be willing to make them. It’s important to understand that some employees may be looking for specific programs that support work-life balance while other employees may be looking for growth or to see if their employer’s culture and vision align with their personal beliefs. While these are very different needs and you may not be able to address them all, your employees will appreciate your willingness to listen.


We need to get back to basics! With less face-to-face interaction, it’s become easier to talk business and keep conversations short; and harder to build and maintain work relationships. Eighteen months ago, many employees spent more time with their work-family than their home family but that’s no longer the case. As we become more productive and efficient, many tend to skip small talk and forget its importance. Did your employee take a vacation this summer? Did they drop a child off at college? Do they have children going back to school? Have they recently lost a friend or family member to Covid? These are the types of questions we all instinctively asked each other while grabbing coffee or waiting for a meeting to start. We instinctively engaged with each other and built relationships. Not asking these questions doesn’t mean you don’t care but it can certainly make some employees feel like they aren’t appreciated. Make a conscious effort to build time for small talk back into the workday as well as any other creative events that you have put on hold such as company-sponsored trainings, events, and happy hours to help your employees feel connected and appreciated.


When an employee still chooses to leave, you should meet with them in person and thank them. While an online exit survey may seem faster and more efficient, this doesn’t help identify why the employee chose to leave and determine if changes need to be made to help retain other employees. Taking the time to talk to the employee also shows that they were a valued employee, keeps the door open if they choose to return in the future, and may even lead to employee referrals down the road.

The working world of yesterday is not the working world of tomorrow and those willing to take the time to engage in these steps have the best chance of retaining top talent. If your employee still chooses to leave, remember to show gratitude until the end!