Avoiding Employee Turnover: Is Your Top Talent Headed for the Door?

by Fraser Marlow

Create an early warning system — before it’s too late

Organizations spend considerable sums on their IT infrastructure. When there’s a software glitch or a server malfunctions, someone in IT is alerted immediately. The problem gets fixed, and you’re back in business.

But what happens when there’s a disruption with employees? Maybe a high-potential is stressed and about to spin out of control. Perhaps top talent is quietly looking for better opportunities. Where’s the early warning system that alerts leaders to potential employee turnover?

Headcount is typically the biggest line item on an organization’s P&L statement. Without warning, organizations are left to deal with the aftermath, from absenteeism and turnover to hiring costs, lost productivity, onboarding, and more. But more than just headcount, employees make big, bottom-line impacts when they’re fully engaged.

Executives recognize the critical link between an engaged workforce and business results. Our research also tells us Top Workplaces:

  • Achieve employee engagement levels more than double the U.S. average.
  • Retain 9 out of 10 employees.
  • Outperform the market by 30 percentage points.

Listen to learn and connect with employees

Leaders rely heavily on financial, process, and customer metrics data to run their operations. But what they may not realize is that they can also use data to measure and benchmark employee engagement. With a listening strategy that pays attention to the concerns and ideas of employees, organizations can collect objective data:

  • Formal listening approaches include a comprehensive annual survey, supplemented by shorter and more frequent “pulse” questionnaires to keep channels of communication open. These efforts can surface individual and organizational issues that stand in the way of success.
  • Informal listening approaches include focus group managers who report on team morale.

What’s most important is that the insights should be shared throughout the organization, inviting employees to explore the data together to gain consensus on what needs improvement. This builds constructive dialogue and accountability around issues of engagement while encouraging employees to act and take ownership of the culture.


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Organizations that make their listening strategy a continuous improvement cycle get results

Their employees feel heard and valued, while the organization benefits from higher productivity, lower employee turnover, and easier recruitment of top talent. Moreover, they see improvement in other key areas, such as revenues, customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Scores, and market performance.

With an ongoing commitment to maintaining a healthy culture, organizations gain an effective way of keeping employees engaged and doing their best. At the same time, they create an early warning system for recognizing when potential problems are on the horizon – before it’s too late. Both are essential for keeping employees fully engaged in their organization and in its success.