A 2016 study by CareerBuilder found that 76 percent of full-time, employed workers are either actively looking for a job or open to new opportunities; and a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that the average tenure of employees in the U.S. is just 4.6 years. Day after day good companies lose talented employees, but why? There are a variety of reasons – both in and out of a manager’s control – but it is up to managers to do what they can to retain talented team members.
As a manager, keeping employees engaged does not necessarily have to be costly or even time consuming. In fact, one of the keys to ensuring your direct reports are satisfied is simple, but frequent, communication. Gone are the days of an annual performance review. According to a recent study by Future Workplace, in the United States, 28 percent of generation Z and 17 percent of millennials receive feedback regularly, and globally 19 percent of gen Z and millennials receive feedback daily. Managers are not only encouraged but expected to understand their employees’ career plans and how they can help them achieve their goals at their current organization.
Manager-employee communication should be a two-way street so that both sides have clear expectations of the other. Employees also should have clarity on their areas for improvement and potential for promotions and raises so that there are no misunderstandings at check-ins down the line. Clear expectations are one important factor of a comfortable and efficient work environment and this can only be achieved through consistent, quality communication.
In addition to communication, company culture is a major factor in employee retention. More and more employees want to feel connected to and supported by the culture of their organization. Important corporate culture factors differ from person to person but can include frequent company-sponsored social activities such as happy hours, plenty of opportunities to learn and attend trainings and a positive, collaborative team environment. Depending on the size of the company, managers may be able to help shape their company culture to match the needs and values of employees.
Keep in mind that a great deal of your employees’ concerns may be out of your control. Make sure that you level set with your direct reports to ensure they understand what you can and can’t do for them and try your best to help with the things you can. Of course, there always will be factors that cause employees to seek other employment that you or your company could never address, making turnover inevitable. These factors could include geographical location, family issues and total career change, among others.
Through listening to your employees and consistently asking what they value in a job, you will better understand what makes them stay at your company and will be better equipped to create a work environment conducive to long-term, satisfying employment for both you and your direct reports.