If it seems like more people across your LinkedIn are posting about new positions, you’re not wrong. Retaining talented and key employees is becoming harder and harder, putting HR leaders on both offensive and defensive as they are constantly backfilling positions of employees leaving while trying to entice the ones that they have to stay. Companies are currently facing challenges in retaining certain workforce populations due to various factors.
High-demand and specialized skill sets: Employees with high-demand skills, such as data scientists, software developers, AI specialists, and cybersecurity experts are nearly always being looked for and recruited by other companies. These professionals have ample opportunities to switch jobs, leading to a high risk of attrition if their employer fails to provide competitive compensation, benefits, growth opportunities, and a stimulating work environment.
Millennials and Generation Z: Younger generations tend to have different expectations and priorities compared to previous generations. In fact, according to Mercer’s 2023 Global Talent Trends report, despite employees feeling satisfied in their current role, 2 in 5 still plan to leave, with Gen Z both the most satisfied (92%) and the most likely to depart (55%). Millennials and Gen Z both value work-life balance, personal development, purpose-driven work, and a positive organizational culture. Companies that do not align with these values may struggle to retain Millennial and Gen Z employees.
Women in STEM fields: Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields often face unique challenges such as gender bias, unequal opportunities, and work environments that lack diversity and inclusivity. Companies that fail to address these issues and create an inclusive workplace risk losing talented female employees to organizations that actively build a DE&I based work culture and environment for their workforces.
Aging workforce: With the aging population, companies need to consider how to retain older employees who have valuable knowledge, skills, and experience. Offering flexible work arrangements, mentorship programs, and opportunities for continued growth and development can help retain this workforce population.
Remote and flexible workers: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards remote work and flexible work arrangements. Companies that do not adapt to this trend may struggle to retain employees who prioritize flexibility, autonomy, and work-life integration. Providing the necessary technological infrastructure, communication tools, and support for remote work is crucial in retaining these employees.
Diverse and minority populations: Companies that fail to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion risk losing diverse and minority employees. It is important for organizations to foster inclusive environments, address systemic biases, provide equal opportunities for career growth, and actively support underrepresented groups.
Entry-level and early-career employees: Young professionals entering the workforce often seek growth opportunities and rapid career advancement. Companies that do not provide clear paths for development, mentorship, and training may struggle to retain these employees who are eager to learn and progress in their careers.
Making the challenge of retaining one’s employees even more complicated,each organization is unique, and workforce populations at risk may vary based on industry, company culture, geographical location, and other factors. Retention strategies should be tailored to address the specific needs and expectations of different employee groups.
So what are the reasons employees leave their employers? Well, there are many and they can vary depending on individual circumstances, but several common reasons continue to come up when we look at employee attrition. Some of the top reasons include:
Work-life balance and burnout: A lack of work-life balance can take a toll on employee well-being. When employees consistently face long hours, excessive workloads, or a culture that promotes constant availability, it can lead to burnout. According to Mercer’s 2023 Global Talent Trends report, the drivers of burnout for men and women are different, with men being affected mostly by perceived unfairness and lack of a support network and women, burnout is due to workload and pandemic-era emotional demands. If organizations do not prioritize work-life balance and fail to address burnout concerns, employees may seek positions that offer a healthier work environment.
Limited recognition and appreciation: Employees value recognition for their contributions and efforts. When employees feel undervalued, unappreciated, or their work goes unnoticed, it can lead to demotivation and a decreased sense of loyalty to the organization.
Poor organizational culture and lack of engagement: A toxic or unhealthy work environment, lack of teamwork, or a culture that does not align with employees' values can drive them to seek alternative employment. Employees want to work in organizations that foster positive relationships, inclusivity, and a sense of belonging.
Personal reasons and life changes: Employees may leave their jobs due to personal circumstances such as relocation, family obligations, or pursuing higher education. Life changes can prompt employees to seek positions that better accommodate their new situations.
Lack of career growth and development opportunities: Employees often seek opportunities for advancement and professional development. When they perceive limited growth potential or a lack of opportunities to learn new skills and take on challenging projects, they may feel stagnant and decide to explore other options.
Inadequate compensation and benefits: Competitive compensation and benefits packages are crucial for attracting and retaining talented employees. When employees feel they are not fairly compensated or lack desirable benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, or work-life balance programs, they may be inclined to leave for better offers elsewhere.
Poor management and leadership: Managers play a significant role in employee satisfaction and engagement. If employees have supervisors who lack communication skills, fail to provide clear expectations and feedback, or exhibit toxic behavior, it can lead to dissatisfaction and a desire to leave the organization.
And the list goes on, as these reasons can vary based on the industry dynamics and organizational factors. Employers can reduce employee attrition by addressing these issues head on through effective communication, offering competitive compensation and benefits, providing growth opportunities, promoting work-life balance, fostering a positive culture, and valuing their employees' contributions.
It can be easier said than done, however, especially with the strain from increased workload that HR leaders are experiencing. By using Sibly’s data insights and through a strong partnership with client relations who act as an extension of their HR team, Sibly clients and their HR leaders have been able to act proactively to the different challenges that show up for their employees. These data insights identify risk of burnout, abnormal stress or anxiety and more than 40 other topics across their entire workforce and even down to a specific project or group, all in real time.
Listening campaigns are another strategy recommended by industry experts, through town halls, digital suggestion “boxes” or annual surveys. With new data and insights, personas can be developed to provide new perspectives and redesign your total rewards and employee value proposition. These listening campaigns can lead to organizational learning and action by developing short term and long term strategies that address the challenges that are surfaced. More data and insights from employees and effectively applying those analytics into thoughtful benefits and resources that are personalized to the exact needs of an organization's workforce is what will finally turn the tides of the high attrition rate we are experiencing.