3 ways to head off employee churn and keep your top talent on board

The first quarter is a busy time for job changes, with new budgets and nascent initiatives in place. Stop the poachers by listening to your staff and rewarding your high achievers.

Empolyee churn

A new year brings a wave of opportunities for job seekers.

That’s great for companies seeking to bring in new talent and expand their business, but it can also pose a problem: employee churn.

Just as your organization looks to bring on new employees, another company might be trying to poach your stars—along with their knowledge and expertise.

If left unchecked, employee turnover can be extremely costly. It’s especially common in the first quarter, with studies finding some of the year’s  busiest hiring days falling in January and February.

The current job market is ripe with opportunity, so now’s the time to take the pulse of employee sentiment—and combat first-quarter departures.

How to watch for ‘tells’

There are telltale signs that employees are preparing to exit. If they suddenly have a flurry of sick days or turn up in their Sunday best after a “dentist appointment,” they might be on the prowl for a new gig.

Don’t want to wait until they’re in the interview stage to prevent them from leaving.

If you once had an employee who was highly engaged but has become inert or restless, it can indicate they’re losing interest in their job.

If you find that employees are less engaged, unhappy or already leaving, not all is lost. Your organization can roll out several initiatives to assure employees that they’re valued:

1. Act on staff feedback. Many organizations fail to use the feedback they receive from their teams. Why bother conducting satisfaction surveys if the data will sit in a database, ignored? When employees feel heard, they know they help shape the organization, which helps increase staff loyalty.

2. Recognize and respect your people. Establish a formal program to reward staffers who embody a company’s core values and who go above and beyond in their daily jobs. When employees know their work is recognized and appreciated, they see themselves in a good position, so they’re less likely to take a chance by moving to a company they’re unfamiliar with—and that is unfamiliar with them. Encouraging peer-to-peer recognition, through gamification and other programs, can inspire employees to take a company’s values and mission to heart, not to mention promoting fun along the way.

3. Connect employees to the top. CEOs and other top leaders should make direct connections with their employees. When staffers have access to top executives and visibility into high-level decisions, they’ll be more loyal to the organization. Video messages go beyond the typical corporate memo to foment deeper connections between staff and corporate leaders.

Simon Dance is the CEO of Interact.

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