Employees are increasingly stressed and dissatisfied with their jobs, which has given way to a new phenomenon: rage applying.

Rage applying is when individuals apply for multiple jobs at once with the aim of finding a new position as soon as possible. It is an action borne out of the frustration employees feel towards their current employer rather than genuine interest in a particular new role, and is a direct response to the stress and dissatisfaction with their current jobs.

This ‘disengagement crisis’ comes at a huge cost to the UK economy, with over £340 billion annually in lost training, recruitment expenses and more. If organisations want to hold on to their top talent, they must be proactive. An effective and data-driven employee experience strategy can help HR leaders identify churn risk, understand the source of discontent and intervene with the individuals in time to retain them.

Move beyond exit surveys to data analytics

Organisations usually rely on exit surveys and interviews to determine the reasons behind employee turnovers. Unfortunately, by the time these take place, the employee is already leaving and it is too late to make any significant changes. Instead of discovering the true motives and underlying causes of employee departure, employers end up learning how an employee’s next role may offer better salaries, career growth and flexibility.

Staying ahead of sentiments that breed rage applying requires a more proactive approach than a traditional exit survey. This can be as simple as leveraging AI-powered text analytics on existing employee feedback surveys. Using these, organisations can process and analyse large amounts of survey feedback, identify common themes and generate employee sentiment scores. They can then compare the feedback of retained employees with those who have left and gain insight into the underlying reasons why employees decide to leave.

These insights can also be leveraged to improve employee retention and engagement. For example, by analysing employee feedback surveys using text analytics, organisations can develop predictive models that identify the specific behaviours and circumstances that are highly indicative of employee attrition. These predictive models can help employers identify at-risk employees and intervene before the problem spirals out of control.

Leverage employee experience signals

In addition to survey feedback, HR leaders should also monitor for signs of impending churn in key employee experience signals and incorporate them into a predictive churn risk model. Exactly what signals to pay attention to will vary across employee groups.

In the case of new hires, factors such as changes in job titles, managers and schedules that do not meet employees’ initial expectations can lead to friction, and eventually, turnover. For more seasoned employees, signals such as calls to the help desk, changes to employee calendars and the use of paid time off (PTO) can be tell-tale signs.

In general, a high frequency of help desk calls or expressing frustration during calls may indicate employee churn, while a lack of participation in work activities or team-building exercises is a sign of decreasing loyalty to the organisation. Additionally, while satisfied employees tend to save their PTO for future events or holidays, dissatisfied employees may be using it to job hunt or avoid the job altogether.

Retain talent with ‘stay’ interviews and recognition

Once organisations have implemented an employee churn model, they must provide managers with guidance on enhancing employee retention for team members at risk of leaving. Conducting ‘stay’ interviews is one way to accomplish this.

Rather than revealing that the model flagged them as a turnover risk, these interviews should be more of a candid conversation about employees’ current experience, their challenges and aspirations for the future. It should emphasise to employees that their contribution is valued and ask them what they need to succeed at the organisation.

Unfortunately, many organisations fail to recognise top performers for their efforts and simply allocate more work to them. This approach can lead to increased employee turnover, since employees desire jobs where they will be recognised and appreciated. Listening to employees and recognising them for the work they do is a vital part of creating a workplace culture where people are happier, more engaged and less likely to leave.

Celebrate the milestones

Often, organisations forget to celebrate their employees until they hit long-term work milestones, which can lead to feelings of frustration and, eventually, their departure from the organisation. To avoid such negative outcomes, employers need to recognise and reward employees much earlier in their tenure.

Celebrating recognition can take many different forms, for example, creating a certificate acknowledging the achievement, taking the employee out to lunch or arranging a team-wide celebration. Being more intentional about these moments of recognition can make a big difference in keeping employees engaged, motivated and committed to their jobs.

Give employees a voice

Employees may occasionally feel that their contribution does not move the needle or that inefficient processes end up wasting their time. As a result, not only is their experience negatively affected, but so are the organisation’s sales, revenue, and customer experience – since employee happiness is directly linked with the latter.

By using an internal crowdsourcing platform, organisations can actively encourage everyone to collaborate to solve problems and drive change. When employees are able to share their ideas and see them implemented, they feel empowered and valued, and are more motivated to stay with the organisation.

Prioritise the employee experience

It can be expected that employees will casually browse for opportunities to understand the job market – but the problem begins when this job hunting detracts from their work time and eats into their productivity and motivation. Before long, there are visible signs that previous top performers have lost their drive. This is when organisations must intervene.

By nipping rage applying in the bud, organisations not only avoid talent leaving, but also prevent a turnover contagion, in which other team members consider leaving as well. Recognising employees and especially listening to their feedback can mean the difference between a happy employee and a disengaged one. Through a proactive approach, employers can improve both the employee experience and the overall business outcomes.