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Mark Seemann

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Founder and CEO

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The retention race: Why it’s harder than ever to retain employees

For HR teams to fix retention woes, they first need to know and understand what is causing them.
a flock of birds flying over a body of water

Retaining employees was never simple, but it’s certainly not getting any easier. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 72% of HR teams are finding it difficult to retain top employees, with 22% admitting that it’s very difficult.

Furthermore, for 60% of organisations, retention rates have decreased over the past three years. And in the past 12 months alone, 64% have noticed an increase in employee turnover.

For HR teams to fix these retention woes, they first need to know and understand what is causing them.

The link between data and retention rates

Employees’ needs change on a daily basis. If companies aren’t collecting timely data or lack access to it, how can they gain a deep understanding of their employees? And how can employees then feel seen and understood?

For many teams, it is this access to real-time data that is missing. The survey discovered that 60% have to wait up to a week or more for crucial employee data, 10% more than a month and, shockingly, 8% have no access at all.

Why is this the case? Often many teams still use paper or spreadsheet methods to log employee data. If data is siloed and logged in different locations, teams are limited in their insight into employees’ wants and needs. And if they are using different systems and inconsistent metrics to measure employee performance, this creates a lack of consistent and regular data – a key factor to eroding employee trust.

Left in the dark

Without access to a single source of truth, HR teams will be too late to the problem. They can’t work out reasons for retention issues, whether it is due to a lack of feedback, progression, burnout, or management factors. They just see a continual turnover of employees.

So outdated, delayed or inaccurate performance management data is also a threat to business success, impacting both employees and HR teams.

Without a united workforce and without the data, we are all left in the dark.

if managers aren’t going to interact with their employees regularly, they’ll simply move on.

Lack of feedback could mean resignations 

While a lack of data inhibits the ability to understand employee performance and engagement, there is also no point in having this data if it isn’t going to be used to provide effective, consistent and regular feedback.

Employee expectations are constantly shifting, and over half (54%) of employees would consider leaving an organisation if they lacked frequent managerial feedback. And when it comes to Gen Zers, this jumps up to three in four. That’s quite some statistic.

Feedback is vital for any employee, for their personal development, engagement and growth. Without it, they lack direction and can feel as if the company isn’t invested in their progress. But these concerns have become even more pronounced with younger generations and Gen Z.

Meeting employee expectations

Growing up in a highly digital world, navigating pandemic adversity and operating through vast social networks where information is dispersed rapidly online, employee expectations have changed and risen. 

This world has created even more of a need for regular communication, feedback and a focus on personal development. And with mental health issues heightened by this online world, the value of informally checking in with employees cannot be understated.

As the research shows, if managers aren’t going to interact with their employees regularly, they’ll simply move on.

How HR teams can improve retention rates in 2024

First and foremost, teams need to harness real-time, accurate and comprehensive data that paints a full picture on employee performance, engagement and development. A performance management system can be a single unified tool that brings all of this data together.

The oxygen of culture is communication.

It’s like having everything under one roof, allowing teams to see data insights across the organisation, analyse trends and inform decision-making on bettering retention. This data is key to understanding the root causes, whether it’s feedback, progression or burnout, so that teams can take action.

Prioritising actionable feedback

With this data, managers are also in a position to offer actionable and effective feedback. They can work with employees to create personal development plans, for example, and allow them to take control of their career path.

Real-time insights are the engine that drives performance management, providing super accurate performance ratings and visualisations of data.

But there is no point in having all of this data if companies don’t have a culture of regular and consistent feedback. The oxygen of culture is communication.

Building this culture can start as simple as making sure you informally check in with employees every week to facilitating regular, well-structured catchup sessions to understand employee concerns and offer detailed and data-driven performance feedback. 

A culture of being seen, heard and valued

As we head into 2024, employee retention has marked itself out as one of the key HR obstacles to conquer. An underlying factor in retention woes lies in a lack of unified real-time data which HR teams can’t access quickly enough – or at all. And with Gen Z continuing to influence employee expectations, not providing regular feedback can see employees walk out the door.

To stall the retention trend, HR leaders need the tools to access real-time data and build a culture of regular feedback and communication. The two go hand-in-hand and can create a workplace where employees can feel seen, heard and valued.

With this understanding, organisations can begin to step ahead in the race to retain employees. 

Interested in this topic? Read Reverse retention tactics growing in economic downturn

Author Profile Picture
Mark Seemann

Founder and CEO

Read more from Mark Seemann
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