Why Employees Quit

4 signs an employee is about to quit

When employees quit, it has a multiplying negative impact: their co-workers may feel over-burdened and discouraged, while the company suffers from a drop in productivity. Furthermore, the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training replacements is substantial. To proactively retain your top talent, it’s important to understand why employees quit and monitor for signs that someone might be ready to leave. Here are the four biggest indicators that one of your employees has started hunting for another job:

  1. Becoming disengaged

A person who sees their future at a different company is less likely to stay closely engaged in their present position. Any significant decrease in an employee’s participation in discussions, a reluctance to sign up for training opportunities, or an avoidance of committing to long-term projects could be a danger sign.

  1. Using personal devices

If you notice your employee suddenly bringing their private laptop to work, or having an unusual number of conversations on their personal cell phone, it’s not usually a good sign. They could be pursuing external job openings, or they could be establishing private working relationships with your clients.

  1. Being quiet about a new educational achievement

Workers who plan to stay with your company will probably loop you in on any extra training or certificates that they want to pursue. They would naturally be interested in whether their new education would promote their career within your company, or whether any of their training costs could be offset. Conversely, if you become aware that someone has completed a degree, received a new certification, or attended a training and they haven’t brought it up with your company, it might mean they’re positioning themselves for a career change.

  1. Changing absentee patterns

One of the most common red flags is when an employee who rarely uses sick days is suddenly developing a cluster of viruses, dental appointments, or other ailments that result in random hours away from work. Likewise, if someone who typically takes all their vacation days at once is now taking them one at a time, you may want to have a conversation with them about how they’re feeling about their work. Don’t accuse employees of faking illnesses or using their vacation time inappropriately; that will be a fast way to alienate people. Rather, use these signs as a reminder that you should be checking in with your employees on a regular basis.

Understanding why employees quit is the first step toward changing their minds. When you notice one of the four listed symptoms, you still have the opportunity to initiate a positive conversation. Once you learn about the person’s plans and reasons for wanting to make a change, you can explore the potential for meeting their needs while retaining them at your company.

Employee Coaching

How to improve your 1:1 manager meetings

Holding regular one-on-one meetings with your employees is a major component of employee alignment, coaching, and good management. Not only are they a great way to build individual relationships with your employees, but there is often information that’s not appropriate to cover in a group setting. Handled correctly, these meetings offer abundant benefits for you, your staff, and your entire company. Here’s a quick look at how you can optimize the benefits of your individual meetings with employees:

How you benefit from 1:1 meetings with your direct reports

Meeting with your individual employee allows you to see beyond their output, giving you insight into their essential wellbeing. You will know ahead of time if the person is anticipating difficulties accomplishing their work, and you’re also likely to learn about any conflicts occurring between employees. Effective management depends on your awareness of what underlies high productivity, as well as the nature of existing and future obstacles. Furthermore, you will become a better manager as you absorb and learn from your employees’ feedback.

How your employees benefit from 1:1 meetings with you

Your direct reports rely on you to help them clear any work-related roadblocks they are experiencing. When you provide employee coaching and constructive feedback, you’re showing that you value each individual worker, enhancing your relationship and enabling them to work at their highest capability.

How your company benefits from your 1:1 meetings

Employee wellbeing has a direct effect on productivity. When you take the time to have regular one-on-one meetings, you are creating an environment in which personnel problems are solved before they become acute. Your organization saves money when employee turnover is reduced, and employee loyalty is strengthened when workers understand how their tasks align with the mission and goals of the company as a whole.

5 best-practice tips for one-on-one meetings

Follow these 5 tips to maximize the benefit of your one-on-one meetings:

  • Hold them in a private, non-distracting environment.
  • Don’t use the meeting time to deal with disciplinary issues.
  • Prepare your agenda and share it ahead of time with your employee.
  • Ask open questions and encourage your employee to initiate new topics.
  • Send a short set of “minutes” to the employee afterward to strengthen and formalize the points you discussed.

When handled correctly, individual meetings enable you and your employees to effectively navigate the sometimes complex web of managerial relationships.

How to Recruit Employees

In-house or outsource: choosing the right recruiting method for the job

The average time to fill an open position is now close to a month. During that time, the costs of the unfilled position mount up. Being shorthanded can damage the morale of the remaining employees, require paying overtime to complete projects, or prevent the company from meeting deadlines or taking on new work. Companies need to use the most effective methods possible to bring in a replacement worker quickly in order to minimize the time, effort, and expenses associated with the recruiting process and the unfilled position. When you’re thinking about how to recruit employees, you should weigh the pros and of conducting your own candidate search using internal recruiters on your human resources staff or hiring a specialty head-hunting firm. Here’s a look at when you should do it in-house and when you should hand off the effort to a specialist.

Keep recruiting in-house
If you already have a recruiter on your HR staff, you should start the employee search process by working with them. If you’ve filled other positions recently, you probably have a pool of resumes from candidates who weren’t right for those positions but might be ideal for this new opportunity. Reaching out to contacts you already have can save you time in identifying your new hire. Your in-house staff will also be able to identify any current employees who may be looking for a transfer or are ready to step up and assume new responsibility. Using an internal transfer to fill a position shortcuts the onboarding process significantly, and often improves morale for employees who see that career growth is possible.

Outsource recruiting to a specialist
If you’re hiring for a very specialized skill or for a very senior-level position, a headhunter who specializes in that field or in executive recruitment is likely to have more connections and a deeper network of potential candidates than you could contact on your own. Working with an external recruiter is also effective if your own staff is overloaded with other responsibilities. The external team can do the preliminary screening and involve you only when an applicant is a solid potential match. If you’ve been conducting your own search and not finding candidates you like, that’s another time to reach out for assistance and work with a recruiting firm who knows how to recruit employees that are a better fit for your business.

Of course, if you don’t have a recruiter on your HR team, you’ll turn to a recruiting firm to fill open positions. If you plan to do a lot of hiring, you might even consider opening a position for a recruiter as well.

Company Mission Statement

Top 5 best company mission statements

There are many ways to define or approach a company mission statement, but the intent is the same in all cases: Mission statements are meant to align an organization’s employees to a clear, primary purpose. While many mission statements aren’t particularly inspiring, the most effective ones help employees find meaning in their work and feel like they’re making a difference for the greater good.

Unfortunately, our 2015 North American workforce survey found that a majority of workers fail to find such a sense of purpose in their employer’s mission statement; often because they don’t even know what it is. They understand job demands and performance evaluations, but aren’t able to see how their own daily efforts impact the bigger picture.

The best company mission statements pull double duty as compelling engagement tools. For example, our mission statement at Achievers is “To Change the Way the World Works.” We know it sounds lofty, but we genuinely believe that the work we do each day can have a real impact on the work lives of millions of employees globally. And we like to think that our big mission is part of why our employees come to work every day and give an A-plus effort.

If you think your mission statement still needs work, we’ve pulled some inspiration from organizations with passionate employees and big goals. Hopefully this will help you find a new way to energize and align your employee base:

  1. Twitter

The mission: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information, instantly, without barriers.” The technology company aims to remove communication barriers and help people connect with one another. What’s more heartwarming than that?

  1. Clarks

The mission: “Our passion is to listen to our customers and deliver a product that allows the consumer to feel the pride, respect and trust of everyone at the Clarks Companies N.A.” Clarks focuses on guiding employees to create high-quality products and deliver excellent customer service.

  1. MGM Resorts International

The mission: “MGM Resorts International is the leader in entertainment & hospitality—a diverse collection of extraordinary people, distinctive brands and best in class destinations. Working together, we create partnerships and experiences that engage, entertain and inspire.” MGM’s commitment to diversity encourages its employees to work collaboratively as they pursue innovation.

  1. Coca-Cola

The mission: “To refresh the world…To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…To create value and make a difference.” This uplifting mission statement reaches beyond the company’s flagship soft drink, instead resolving to make the world a happier and more inspired place.

  1. REI

The mission: “We inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of adventure and stewardship.” Their mission ties their employees to a love of the outdoors, sustainability, and healthy living.

According to Gallup, sincere mission statements help improve employee loyalty, employee alignment, and customer engagement. With those results, there’s no reason not to get on board by creating a company mission statement that actually works.

 

Millennial Employee Retention

How to retain millennial employees

While millennial employees are known for being “job hoppers,” this is an oversimplification that does not do justice to the ambition and hard work that they bring to the table. Your younger talent is the key to your organization’s future, so knowing how to retain them is essential. Use these tips to improve the employee retention rates among your millennial workforce:

  1. Offer a larger purpose

Younger workers want to feel that they are making a difference in the larger world. As you assemble the perks you offer, it’s important to go beyond merely material things like bonuses and health benefits (although those are important, too).

Provide the opportunity for your employees to engage in philanthropic activities that express the mission and values of your organization. Your younger workers will identify their own altruistic aspirations with those of your brand and are likelier to feel fulfilled in their position.

  1. Encourage innovative thinking

Young workers are eager to have a voice in shaping the company they join, and you can benefit from their efforts to improve your business process. Tap into this win-win proposition by following LinkedIn’s practice of having teams of employees pitch ideas to executives once each quarter.

Workers whose pitches are accepted have three months to work on their innovation. When millennials feel that their ambitions and ideas are respected, and that they have room to work on passion projects, they’ll be more engaged with the welfare of your business.

  1. Support flexible scheduling

Millennials care about meeting goals and accomplishing projects, not about clocking in and out on a rigid schedule. If your operations can be accomplished with a certain amount of remote work and flexible timing, your company will be much more attractive to young workers. You may find that one employee is most productive after midnight, while another prefers to show up every day at 7 a.m. Customized individual options are one of the key values that millennials are seeking in their workplace.

The millennial generation of workers has a lot to offer, but they are undeniably mobile: a Forbes study found that 91 percent of them expect to move on to a new job in less than three years. You can improve employee retention by understanding what young workers are looking for and making your company the place where they want to put down roots.

Vacation Time

How to convince employees to take vacation time

Businesses don’t just run on machinery; they run on the hard work and innovation of employees. Unfortunately, many North American employees are stifling their productivity and creativity by working without significant breaks for many months, or years, at a time.

In 2014, more than 40 percent of Americans didn’t take any vacation at all. Taking vacation time, whether employees actually travel or not, is essential for allowing time to rest and recuperate. “Use it or lose it” policies encourage some employees to take vacation time off, but there are a number of other ways that you can improve vacation usage at your organization:

Encourage people to take time off

Some companies encourage people to take vacations by offering several weeks of paid days off per year. Other companies have policies stating that employees are required to use a minimum number of vacation days, paid or not. Companies can monitor whether employees are taking days off through their HRIS and remind them when too much time has gone by without a break. HR should work with the employee’s manager to resolve issues that make it hard for the employee to get away.

Take a vacation yourself

Employees know there are unstated policies that matter just as much as stated policies. If senior managers never take a vacation, or if they’re always calling to check in when they’re away, employees will think that they’re expected to always be available, no matter what HR says the policy is. Take a real vacation yourself to let your employees know that it’s really okay.

Don’t overload employees with work when they return

Who can relax on vacation when you know work is piling up at the office and you’ll be slammed when you return? Have a process in place to handle work so it doesn’t accumulate and overload an employee returning from vacation. Some companies even take care of work-related emails in employees’ inboxes when they’re away. It’s the electronic equivalent of coming back to a clean desk.

Think twice before offering unlimited vacation

Offering unlimited vacation time seems like it should reassure employees that it’s okay to take time off, but it can sometimes have the opposite effect. Without some official norm, employees don’t know how many vacation days it’s really okay to take — they realize unlimited vacation doesn’t mean taking off 364 out of 365 days, but they don’t know just how many days are acceptable. They may take less than they’d like because of the confusion.

Your employees are your best asset. Help them take advantage of their vacation time allowance for their benefit as well as the company’s.

 

Exit Interview Questions

3 things you need to learn from exit interviews

Breakups are tough. This is as true in the workplace as it is in personal life. But employers need to take advantage of these challenging moments to ask departing employees why they’re leaving and try to learn from their responses. By conducting interviews before your employees walk out the door, you can gain valuable insight into the ways that your company might be falling short, and what other companies are doing to poach your talent.

You can find plenty of lists of reasons employees quit (like thisthis, or this), but you won’t know which reasons apply to your business unless you ask. Then, use the information to improve the environment for the employees who remain. Be sure to ask departing employees these exit interview questions:

  1. Why are you leaving? Departing employees are dissatisfied about something: the salary, the nature of the work, how they were treated by their manager, or something else. Don’t be satisfied with an answer like, “I want more challenge.” Ask follow-up questions to understand exactly what they mean. The more specific information you get, the better you can address those issues.
  2. What did you like about your job here? Hopefully, there was something employees liked about their jobs. Learning the positives is as important as learning the negatives so you know what you shouldn’t change about the work environment. If your company is considering changing some policies, ask departing employees their opinions of the proposed changes before you implement them.
  3. Did you have the resources you needed to do your job? Employees can’t work effectively without the right tools, but budget-conscious departments sometimes scrimp on spending. Companies need to invest in the resources employees need to get the job done. These resources can include training as well as software, office supplies, and support staff. When employees don’t feel they have the needed resources, they don’t feel the company is committed to their success.

Don’t try to use an exit interview to change employees’ minds about leaving. It’s usually too late, and even if you somehow persuade them to give you a second chance, the problems that they experienced before might persist. Instead, use the conversation to help improve the way you treat the rest of your staff. If you really listen to the feedback, asking exit interview questions should become a less common event.

Buyer's Guide for Social Recognition Systems

Finding the right social employee recognition solution: partner, platform, program

Employee recognition — done right — is today’s must-have for business. Social employee recognition systems appear on Gartner’s Hype Cycle, climbing the curve to become a standard business system — but how do you choose the right system? It’s a choice that comes with very high stakes. Pick the wrong partner and you not only risk throwing your money to the wind; you could also alienate your entire workforce. Ouch.

Let’s consider what to look for to better your chances of finding the right fit.

It starts with finding a partner. This means the people and services that stand behind the solution. Ultimately, a platform is only as good as the people who bring it to life. The success of your employee recognition program hinges on the support and expertise your vendor provides.

A platform: The core technology system that your employee recognition program will run on. Enterprise platforms – rather than a mobile-only solution for example – give you the place to consolidate all of your employee programs and get visibility and control over program spend. Platforms that offer an API enable you to integrate the solution with other enterprise applications. It’s a great opportunity to keep employees productive by having recognition right within their flow of work and enables you to bring your workforce data together, ultimately getting more value out of your investment in each application.

Ability to create your unique program. Getting results relies on how well the set of features and functions you’ll be using can be tailored to the culture and objectives you’re targeting.  It might go without saying, but recognition tools need to be front and center.  Here is a short list of some of the essential recognition features to look for that will ensure your program will be successful.

Recognition tools to look for:

2016 Buyer's Guide for Social Recognition Systems

Learn more about what you need to consider to find the right employee recognition solution for your organization in our new 2016 Buyer’s Guide for Social Recognition Systems

Employee Appreciation Day

Achievers employees, we appreciate you!

In honor of Employee Appreciation Week, we wanted to highlight a handful of our A-mazing employees. While we didn’t have the space to feature everyone, all members of the Achievers family deserve recognition. We hope you’ll be recognizing your employees this week as well!

Need ideas for how to do it? Get 30 fun, fresh ideas for celebrating Employee Appreciation Day!

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