Named for the significant number of employees that left jobs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Great Resignation” is still advancing in several industries and employers are trying to find the best of method of retaining talent without the burden of offering quick fixes.

Recent studies show that 48% of employers are significantly distressed about employee turnover. This could be considered a valid concern, as it can be rather costly to onboard an employee who requires training or has been hired for a leadership role. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study states that every time a company replaces a salaried employee, it costs six to nine months of an employee’s salary to replace them.

Employees leave organizations for multiple reasons, ranging from higher paying positions to working for themselves to gain more of a work-life balance or personal freedom. Another study confirmed that 38% of employees leave their job because of inadequate salary and benefits while an alarming 57% have left due to toxic leadership.

As a result, employers are enlisting a sustainable solution that will reduce the frustrations with employee retention and many are seeking external resources to stop the bleeding at the seams of their workforce. When organizations admit what is happening on a team or in their organization and commit to doing something about it, the focus on “the great retention” begins. In doing this, there are two questions to consider:

  • Is that employee a good cultural fit for the organization?
  • Are there warning signs that I should be concerned about?

Cultural Fit

Recruiting great talent is a big challenge for most organizations but retaining stellar employees often becomes a no-win situation once they are permanent hires. The value of “cultural fit” as a job requirement has been long debated. Soft skills like how to play nice in the sandbox may be taught, but aptitude, authenticity, or attitude can’t.

Understand there are always risks with people and their motives when they accept a position. Employers are including personality assessments as a component their application process to gage an organizational/cultural fit but still encounter resignation from someone who appears promising.

Defining what a “cultural fit” looks like for an organization should not be decided at the time of onboarding, but there should be an existent checklist on what an employer looks for during the interview. Below are three sample questions to consider:

  • Does that potential employee represent more than half of the core values of an organization?
  • Are they able to provide examples of exceptional collaboration and teamwork efforts?
  • Do they have a good attitude?

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Warning Signs

Warning comes before an employee leaves, but those signs aren’t always so clear. The resignation signs are not always evident especially if there isn’t a healthy relationship with that employee. In fact, the leader’s observation may be distorted about that employee if they appear busy or conversational.

It is equally important to note that once an employee onboards, there is still work to do in meeting the needs of that employee. Are there skill gaps? Are their challenges with functioning as a part of the team? Does the employee have all the resources to successfully execute job duties? Does the leader perform regular check-ins to make sure the employee is functioning well in the organization?

Below are five warning signs to be aware of and may be cause for concern:

  1. Not fully engaged with exclusive assignments or ask questions for clarity.
  2. Complains to everyone in the office about the leader or the organizational rhythm but does not share the concerns with the leader.
  3. Avoids having one-on-ones with the leader when offered or requested.
  4. Lunch patterns change or not regularly adhering to allotted timeframes.
  5. Late or incomplete assignments is a tip off that something is shifting.

The best way to reduce frustrations with employee retention is to focus on what can be done differently to retain the best talent. Rewire focus on how to effectively define the best “cultural fit” that aligns with the team you are building. Also, be aware of unusual warning signs and spring into action immediately to prevent unnecessary resignations.

This post is based on Dr. Dwan Bryant’s April 13 Coffee Talk Professional Development Series presentation, “How to Reduce Frustrations with Employee Retention.” Click here for information on upcoming Coffee Talk sessions.