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SHRM’s Workplace Culture Survey: Tips to Reduce Turnover

Quick look: Developing a strong workplace culture is crucial for recruiting and retention strategies and must be continuously nurtured. Despite business leaders understanding its importance, not everyone makes good on the promise. A global survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) highlights why employees are leaving in droves and what businesses can do to keep them to stay.

Creating a safe and positive workplace culture is one of the deciding factors affecting whether or not employees will stay with a company. According to a recent SHRM survey, employees believe a working environment should have transparent communication, trust, strong people management, and empathy training. 45% said they’ve thought about leaving their current organization, and 30% have begun actively searching for a new job in the past six months, all because of poor workplace culture.

People are being choosier about their employment, which means focusing attention inward is necessary to avoid disruption. The cost of losing employees is hard to overcome but can be prevented. Business leaders who prioritize workplace culture with creative HR solutions will find the payoff is worth it as they recruit and retain the best.

Poor workplace culture means people will inevitably quit

People who are unhappy at work typically share their grievances with co-workers. They’re also less productive and create an undesirable environment for themselves and others. Toxicity can quickly gain steam and spread throughout a company, causing a domino effect of resignations.

90% of those who rated their work culture as poor have thought about quitting. However, even when rating their culture as average or good, which was 72% and 32%, respectively, employees still thought about leaving. Meanwhile, 64% of employees who rated their workplace culture as poor took action and looked for a new job in the past six months. And those claiming an average culture (43%) and nearly a quarter (22%) who said their culture was good still went job hunting as well.

Lack of purpose and failed leadership are causing people to leave their jobs

Most employees want a sense of purpose and promising leadership from where they work. 30% of surveyed employees searching for a new job say they don’t have a meaningful career. Additionally, 54% are looking because they don’t have faith in their supervisors’ ability to lead.

People management is often an overlooked characteristic when assigning leadership roles and workplaces suffer as a result. When there’s a lack of leadership, retention suffers with productivity and quality of work soon to follow. Employees who manage people must be equipped with the proper training and tools to be effective. This goes beyond job responsibilities and focuses more on building trust and empathy and knowing how to mitigate conflict.

Although supervisors may have the skills and experience necessary to technically perform the job, if they don’t make their team feel inspired or motivated to work, employees quickly become dissatisfied. Instituting empathy training leaves a big impression on whether an employee appreciates the culture or not. The survey reports only 69% of workers think their supervisor is empathetic. Meanwhile, 93% of employees who work at a company offering empathy training state they love where their work compared to 56% who share the same sentiment but do not have the same training.

Ways to improve workplace culture

These statistics may not come as a surprise for many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), but knowing how to best approach the problem may be a challenge. Fortunately, there are several, tangible ways to improve workplace culture and employee satisfaction by reaching a place of trust, authenticity, and accountability.

Maintain transparent communication

Communication is paramount to a healthy workforce. It requires clear, consistent messaging delivered through various mediums and then backed up with action. When there’s a disconnect between the two, it causes a sense of distrust among employees. Lack of communication also often leads to assumptions and doubts about a company’s capabilities and values.

Make sure employees feel heard

Too often employees feel their voice doesn’t matter which is demotivating and can lead to a decline in performance. SMBs can create policies allowing employees to voice their concerns and take actionable steps to help them solve problems. These can include 1:1 supervisor meetings, focus groups, and anonymous feedback surveys, all of which are designed to allow employees to express themselves freely.

Create thoughtful incentives

It’s difficult to create clear objectives to measure performance without a purpose. Therefore, employees become discouraged, especially when they don’t receive credit for their efforts. Implementing professional development, onsite training, and career growth plans give employees goals to work toward. Additionally, creating bonus structures and relevant office perks can motivate employees and keep them engaged.

Give employees autonomy

Autonomy shows employees they can be trusted with their work, time, and productivity. It gives them space to problem solve and make decisions on their own. Conversely, when micromanagement is the driving force, it can make employees feel resentful and less confident about their work and company.

Promote meaningful interactions

In today’s mobile-centric world, meaningful interactions are important, and they don’t always have to be face-to-face to be effective. Interactive, online training modules, in-person networking events, and virtual and real-life company social gatherings can all help to empower employees to do their jobs well and make them feel more connected to the company.

Invest in HR solutions focused on company culture

The modern workplace encompasses multiple generations of employees all looking for different things to feel satisfied with their job. It’s up to SMBs to listen to what their employees want and build initiatives to create lasting change.

Working with ExtensisHR provides SMB leaders with a comprehensive HR solution which includes a focus on retention and recruiting strategies. Improving workplace culture can be customized and intertwined with the responsibilities of HR, payroll, compliance, and benefits to keep employees happy and help businesses grow. Contact our experts today to learn how.

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