Employees quit and start new jobs all the time. That's nothing new. But as someone working in HR, you'd do well to keep tabs on trends in the employment market, such as how many people are getting hired/leaving their jobs every month. Paying attention to these market trends can help you develop more solid strategies for retention.
Know the Market
First, let's look at some recent numbers we have regarding the talent market today:
- 3 million workers in the U.S. quit their jobs in February 2016.
- There were 5.4 million job openings in February 2016.
- 5.4 million people got hired in February 2016.
- There were a total of 5.1 million separations (counting quits, layoffs, and firings) in February 2016.
The math is pretty simple: The number of hires, openings, and separations were all roughly the same, which means the overall job market is steady. But as Jennifer Schramm, manager of workforce trends at Society for Human Resource Management, notes, you have to watch the numbers for a little while if you really want to know what they mean. It's not the numbers themselves, but the changes to these numbers over time that really matter: "We like to keep an eye on the quits rate because HR professionals know that when the quits rate goes up, it is a sign that workers are growing more confident about the job market, and they may need to do more to ensure retention."
Taking Preventative Measures
Once you've noticed a change in the market, that means you may have to make some changes to your hiring strategy to align with current trends. It is here where retention begins: The first step in ensuring your employees stick around for the long haul is improving your hiring process. Companies with high retention rates are often those with the best hiring practices.
Dan Pickett, CEO of Nfrastructure, explains how being more thorough in your hiring can increase your retention: "Retention starts from the application process to screening applicants to choosing who to interview. It starts with identifying what aspects of culture and strategy you want to emphasize, and then seeking those out in your candidates ... You have to look at this as a long game, and take steps to ensure you're doing it right by making sure each employee is completely engaged with and part of the company's ongoing success."
If you want your hires to stay around longer, then assess them for cultural fit, ask more questions about how they would handle situations that regularly occur at your company, and ensure their work ethic matches what you're looking for.
A Little Appreciation Goes a Long Way
Keep in mind that even after you've gone through your new, more thorough hiring process, you'll still have to work on retention on a regular basis. You have to know how to keep your new employees engaged on the job with new ideas, projects, and work, of course, but a little appreciation will also go a long way.
A 2013 survey from Glassdoor found that 53 percent of employees would stay at their company longer if their boss showed them more appreciation. In the same survey, 81 percent of employees said that appreciation from their bosses motivates them to work harder.
Without regular feedback, employees have little idea about how well they're doing their jobs or how their work affects the company as a whole. By letting them know you've noticed their contributions, you'll encourage them to work harder and stay longer.
The amount of attention you need to pay to your employee retention efforts largely depends on how the market is doing. But no matter what kind of market you're in, if you want hires to stay long enough to develop into great employees, you need to make your hiring process a little more rigorous and show a little more appreciation for your employees. That way, you'll be ready for any shift in the job market.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Click Boarding blog.