HomeEmployee ExperienceEngagementHR leaders must put care first to retain talent in turbulent times

HR leaders must put care first to retain talent in turbulent times

  • 4 Min Read

The Limeade 2020 Employee Care Report reveals the hidden reasons behind high rates of employee turnover, and how HR can provide the remedy for businesses in an increasingly unstable business landscape.

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Prior to COVID-19, 2.3% of the U.S. workforce quit their jobs in 2018. That’s an average of 3.5 million workers monthly — the highest rate since 2001. Even worse, the beginning of 2020 drove massive layoffs resulting in a current unemployment rate of 4.4% In the tumultuous landscape of 2020, businesses could expect even greater mass walkouts of staff later in the year, as a steep rise in workers engaging in side hustles in 2019 and changing expectations around flexi-working post-coronavirus shake the foundations of a what was an apparently robust talent landscape at the start of this year. Regardless of industry or profession, 2020 promises to be a year of unprecedented change in the working lives of people across the globe.

In the face of such disruption, talent retention should be front of mind for HR leaders, as we wrestle through a period of uncertainty to find our way out of the other side.

First and foremost, it is crucial for business leaders to understand what will cause high attrition in 2020, and what will encourage employees to stay put.

What is causing high attrition?

How can HR leaders stem the flow of great talent out of their businesses? Academic studies show that the most popular reasons employees cite for leaving their roles include:

  • A low-quality supervisor relationship
  • Poor team morale
  • A lack of tangible rewards for their work
  • A lack of visible growth opportunities within the company
  • A lack of autonomy in their role

Additionally, a Limeade Institute study in 2019 found that care is a key differentiator in businesses that retain their staff throughout challenging times.

Limeade Institute’s latest study, the 2020 Employee Care Report (available as a free download), examines the hidden causes behind high rates of employee turnover and provides HR and business leaders with remedies to ensure retention within their teams, especially during difficult times. The company has also made available, at no charge, a version of the Limeade Care in Crisis edition software to help employees in large enterprises navigate COVID-19. 

How does a low level of care influence talent attrition?

The 2020 Employee Care Report reveals the central role that care, or a lack thereof, plays in whether an employee chooses to remain in your organisation or seek pastures new. The findings include:

  • 1 in 3 employees have left a job because they didn’t feel their employer cared about them as a person.
  • 1 in 5 employees left a job because their employer didn’t support their well-being.
  • 1 in 4 employees left a job because they weren’t treated with dignity by company leaders.

Even more surprising is that it isn’t only a lack of care from a manager to an employee that encourages an employee to leave their role. Often, the study finds, a lack of care from one manager to a member of their team creates a severe and demonstrable domino effect. The report reveals that:

  • 38% of employees have encountered a colleague encouraging them to leave a job with them.
  • This number jumps to 52% for employees that have claimed they feel burned out.

If the ripple effect caused by a lack of care in an organisation is such that over half of burned out employees have nearly left their roles at the encouragement of their team members, there is a clear need for businesses to understand the science behind care in the workplace, and how to enact it effectively among their teams.

How can business leaders use care to retain their talent?

As workplaces continue to ask more of their employees, especially in times of increased pressure such as we are currently enduring, employers need to reciprocate by providing care and fostering engagement among their workforces.

In renewing your commitment to offering top-tier employee care, the 2020 Employee Care Report recommends that business leaders focus their efforts on burnout, inclusion, mental health and emotional well-being, and provides practical tips for defining and improving each, such as:

  • Don’t rely on exit interviews in gathering feedback
  • Don’t brush burnout under the rug – understand it and act on it
  • Sell your inclusion efforts internally, too
  • Define your mental health disclosure policy

Prioritising these key areas of employee care has clear results for the bottom line. Putting care at the forefront of your HR strategy means that employees are more engaged, more likely to stay at your company and more likely to recommend your company as a great place to work to the next great potential employee that comes along. In short, care is essential for business success and the message you send to your employees now, will make an impact for the years to come.

Discover more about how the science of care can transform your organisation, download the free 2020 Employee Care Report from Limeade.

Register for Limeade’s free webinar, ‘Reinforcing connections with your workforce in a time of disruption’, Tuesday April 21st 15:00 BST.


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