6 Statistics about Employee Retention That You Need to Know

Employee retention is one of the most pressing issues facing HR departments today. Significant shifts in employees’ expectations about their working life coupled with a fast-paced, technology-driven business world mean that it’s becoming more challenging for organizations to hold on to top talent.

For HR professionals, cultivating a thorough understanding of the scope of the issue, as well as the key factors that drive turnover, is an important step in helping companies to achieve higher employee retention rates. Read on for a helpful roundup of six significant statistics about employee retention and their implications for human resources.


  1. In the US, roughly 3 million employees quit their jobs every month.

Nothing drives home the magnitude of the issue of employee retention quite like this surprising statistic, which is based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it’s important to remember that this figure is for voluntary turnover only. Layoffs and any other kind of involuntary termination aren’t counted here. So with such a high volume of employees walking out the door every month (and likely even more who are thinking about doing so), there’s no question that finding out why it’s happening and taking steps to stop it needs to be one of the human resources department’s top priorities.



  1. 31% of employees have quit a new job in the first six months.

In order to properly address the problem of employee retention, human resources departments not only need to know how many workers are quitting their jobs, but when they’re doing so. This statistic, culled from a 2014 survey of 1,000 employees conducted by BambooHR, reveals that almost one-third of new hires are leaving their jobs less than six months after they started, with the main reasons for doing so being an inadequate onboarding experience, insufficient clarity about job responsibilities and expectations, and an unsupportive boss. Fortunately, human resources has the ability to do something about these issues, such as creating more effective onboarding programs and building transparency and trust with new hires.


  1. More than 25% of employees are at high risk for turnover.

Research conducted by Willis Towers Watson shows that more than one-quarter of employees fall into the “high retention risk” category; that is, they self-identify as likely to leave their employer within the next two years. Since many employees in this category are top performers or possess mission-critical skills, it’s particularly important for HR to identify them as high risk and to maintain an open dialogue about the best ways to retain them. Another pertinent statistic from the same study offers a valuable clue: given that 70% of high-retention-risk employees say that they will have to leave their current company if they want to advance their careers, HR needs to take a careful look at what type of training, development, leadership, and advancement opportunities they can offer in order to hold on to top talent.



  1. Support for remote work options reduces employee turnover by 25%.

In addition to providing development opportunities, remote work programs are an important way for companies to hold on to valued employees. A study of remote work in 2017 conducted by Owl Labs with support from TINYpulse revealed that improved employee retention rates are beneficial to organizations that support flexible and remote working arrangements. In addition, these programs offer the further benefit of helping companies to attract and retain excellent employees who might not have otherwise considered the organization, such as those who are prevented from working in an office environment regularly due to a physical condition or life event.


  1. The lack of a pay raise would lead 35% of workers to search for a new job.

A 2014 Glassdoor survey of more than 2,000 US employees revealed that more than one-third of employees would start searching for a new job if they didn’t receive a pay raise within 12 months. This is an important statistic for HR to be aware of because it highlights the fact that even though company culture is gaining more attention as a major retention driver, salary still plays an important role. Therefore, it is a mistake for companies to believe that culture can replace salary parity.



  1. 87% of HR leaders believe that improved retention should be a priority.

Organizations that don’t believe employee retention is a big deal may want to rethink their position in view of the fact that the vast majority of HR leaders are calling retention a critical or high priority in the years ahead, according to a national survey of more than 600 HR professionals conducted in 2016 by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace. However, these leaders are also aware that they may face an uphill battle in bringing the issue of employee retention to the forefront: 20% of survey respondents stated that their organizations faced too many competing priorities to focus sufficiently on retention. Meanwhile, 19% of HR leaders mentioned that their ability to act strategically and in “big picture” terms was hampered by outdated HR technology. Moreover, 13% to 14% of HR leaders cited a lack of support, commitment, and vision from the C-Suite as another obstacle to improved retention.


5 Ways HR Can Support Managers with Flexible Working Arrangements

Few HR professionals would disagree that we are in the middle of a revolution in flexible working. A 2016 Gallup survey revealed that nearly half of all employed Americans spent at least some time working remotely and that the availability of flexible scheduling or work-from-home arrangements is playing an increasingly important role in employees’ decision about whether to accept or leave a job. Due to new technologies that make flexible work easy and convenient, more companies are integrating remote work as a standard practice in their overall workplace culture.

However, not every company is finding the transition from fixed to flexible work to be an easy one. For all those companies that are reaping the benefits of remote work—including enhanced employee productivity, efficiency, and reduced employee turnover—many others are struggling with how best to embrace flexible working arrangements so that they can serve employers and employees alike most effectively.

This is where the HR department comes in. HR professionals can be an invaluable resource for managers by helping to ensure that processes related to flexible working are fair and legally compliant, and that managers and employees alike feel empowered to get the most out of a flexible working arrangement. Read on for a look at five important ways that HR can lead the way in creating a flexible work culture that works well for everyone.

  1. Help the organization set clear goals.

While it may seem obvious that flexible working arrangements lead to increased employee autonomy, not all companies realize that this means that business goals must be clear and straightforward. When employees are working with increased independence and reduced oversight, the benefits will be greatest when they fully understand what they are working toward. HR can help by working with senior leaders to ensure that—from the top down—goals make sense and are easy to understand, and are geared appropriately depending on the organizational level. In addition, since goals can change quickly in the modern business environment, checking in on them needs to be an ongoing process in order to ensure that the focus can shift when necessary.

remote work

  1. Help to shift the emphasis from processes to outcomes.

While remote work has been shown to boost employee productivity, the perception nevertheless remains that employees who work on-site alongside their managers are more productive than their off-site counterparts. The perception can sometimes lead on-site workers to receive higher performance ratings and more promotions, which can cause tension and reduce team cohesion. HR’s role is to help managers focus on achievements rather than processes; that is, whether or not employees have met specified goals—not on how or where they have done so. Clear goals are important for this process, as are KPIs, precise timelines for when results will be measured, the use of tools that facilitate management-by-outcome, and modeling outcome-focused behaviors by executives and senior leaders to set an example for the entire organization.

  1. Design appropriate policies.

When it comes to flexible working, HR professionals must tackle the challenges of helping to design policies that are transparent and allow for discretion. Organizations must be crystal clear about the boundaries of what is acceptable in a remote work situation. Transparency surrounding areas such as core hours, check-in’s before changing work patterns, and appropriate work locations will help to ensure the practice is fair for everyone and that flexible working does not result in friction or the perception of preferential treatment. At the same time, however, employees’ distinct personal circumstances and backgrounds will play a role in their workplace requirements, and managers need to have the discretion to be able to set up a flexible work situation for one employee that wouldn’t necessarily be suitable for someone else.

  1. Ensure that the right technology is in place.

There’s no question that technology has been one of the main drivers of flexible working. Therefore, it’s very important that HR help to ensure that the appropriate technology is in place and functioning properly in order to allow remote employees to do their jobs effectively. The smooth operation of technology is usually prioritized at central locations such as offices and warehouses, although it is not always overseen with as much care in complex remote work situations. However, if technology isn’t working properly for flexible workers, not only does productivity suffer, but so does employee trust and motivation.

work from home

  1. Support managers with tools and training.

There’s a reason why many companies continue to struggle to embrace remote or flexible work: simply put, leading and managing is still easier (or it is at least perceived that way) when managers and employees are in each other’s physical presence. However, technology can help to bridge this gap. A range of new collaboration and communication tools means that managers and employees can check in with each other on a regular basis, ask and answer questions, and attend meetings—all from different locations. Human resource’s role is to help ensure that managers are comfortable using these tools and that they have the training and support they need to make the most out of them.

talent acquisition

The Most Important Thing to Understand about Talent Acquisition

According to today’s top talent-management professionals, the most important thing to understand about talent acquisition is that it’s not the same thing as recruitment. On the surface, this might seem to be a fairly trivial point—just a question of semantics—but in fact, differentiating these two areas is a critical step in helping companies build a coherent and proactive talent strategy that will lead to a brighter future. Read on to learn more about the difference between recruitment and talent acquisition, and why this distinction matters.

What is recruitment?

Simply put, recruitment is the process of searching for a specific candidate to fill a certain position—often a role that has just been vacated or newly created. In other words, recruitment is a reactive function that seeks to do nothing more than find candidates for existing available jobs. It encompasses activities like sourcing, screening, interviewing, selecting, hiring and, occasionally, some elements of onboarding.

What is talent acquisition?


Although talent acquisition is not the same thing as recruitment, this doesn’t mean that these two concepts are not related. On the contrary, recruitment is a key element of talent acquisition, which is likely the reason why many people often use the two terms interchangeably. However, talent acquisition goes beyond recruitment, taking a long-term view that is much broader in scope. Rather than simply reacting to present circumstances, talent acquisition is all about identifying future business needs and working to build talent pools for those future needs. Whereas recruitment is a linear process, talent acquisition takes a cyclical approach, fostering relationships in order to develop and nurture a long-term talent pipeline.

Some of the key aspects of talent acquisition that make it different from recruitment include the following:

Planning and strategy—Recruitment is tactical, but talent acquisition is strategic; and establishing an appropriate strategy takes a great deal of planning. An important part of talent acquisition involves taking an in-depth look at the nature of the business: considering workforce plans and future workplace needs and examining those needs in relationship to local and global labor markets and other critical workforce trends. In other words, talent acquisition is all about viewing a business’ talent needs in a wider context.

Workforce segmentation—To develop an effective talent-acquisition strategy, it’s vital that HR professionals understand the different work groups of a company, the unique positions within those segments, and how they all perform together. In addition, comprehensive knowledge of the skills, experiences, and competencies needed for success in each position is essential. Note how this broad view approach differs from the way in which recruitment tends to look at an individual position to be filled in isolation from other positions or from the company as a whole.

Employer branding—These days, an employer’s brand is just as important to prospective candidates as it is to potential customers, and an important part of talent acquisition is ensuring that a company’s brand is clear and attractive to targeted talent. Effective branding can advance a company’s market position, attract quality candidates, and paint a clear (and appealing) picture of what it’s like to work for that particular organization. Companies need to precisely articulate and define their image, as well as promote their organizational culture, key differentiators, quality products and services, and overall reputation. This is quite different from recruitment, in which the expectation is usually that interested candidates will seek out the company rather than the other way around.


Talent scoping and management—In today’s workforce, top talent can come from almost anywhere. To ensure that they have access to the best of the best applicants, talent professionals research and recognize the many diverse places where they can source quality candidates. Then, they start to build relationships with those individuals even when no positions are immediately available. Cultivating these kinds of connections helps ensure that there exists a sustainable talent pool that a company can draw from for many years. Recruitment, on the other hand, is more likely to see companies reaching out to candidates only when they have a vacant position.

Metrics and analytics—As with any other type of strategy, talent acquisition depends on the use of key metrics to conduct proper strategic tracking and analysis. Collecting and analyzing relevant information is the first and most important step in making better hiring decisions and ultimately improving the quality of the people a company hires.

Why is it important to understand the differences between recruitment and talent acquisition?

In examining the differences between recruitment and talent acquisition described above, it’s important to understand that the message here is not that talent acquisition is good while simple recruitment is bad; rather, the message is that it can be dangerous to mistake the one for the other. Far too many companies—often for good reasons, like lack of resources or lack of support from executive management—think they are engaging in talent acquisition when they are only recruiting, and then they can’t understand why their company has difficulty maintaining a stable and sustainable pool of high-performing employees. Learning how to tell the difference between recruitment and talent acquisition, however, can help these companies take the first step on the road to launching a proper strategic talent-acquisition approach that will serve their company well for years to come.


7 Basic HR Mistakes Your Company Needs to Watch For

This is a time of dramatic change for the workplace. From rapidly shifting workforce demographics to ever more sophisticated technological tools, HR professionals are having to cope with challenges that were difficult to imagine even just a decade or two ago. But as the HR field races to keep up with the pace of change, it’s important that HR’s basic but still critical functions aren’t left behind. Read on for a look at seven elementary HR mistakes your company needs to watch out for.

Mistake #1: An outdated employee handbook.


An up-to-date employee handbook is an essential tool for every company, regardless of size or industry: the quickest way for a company to end up in HR hot water is not to have its latest dos and don’ts down in writing for employees and managers alike to refer to. The employee handbook doesn’t have to be lengthy or elaborate; all that’s necessary is a few pages containing essential information like code of conduct, employment and termination guidelines, details on compensation and benefits, and company policy on issues like communications and nondiscrimination. At minimum, the employee handbook should be updated every other year to ensure compliance with the most recent legislation, and employees should sign an acknowledgement of receipt of the handbook and an agreement to abide by its policies.

Mistake #2: Not properly documenting performance issues.

Employee conduct is governed by written policies and standard operating procedures, so it’s important to make sure that violations of these policies and procedures are correctly and comprehensively documented. It’s easy to overlook or neglect this step, particularly because many minor performance infractions—like repeated lateness, for example—are often addressed verbally. However, written evidence of these issues is absolutely necessary to support future actions, like the decision to terminate someone for unsatisfactory job performance due to their repeated lateness. Keeping detailed written records of performance issues also helps a company ensure that it is applying and enforcing its HR policies consistently, which can in turn be useful in addressing possible legal actions like discrimination claims.

Mistake #3: Incomplete employee files.

employee fileAll personnel documents connected to employees’ work histories should always be kept safely and securely for compliance reasons. In addition, it’s a good practice to store different types of records separately. For example, leave and disability forms aren’t specifically related to employee performance and contain sensitive personal information, so keeping these in a separate folder safeguards privacy and avoids unnecessary overlap of documents.

Mistake #4: Inaccurate job descriptions.

Crafting a detailed and accurate job description takes time, which is why it’s often glossed over during the all-too-common scenario of making a quick hire. Despite this, the effort is well worth it when you consider the countless hours of future hassle it could save your company. A thorough job description helps you hone in on exactly why you’re hiring and what skills you need in a potential candidate, and it also serves as an important reference if the position ever needs to be modified in the future—as it might if the employee becomes physically disabled, for example.

Mistake #5: Inadequate training.

HR’s responsibility to a new employee doesn’t end on their first day of work, and while it’s not unreasonable to expect a certain amount of learning to happen on the job, it is unreasonable to assume that all that learning can be self-guided. As with assembling a job description, investing time in proper training will more than pay off down the road. Including training as part of the onboarding process not only helps new employees become more engaged and more knowledgeable about how to use their skills to benefit the company; it also helps employees feel that they are valued, which is a big boost for productivity and motivation.

Mistake #6: No internal HR audits.


HR policies are not “set it and forget it” arrangements. Your company needs to stay on top of changing legislation, rules and regulations, and best practices, and that requires a regular review and update of existing policies. This is a task that should be conducted every year, so don’t forget to set time aside for it. Updating the employee handbook, as described in point #1, can also be included as part of this process.

Mistake #7: Failure to comply with employment regulations.

Conducting an annual HR audit, as described above, can help your company avoid another serious HR mistake: non-compliance. Maintaining fluency with evolving employment laws and regulations is one of HR’s most important functions, and is yet another situation in which an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. HR managers must be tapped into the right resources to stay current in the changing employment environment, and to steer clear of costly oversights like misclassifying employees as independent contractors, or failing to comply with industry-specific Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.