Surveys of U.S. workers indicate that the coming year could be a difficult one for employers. Twenty percent of millennials plan to leave their jobs in the coming months, according to survey data from resumebuilder.com. Among workers who did not plan on quitting their jobs, 58 percent would consider leaving if offered a better salary and benefits elsewhere.
That’s in addition to the 19 percent of those not planning to leave their jobs who would do so if they were required by their employers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
But most of these workers will stay through December.
It only makes sense; end of the year performance bonuses are paid out, along with any holiday extras that may be tradition. The holidays make December a short month anyway, and if you’re going to get medical or dental work done, you’ll want to do it on your current insurance. Plus, the company throws a great party, and it would be a shame to miss that.
But January is different. With the new year, many people resolve to make changes in their lives, and that often includes their professional lives. Burnout has been building since the start of the pandemic, and millions of workers are rethinking their career priorities. We think this is a great time to have a conversation with your staff about how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. The holiday season and the close of the year provide a perfect opportunity to work on your connection with your employees. Connection is the key to retaining talent; making your relationships more personal makes it harder for workers to leave.
Here’s our advice for retaining your best talent in the new year.
First, it’s important to identify your best talent, the people you can’t afford to lose. Maybe it’s because they fill a key role that would be hard to replace, or because their contribution to performance or culture is significant, or that you’ve identified them as ready for a promotion. You should have a list (formal or informal) of your key talent and an instinct for how likely they are to want to leave – or be tempted away.
We recommend having a conversation at the end of the year – what we call a “stay interview” (as opposed to an exit interview.) It’s a conversation that focuses on what the employee thinks and needs, rather than the what the company does. The stay interview deepens your connection and gives you important information about where your employee’s head – and heart – is regarding their future with the company. Ask questions like:
- What are your goals for the upcoming year?
- Do you have what you need to be successful in your role?
- Do you feel like you’re making an important contribution to the company’s mission?
- Does your work have meaning?
- Do you think your compensation is fair?
- What could we / I be doing to make your job easier or more meaningful?
Even if you can’t fix some of the issues that come up, the conversation has real value. It shows you care and that you’re listening. It opens the door for a richer conversation about what they really want from their career or things that may be bothering them – things you may never have known about until their resignation letter hits your desk.
It can be tempting to stick your head in the sand and just hope for the best in the new year. But the national talent shortage means that it’s just a matter of time before your best workers get calls from recruiters. And it’s their connection to you and the company that will be your best defense when new opportunities come up.
About the Author:
Rich Thompson, CEO of XPG Recruit, is an expert on staffing, human resources, training and leadership development. XPG Recruit provides recruiting for staffing companies. For consulting to increase engagement and/or retention, check out the services of our sister company, Xtra Point Group.