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Ideas and insights for today’s people-centered leaders.


The Great Resignation is upon us with 89% of the workforce experiencing burnout over the past year (Visier, 2021) and over 40% of employees looking to change jobs in 2021 (Microsoft, 2021). With an existing talent shortage that is expected to grow, employee retention has never been more important—but many organizations are still struggling to retain key talent. 

3 difficulties organizations face when addressing retention

1. Quitting a job is personal and complex

There are many drivers of employee retention, which makes it difficult for organizations to identify the root cause of their retention issues. When drivers vary by business unit, region, and tenure, retention strategies that work for one group of employees might not be successful for another. There is also a great deal of variation for each employee based on perspective and personal experiences. Where one employee might see stability and security, another may see a lack of opportunity. 

2. Evolving work situations make turnover causes complicated to pinpoint

Employee sentiment is constantly changing and evolving. To stay on top of employee retention issues, businesses need to constantly monitor what is happening throughout the organization, including how that impacts employee engagement and needs. In early 2020, most organizations were not focused on remote work, but by mid 2021, there was a heavy focus on creating employee experiences at home, and now, the return to work and the future hybrid workforce. 

3. Understanding your retention issues takes resources

The complexity around employee retention requires dedicated resources and teams to identify your current state, surface the root causes behind employee turnover across the business, and to help identify the areas of focus to help form tailored action plans. Organizations need to understand their data to be able to get ahead of turnover risks and to take proactive steps to improve retention. 


Use ‘Ask, Align, Act’ to improve retention

Ask, Align, Act is a problem-solving approach that when used with Visier’s Retention Focus solution, allows organizations to surface key insights in their data to help them understand their employees better, and ultimately to help improve employee retention and engagement. 

Ask: to ask the right questions, think holistically

The complex and multifaceted nature of employee retention challenges requires you to take a holistic approach to ensure you are surfacing key and actionable root causes leading to turnover. Organizations need to manage employee turnover at both the organization and team level. In order to do this, there needs to be a consistent approach in assessing employee turnover throughout the business. 

While organizations have access to their employee turnover data, many struggle to understand where to begin. A Visier client shared their experience of leaders spending hours debating how to calculate turnover rate and how to best capture average headcount. A better starting point is to use out of the box standards and key demographic groups that most closely align to turnover. Visier allows you to drill down to specific groups and to the employee level, so your leaders and managers understand where they are compared to the overall organization. 

Align: validate the data with human experience

You need to look at all of your data, including compensation, promotion, career development and sentiment data, to get a better picture of your current state and your retention risk profile. Retention Focus helps to connect the dots between your data, and Visier’s People Analytics Consultants partner with you to highlight key findings, areas of focus, and best practice recommendations to help guide you towards an action plan that will have the biggest impact.

To execute on your action plan, you need to build alignment across your organization so your leaders and managers know what they need to do to help the organization meet their retention goals. Your executive team needs to understand how to navigate through your data to get a comprehensive picture of the organization’s current state. The areas of concern identified should be prioritized first, and will help you form specific retention goals across the business and targeted action plans to meet these goals. 

Act: put your insights into action

Once your goals and action plans are defined, it’s time to roll out your strategies throughout the organization. There needs to be clarity throughout the business so your leaders and managers are aligned on goals, strategies, and the actionable steps they can take to help reduce turnover within their own teams. The rollout of your strategy and initiatives requires a concise change management plan, including effective communication and training for relevant stakeholders.

Once your retention strategies have been implemented, it’s imperative that you measure progress to see how your program is tracking. Employee retention is complex and change management can be difficult for organizations. However, data can help you see how effective your strategies are, whether you are on track to reach your goals or if you need to step back and take a different approach. 

Dashboards can provide the needed visibility for your executive team, helping to build accountability across the business and ensure you are progressing towards your goals. It is critical for leaders and managers to be able to monitor key performance indicators, high-level trends, and progress over time to keep them informed of how their own teams are tracking. 

With Retention Focus, Visier’s Customer Success team supports your organization throughout the rollout, ensuring project status is reviewed and any challenges or opportunities have been identified. Quarterly reviews are also part of the consulting services to help you track progress towards business objectives and to revise action plans as necessary. This ensures that you stay on the right path to reach your retention goals, and proactively plan for any challenges that lie ahead. 

About the Author

People-centered ideas and insights by the editorial team at Visier.

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