As 2019 wraps up, the labor market is still going strong. In fact, Gallup indicates that 51% of employees “are actively looking for a new job.” That’s more than half of your workforce.
Recruiting, onboarding, and training are costly and take time and effort. According to HR Drive quotes an Employee Benefits Network (EBN) study where turnover costs 33% of a person’s salary. It lists “productivity costs” make turnover even more expensive. Bonus.ly estimates “an organization with 500 employees and an average annual salary of $65,000 that loses 90 employees per year to turnover has an annual employee turnover cost of just over $3,000,000.”
If you added it up, EX Summit claims that employee disengagement costs the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion annually.
Worse, the EBN study says 75% of turnover is preventable.
What causes turnover?
There are a variety of factors, many driven by communication. For the purpose of this blog post, we’ll focus on the turnover that happens within the first six months as well as lack of engagement.
You’ve heard of UX — user experience. You’ve heard of CX — customer experience. There’s a growing movement to improve how employees are treated — employee experience (EX).
Treat employees better than customers
This idea isn’t all that radical. Richard Branson (Virgin) has a famous quote: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”
What are you doing now for your customers that you’re not doing for your employees? Just to name a few, what are you doing for employees regarding:
- Make it easier to work. No doubt your company has spent money on your website and forms you need customers to complete. What’s it doing internally for your intranet? How about processes and procedures internally. For example, how easy is it to request time off? Is it easy to find the people you need, when you need them?
- Ensure employees receive relevant information at the right time. Your marketing team probably has someone (such as a content marketing specialist) dedicated to providing content — or coordinating with people who provide content. They focus on getting customers needed content along the customer journey to deepen their relationship with your company. How about internally? Are you providing ways to continue to engage employees? Are you giving them the information they need when they need it?
- Work toward positive outcomes with employees. Your CX team are masters in ensuring good customer service. They’re friendly. They have escalation procedures aimed at improving customer experience. They send out pulse surveys with smiley faces asking for feedback. Your personnel can make decisions about customer discounts and other options to make customers happier. But … what are you doing internally? Can employees make decisions about salary increases, bonuses, or added vacation? Do employees receive smiley face pulse surveys for quick feedback?
- Enable employees to make decisions and mistakes. This seems basic, but it’s vital. Employees should be able to make decisions, especially where they have expertise. Often, organizations are stalled waiting for someone with the right authority to make a decision. But many times they’re not in the best position to make that decision. Along with making decisions, embrace mistakes. Mistakes are a way of continuing to improve decision making. Welcome a culture of discussing those mistakes, too, to prevent them from recurring.
- Appreciate employees. Receiving recognition should be foundational. Read ways to thank employees.
- Make onboarding fun and welcome people into your tribe. Is your onboarding process a complicated and boring two-day training that takes people away from work? Or is it known as a fun experience that endears people to your organization? When people feel part of something, they’re more likely to stay connected and engaged.
- Receive training past 3 months. Often times, we onboard employees and forget about them, unless they need to adhere to security guidelines or meet compliance. Instead, employees should continue to feel engaged and connected every year they work for your organization. Not only can you make security more fun, instead of punishing employees who don’t take the training, you can encourage people by giving prizes and rewards for those who complete it.
- More opportunities to make a difference at your organization. Just like in the customer journey, employees have the opportunity to deepen relationships with your organization — increase responsibilities, volunteer on behalf of your organization, manage or mentor other employees, become brand ambassadors, etc. Look for those times when employees are ready and provide them those opportunities.
The above is what takes the employee experience farther. And helps you consider the experience from an employee’s point of view. Learn more about what you can do to ensure a good employee experience.
Make HR and Internal Communication like your CX and Sales teams
According to UCToday, companies are pouring money into CX solutions. In the U.S., spending by 2022 will reach about $641 billion. Most companies are making this a priority; they know it impacts the bottom line.
But … what about internal communications and HR?
Internal Communications & HR don’t have the budget they need
HR Drive indicates, probably as no surprise to internal communications and HR professionals, that they aren’t making it a priority. Our European counterparts are measuring communications and understanding the outcomes, but in North America — we aren’t. Only 25% of organizations have an employee engagement strategy; fewer have an employee experience one.
Budgets prove that North America isn’t prioritizing HR or internal communications. Gallagher’s state of the sector on internal communications indicates:
Among respondents that know their [internal communications] IC budget, one-third have no funds. Amounts available to those that are funded range from less than $14,000 (almost one-quarter), to $14,000 to $335,000 (26%), to more than $335,000 (20%).
There’s not much speculation among respondents that IC budgets will improve. Almost half (49%) believe their budget will remain the same over the next 12 to 18 months, and 22% are uncertain what direction it will take. Just 29% think their budget will either increase (17%) or decrease (12%) — a sign that relatively little change is anticipated when it comes to resourcing.
What about HR? HR’s prospects aren’t much better. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides data that in 2019, HR budgets increased by about 1%, despite higher turnover.
Look at employees through the lens of CX and Sales
Providing money toward HR and internal communications would definitely improve matters. But even at the rare organization that has budget, are they approaching HR and internal communications like CX and Sales?
Here are some key questions. Do you have …
- A single number or hotline for employees to call?
- Chatbots driven by artificial intelligence (AI) that provide fast answers and 24-hour assistance?
- Systems, processes, and technology to make good service easier?
- Time and budget — beyond what’s listed above — for employees to build relationships, like an account manager would?
- Bonus programs to decrease turnover and improve employee engagement?
- Bonus programs for recruiters for hires who continue to excel?
- Rewards for taking on additional responsibilities, other than just monetary? (Although at many organizations, increased responsibility and money don’t always go together, but they should!)
- Rewards for internal communications employees who help the organization meet stated goals?
When you start thinking of your HR and internal communications departments as you might CX and Sales, you can see where the focus is.
Summary: Your bottom line wants you to take employee experience seriously
Let’s face it, employee experience at most companies isn’t good. (No wonder so many employees are looking for other work.) Despite turnover costing organizations and shareholders, they’re not taking it seriously. They’re not making internal service, quality, engagement, and more easier. Nor are they providing the needed budgets to key groups that improve the employee experience — internal communications and HR.
It’s time to turn that around. Organizations should fund internal staff as they would CX and Sales initiatives. 2020 is a great year to start.