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Will My Employees Leave and What Can I Do About It?

Tonya Fletcher SPHR, SHRM-SCP
by Tonya Fletcher SPHR, SHRM-SCP on August 19, 2021

Employees leave companies for all kinds of reasons – to move, to go to school, to retire, and frequently because they don’t like their manager. While some employee turnover can be good (that problem employee has resigned and you can upgrade to a better employee now), turnover is costly in both time and money. Companies that lose employees have costs associated with constant hiring, onboarding, and training new workers, plus the loss of productivity when a role remains unfilled.

There has been a significant increase in the number of employees who are leaving or thinking of leaving their companies recently – a so-called “Great Resignation.” The pandemic caused people to re-evaluate what is important and they are thinking even more about what they want from work as well as what they want for their personal lives. Some employees held out in jobs that weren’t a great fit and now they are ready to move on. Other employees may be tempted to check what’s out there to see if there is a better alternative to their current situation.

What Do I Need to Consider as an Employer?

Compensation and Benefits

It has been 12 years since a federal minimum wage increase. Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. have state minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. A few states, and some municipalities, have or are on track to have a $15.00 minimum wage in the next few years. The lower the wage a person is making, the more options they have and the more quickly they can find another job.

Wellness remains paramount this year and providing paid time off is a must. Look for gaps in your benefits package and how you can help employees with mental health and financial wellness, for example. While some firms may be able to offer more progressive employee benefits (Walmart and Target are covering tuition), see how you can augment what you already offer to your employees. Need a few ideas? Here’s a list of considerations:

  • PTO, sick days, holiday, and vacation days 
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Retirement savings plans with employer match
  • Financial education and planning assistance
  • Medical savings accounts such as HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs
  • Short and long-term disability insurance
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Childcare benefits
  • Gym memberships or discounts
  • Wellness programs
  • Recognition programs
  • Relocation assistance
  • Commuting/travel assistance
  • Telecommuting/remote work options
  • Recreation activities, free food, and coffee at work
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Paid time off to volunteer
  • Employee and client referral bonuses

Work-Life Balance

After this past nearly year and a half since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, employees continue to reflect on how they can best manage their work and personal lives. Employees have different needs at different stages of their lives and careers. Good employers must pay attention to workloads and monitor jobs that require the employee to be available for calls/emails/texts after normal hours.

Employees want flexibility with where and how they do their work. Those with children at home are especially attuned to flexible work options. While some jobs require employees to be physically present, consider what you can do to give each worker flexibility where possible.

Employees are also prioritizing mental health. Workers have been feeling burnout and employers can help to guard against that, as well as show empathy and support. Understand how the work environment is affecting employees. In addition to being important for mental health, work-life balance may also enhance creative thinking on the job.

Appreciation and Recognition 

Employees will feel more appreciated if their employer shows them that their efforts are noticed. Provide clear goals, good management feedback, and recognition for their achievements. Check-in frequently with your employees and assist them in understanding how their role fits into the company mission. They want to feel that what they do matters and that they are valued and compensated in an equitable manner.

employee is thrilled when manager congratulates her and shows his appreciation

Another way to show appreciation and recognition is with developmental opportunities. Nurture your employee and help them learn and grow. Coach and provide guidance to allow them to build their skills and use their abilities. Invest in your employees' professional success.

Inclusion is more than just a buzzword. Having a workplace culture where everyone feels valued and included should be a priority. Aim to create a positive and unified working environment where employees have a sense of belonging and feel comfortable contributing fully to the organization’s success.

What Else Can I Do?

  • Exit Interviews and Stay Interviews – Learn why employees leave but also why they stay – especially your key performers. Listen to their feedback, do what you can to make improvements, and keep doing what your key performers like.
  • Turnover Analysis – Drill down and look at employee turnover by department and manager. Determine where a problem exists and develop an action plan to address the issue. For instance, if employees are leaving in the first few months, the job probably did not match their expectations.  Are you giving a realistic job preview during the interview process? What can you do to enhance onboarding and mentoring for new hires?
  • Succession Planning – Review your key positions and then identify and develop employees who have the potential for those positions. Make a commitment to this planning and development process which can assist in retaining top performers and reduce time to fill open positions.
  • Management Training – Employees frequently resign because of their supervisor. What skills are you training and what behaviors are you requiring of your managers as well-respected leaders? Are they managing in a servant-leader way to keep employees' best interests at heart?

Employers can reduce turnover and strengthen retention with targeted strategies. It is advantageous to have a trusted partner with Human Resources expertise to tap into. Clients of FrankCrum have access to a team of professionals. Click here to learn how FrankCrum can help you!


Tonya Fletcher SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Tonya Fletcher SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Tonya is the Labor Compliance Manager at FrankCrum. In this role, she leads the FrankAdvice team of HR consultants and manages the delivery and content of best practice HR information to client owners and managers. When she’s not at work, Tonya enjoys international travel.

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