What’s Up in the Workplace 05: Voluntary Turnover and How You Can Fight It

What’s Up in the Workplace 05: Voluntary Turnover and How You Can Fight It

With the unemployment rate hovering at around 4% nationally, skilled employees are in high demand. Ultimately, that leads to a spike in voluntary turnover as employees leave their jobs for bumps in pay or benefits elsewhere. In this episode of What’s Up in the Workplace, Lacey Partipilo and Brandon Laws discuss why it’s important to think like a marketer and promote your standout benefits and perks to your current and potential future employees so they stay engaged.


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Run Time: 11:03

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Brandon Laws: Hey, this is Brandon Laws and this is another episode of What’s Up in the Workplace with Lacey Partipilo. Before we get to the discussion with Lacey, a couple of things I wanted to mention about today’s podcast.

So Lacey and I talk about voluntary turnover, why it may be happening more than ever right now, what employers can do to possibly mitigate some of the voluntary turnover that’s happening in your organization and we talk about perks and benefits and other things employers can do to basically attract and retain employees that may be looking at other employers versus staying with your organization.

The other thing I wanted to mention before we get to the episode with Lacey is that we actually recorded this one on video (see below).

Let us know. Tweet at us or email me, LinkedIn, message me, whatever you want to do, to let me know what you think of the video portion. Do you want more of it? What do you think of it?

The last thing before we get to the discussion is in the episode towards the end I mention the Beyond Compensation: Total Rewards Survey. That’s still open until July 25th. So go ahead and sign up. It’s free and there’s an opportunity to of course get a buy-up option of that report to get really customized data about your benefits versus other organizations similar in nature to you.

So I will step out of the way. Enjoy the discussion. It’s a short one with Lacey but it’s a great one nonetheless.

Watch Episode 05 of What’s Up in the Workplace


Brandon: Hey Lacey. It’s good to have you back on the podcast.

Lacey: Great to be here.

Brandon: Yeah. So this is What’s Up in the Workplace. There is a humongous issue going on right now. We’ve seen with our clients. We’ve heard about it. It’s a hot issue right now – voluntary turnover.

Lacey: Yeah.

Brandon: So for employers right now, what do you want to tell them? I know unemployment is really low, all-time low not only in Oregon but …

Lacey: Really everywhere.

Brandon: I would say it’s everywhere.

Lacey: Yeah.

Brandon: The labor market is just completely tight right now.

Lacey: Yeah. We talk about like the temperature. Somebody turned the thermometer up, it seems, in the last six months. So I guess what I would say is if you’re not paying attention to it, if you’re not being mindful of it, you definitely should be because your employees are being courted by other companies if they’re not looking on their own and they’re probably out there looking because the market is hot. There are jobs available.

Brandon: So for – when you have such a low unemployment number, it’s like four percent-ish.

Lacey: In Oregon, yeah.

Brandon: Nationally as well, right? It’s under four nationally according to the last data that came out. So for employers who are looking for talent, that often means that either A, you have to look at the existing labor pool of people who are unemployed, which sometimes can mean slim pickings or bottom of the barrel.

Lacey: True.

Brandon: Not necessarily – that’s a broad stroke there. But it also could mean they have to somehow take from an existing labor pool of people who aren’t unemployed.

Lacey: The passive job seekers. That’s what we call that. So those people that aren’t necessarily out there looking, kind of keeping their eyes open. They haven’t been soliciting their resume out to companies. But they would entertain a conversation about a new job.

Brandon: So for employers who are not only at risk of getting those people pulled from their organization, what should they be doing to fight voluntary turnover? Because it’s inevitable.

Lacey: It is, it is and sometimes it’s healthy. So I think when you have turnover, it can bring fresh ideas into an organization. It can deal with some performance issues for organizations that maybe haven’t been addressed proactively.

But I would encourage employers to be having conversations with their people. So that starts with supervisors. So regular one-on-ones where managers can be engaging with supervisors about what’s going on, what’s going well. Some companies do structured stay interviews too.

Brandon: That’s a good idea.

Lacey: So that could be something that you look at as an organization. Really being mindful of why employees might leave. Who’s your competition? Are they hiring for positions? And just being on top of it. I think proactively acknowledging that it’s going to happen. What can we do to keep our top performers? I think that’s another proactive thing we can do.

Brandon: Yeah. Employers, there’s a lot of things they could do to keep their employees, right? And the talent that they want is – we’ve talked about it over and over again. Being really purposeful and what your business does and talking about the core values and what you’re doing for the community and for your clients and all that. That’s one thing and then there’s this whole other side, which is compensation, benefits and perks.

You actually found – I have this right here – you found an article on MarketWatch.com and it’s entitled “Employees to Companies: ‘Take My Dirty Laundry, Please.’” This article is all about how companies are offering really unique perks that employees may want. So I think the theme in this – and you can add on to this – but I think the theme in this one is if you’re getting offered a salary that’s the same or similar to what you’re getting paid now in your current employer, but employer B over here who you may go work for, they’re offering unique perks and benefits that are just a little bit better. Is it worth jumping employers and taking a risk?

Lacey: Sometimes it is, yeah. And they say, you know, millennials are only going to stay in a job for one to two years. And after two years, they’re already starting to look. So we have to be on top of this and some of the perks that this article talks about are things that I hadn’t even thought of, like laundry service for employees. But I think that you’ve got to really figure out what’s your value proposition. What is unique about you? What would your people like? I don’t really want dry cleaning services here.

But if there were other things that the company could offer like snacks that our company paid for, available here when you’re – it’s difficult to leave for lunch, to have things that are readily available. So that it’s not three o’clock and I’m burning out. Stuff like that. So it has got to fit your workplace because the cost of turnover is really expensive and the article gives some interesting statistics here. They said that last year, US employers spent $536 billion in turnover.

Brandon: Unbelievable.

Lacey: That’s a lot of money wasted, right?

Brandon: Yeah.

Lacey: So if we can reduce some of that by retaining that top talent and keeping them engaged, I think that’s what we want to be focused on.

Brandon: There’s another stat that I thought was interesting. They’re actually citing SHRM’s survey and it basically said that 34 percent of the organizations that were in – just part of the survey, they reported an increase in the benefits that they’re offering.

So these employers are probably on the leading edge. They’re like, “We’re going to fight this voluntary turnover thing. We’re going to offer a little bit more benefits to fight off people leaving for basically the same salary but more benefits elsewhere.”

So these 34 percent of organizations are like, “We’re going to get ahead of this thing,” and they’re going to offer really unique benefits, not just like the traditional group in medical and maybe they make a richer program. But the laundry service. What are some other ones that you’ve heard of that are really –?

Lacey: Well, the food one is an example. You know, some of my clients have organizations that are in large buildings. So there’s like a gym available. So I’ve seen that. Paid parental leave is something that is coming to be more popular. I’ve got a small client that has got like 10 employees. They’re offering paid parental leave too and employees going on maternity leave.

So I think it has got to fit your organization and there’s a lot of buzz around all of the perks and we’re doing that total rewards survey. So I think we’re going to get a lot of really cool ideas from our clients about what they’re doing for their folks. But it does – the fundamental stuff like health insurance, having a good 401(k), being able to provide flexibility to employees and their schedules, all that stuff is just as important as kind of the fun things that we hear about.

Brandon: Well, it’s like – I think it’s – if you’re getting your basic needs met through compensation, a retirement plan, group health benefits, then if everybody is offering that same base line and you’re getting what you need, then it’s about, “OK. Is my company mission-driven?”

Lacey: Right.

Brandon: Are they offering cool, little unique perks that I wouldn’t get elsewhere? Those are the things you have to start thinking of. What’s interesting that you mentioned about the Total Rewards Survey we’re doing is that I think for an employer, it’s super hard to get access to benchmark data from a benefits standpoint.

Lacey: It’s so hard.

Brandon: Comp data is not too hard to get. I think there are several large salary market data companies out there that are always surveying. But for benefits, it’s so nuanced.

Lacey: It is.

Brandon: So we’re doing this survey called “Beyond Compensation: Total Rewards Survey” and we’re basically asking employers, “What are you offering from a medical and dental standpoint? How many holiday days are you offering? PTO?” and the list goes on and hopefully that gives us sort of a secondary look at what employers are offering.

Lacey: Yeah.

Brandon: And start to get a – kind of a baseline for what is pretty common.

Lacey: I am looking forward to the data because my clients are always asking me, “What are other companies my size doing? What are other companies in Portland doing?” So I know what I have seen. But to be able to hear it from our larger group of clients, what they’re doing, I think it’s going to be cool, because that data isn’t out there and readily available like you talked about and businesses really want to know about that because it’s not just about base salaries anymore.

Brandon: So I think we talked about the proactive side of voluntary turnover and what you can do to either track people or retain them. But as I said earlier – and you know this with clients and just being so experienced. It’s going to happen and you’re going to have voluntary turnover especially in times like this. It’s probably at a heightened level and it’s going to feel weird. It’s going to feel uncomfortable for all the employees that are there. They’re going to be like, “Are things just falling apart? What’s going on?” I think it’s just – it’s happening to everybody. What’s the message to send the employees? If you’re an employer or HR manager, what are you telling people?

Lacey: I think be real about it. Acknowledge that it’s happening. We don’t want to have our head in the sand. So when you’ve got employees that are still with you, they have picked up the slack. They’re working really hard. You know, finding ways to recognize and reward those folks I think is important.

You know, doing exit interviews with the people that are leaving to find out if there are really nuanced things that need to be addressed and addressing those. Communicating with employees about what the plan is and don’t overpromise things that you can’t deliver.

So if there isn’t going to be a plan to replace a position, don’t talk about that. Let’s talk about how the work is going to get spread out and how we’re going to cover it.

Brandon: Awesome. Good stuff, Lacey. So the “Beyond Compensation Survey” that we’re offering, go to our website.

Lacey: Yeah.

Brandon: Listeners and people watching this video, they can go to XeniumHR.com/beyond-compensation and they can sign up for that survey. It’s completely free to do.

Lacey: Yeah. Great.

Brandon: So thanks for the discussion today. It was a lot of fun.

Lacey: Yeah, thanks.


Brandon Laws

As Director of Marketing, Brandon Laws leads all marketing efforts for Xenium, providing oversight on all marketing campaigns, digital marketing strategy, events, sponsorships and public relations. Brandon brings a positive energy to every aspect of his role at Xenium—from internal initiatives around culture and wellness to industry thought leadership through the Xenium podcast and other social efforts. Active within the HR community, he currently volunteers on the board of the Portland Human Resource Management Association as the Director of Marketing & PR.

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