In today's competitive employment market, companies are having to reassess their approaches to employee retention to ensure their top performers remain satisfied in their current roles. A surplus of job openings may be valuable to applicants looking for a career change, but "job hopping" can have a serious impact on an organization's bottom line. According to Employee Benefit News, it costs around 33% of an employee's salary to hire a replacement, without factoring in dropped productivity, knowledge loss or missed business opportunities. What's more, a 2017 report from Work Institute concluded that 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable, suggesting there is significant room for improvement within modern workplace structures.
Why employees job hop
In exit interviews compiled by Work Institute, respondents identified five key reasons for leaving their most recent positions, including desire for career development (22%), poor work-life balance (12%), managers' negative behaviors (11%), inadequate compensation and benefits (9%) and general issues of personal well-being (9%). These findings indicate that many workers seek out new employment opportunities when they are unsatisfied with workplace culture, though career progression still plays a major role in employee retention.
Job hopping has grown increasingly common over the past few years, with more than 1 in 4 employees choosing to voluntarily leave their positions in 2017, per data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While every worker has their own reasons for moving onto a new role, Glassdoor points to two core factors that have impacted the rising quit rate: ability and willingness. As more lucrative job openings become available, employees are less likely to remain in their current positions.
The ability to make a lateral or upward move provides workers with new opportunities to obtain a higher salary and progress their careers. Additionally, decreased satisfaction and engagement can create a sense of urgency that drives employees to search for job openings with other organizations. This is especially true for top performers who are highly motivated and productive, as their knowledge and work experience are seen as valuable assets by hiring managers.
How employers can reduce job hopping
First, it's important to note that high turnover can be partially mitigated by hiring candidates who fit into existing workplace culture. While many employers are tempted to onboard qualified applicants as quickly as possible, it's essential to assess their specific soft skills and career goals before offering them a position. This proactive approach can prevent workers from leaving in the first few years after hiring due to conflicting personalities or a lack of advancement opportunities. Moving beyond the hiring process, a 2018 Employee Retention Report released by TINYpulse detailed five main areas that employers should focus on to retain their labor force, including:
- Building sustainable manager-employee relationships: TINYpulse's study found workers who rate their managers' performance negatively are four times more likely to seek out a new position.
- Offering employee recognition: Workers who feel under-appreciated are less likely to remain with an organization in the long term. In fact, close to 22% of employees who did not feel recognized had interviewed for a new job within three months of TINYpulse's study.
- Maintaining work-life balance: Burnout plays a major role in employee retention, which is why employees with a good work-life balance are 10% more likely to remain in their current roles.
- Fostering positive workplace cultures: Modern employees want to build meaningful and productive relationships at work, as those who rated their organizations' internal culture poorly are 24% more likely to search for a new position.
- Providing career growth opportunities: Professional development is a key concern for many of today's most talented workers, as employees who feel they are advancing in their careers are 20% more likely to continue working for their current companies.
While reducing the high frequency of job hopping is not an easy task, employers can make a significant impact by focusing on their workers' specific needs and making informed changes to their hiring methodologies, workplace culture and management practices.