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Updated: Dec 25, 2022

The best way to lower employee turnover, is to stop focusing on employee turnover:

It's the number one question I hear from Chief HR Officers.... how can I reduce employee turnover? Yet the answer starts with reminding them that they're asking the wrong question. Because reduced turnover is an outcome, not a strategy. And in fact if all you're looking for is retention, then you're missing 2/3rds of the opportunity to truly leverage human capital.

I'm forever shocked when I hear even seasoned HR specialists still describing employees as strategic assets, which is only marginally better than seeing them as manageable costs. You need to start seeing employees as discretionary investors who wake up every morning either engaged by the brand they work for, going through the motions, or actively undermining the company's potential. It's basic Service Profit Chain stuff, meaning employees are either advocates, proverbial assassins, or shampooers (rinse and repeat). Which means employee engagement, breathing life into your internal brand cult, is the key to unlocking your company's true potential way beyond retention.

Consider the three most telling benefits of investing in an enhanced employee experience.

LOWER T.O.: Yes, here it is. Colleagues, team members, associates, and employees by any other name stay longer at companies that keep them tuned up and turned on. And this isn't a slow burn thing: 60% of employees who leave a job in their first 90 days decide on their first day. Which means from offer and onboarding and straight through their potential advocacy, engagement has to kick in early and often.

PERFORMANCE: This proven hierarchy of principals - People, Service, Profits – in that precise order, generally delivers the greatest ROI. Engaged PEOPLE tend to deliver better SERVICE, and a 10% bump in your service level in almost any industry drives exponential PROFITS.

CUSTOMER LOYALTY: Perhaps the most overlooked related data point I've ever come across is this: 65% of consumers say that the way a company treats its employees influences their shopping decisions. Full Stop.

Naturally, there's a lot more to engagement than the occasional attaboy or free water bottle. But the bottom line is this. If you want to focus on retention, then stop focusing on retention. Because the answer to low turnover is high engagement and remembering that every employee, at every level, is nothing short of an investor and it's their ROI you should be focused on.

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