High Turnover in 2020 Attributed to ‘Not Being Heard’

As if HR professionals and recruiters didn’t have enough to worry about this year, new survey findings show that roughly 64% of workers plan on leaving their current positions in 2020 and cite a “lack of being heard” as the main reason.


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On the flip side, only one-third of employees surveyed (33%) plan to stay at their jobs this year, compared with 47% who said the same in 2019. That’s according to a new report conducted by Achievers, an employee voice and recognition platform. The third annual Employee Engagement & Retention Report reveals that in 2020, up to two-thirds of respondents could be headed for the door.

The likely culprit? Disengagement. In fact, just 19% of respondents consider themselves “very engaged,” while 14% are “fully disengaged.” Even the 32% surveyed with “average engagement” are open to new job opportunities.

“Our data shows a substantial portion of today’s workforce already has one foot out the door,” says Achievers’ Chief Workforce Scientist, Natalie Baumgartner, PhD, in a press release. “This is a huge shift from what we found last year: that despite disengagement, 65% of employees were planning on staying at their jobs.”

Disengagement continues to be a major issue for employers across the nation, so what can they do to curb this problem? “Employers must take immediate action to reverse these feelings of underappreciation and disengagement,” suggests Baumgartner. “If they don’t, the risk of turnover and underperformance in 2020 is immense.”

Additional findings from this report reveal other ways to better engage disinterested workers.

Leadership Falls Flat on Culture-Building

According to the report, the perception of leadership’s commitment to culture and employee experience has declined, with only 23% of respondents stating senior leaders are “very committed” or have “more than average” commitment, compared with 31% who said the same in 2019.

Additionally, one-third of respondents (33%) believe leadership is “minimally committed” to culture and employee experience. This raises serious concerns, as it’s up by 7% from 2019. Furthermore, 12% of respondents believe leadership in their workplace is “not at all committed” to culture and employee experience.

If you want to reduce turnover in your organization, your leadership MUST be willing to go all in on the employee experience. “Leadership must play a larger role in culture building,” finds the report. “They must communicate with workers transparently and frequently. They must demonstrate a commitment to culture by reinforcing company values and mission and recognizing those who activate it across the organization.”

No Rewards and Recognition? No Longer Your Employee

Achievers found that “lack of recognition” (19%) is a top reason respondents are looking for or considering leaving their jobs. However, this option ranked third in “top reasons” employees would consider leaving. The top two choices were compensation (52%) and career growth (43%), respectively.

According to the report, 82% of respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” agreed they wish they received more recognition at work, and another 30% of employees feel “not very” or “not at all” valued by superiors. When asked how their company or manager is at recognizing them, the top response given by respondents was just “OK” (40%), and nearly one in every five employees said their company or manager was “horrible” at recognizing them.

A lack of recognition is disheartening for employees who have worked hard to achieve results, and when a manager or supervisor doesn’t acknowledge these efforts, it does little to improve the company culture and employee experience.

“When organizations recognize everyday behaviors that align with their culture and goals, they help reinforce them as well as the role each employee plays,” finds the report. “However, a recognition-rich environment cannot be achieved in a vacuum. Everyone must be empowered and accountable for recognizing others within the organization.”

Listen Up!

The most surprising fact from this report is that 90% of workers say they are more likely to stay at a company that takes and acts on feedback, but when asked how good their company was at soliciting feedback, 15% said “horrible,” and 43% chose the second-lowest grade—just “OK.”

When it came to acting on feedback, nearly one in four (23%) said their employers were “horrible,” and 44% said just “OK.” Of those who said their employer is “horrible” at acting on feedback, nearly half surveyed (44%) plan to look for a new job, compared with the 28% of those who called their company “awesome.”

Achievers suggests collecting engagement data from a series of employee surveys and polls as a way to gather and maintain employee feedback. “Engagement data must be collected regularly and acted upon quickly. It cannot be held up within HR or leadership for lengthy analysis and planning,” suggests the report. “Companies must make sure managers are equipped to use the feedback to address the unique needs of their staff in a very personalized and timely way.”

“These actions, which can range from small acknowledgments to larger changes, will drive continuous improvement to the employee experience and, as a result, retention and engagement,” concludes the report.

Survey Methodology

Achievers conducted the online survey in October 2019. The sample size included 1,154 responses from across North America. Males represented 47%, and females represented 53%. Thirteen percent were Generation Z, 46% were Millennials, 21% were Generation X, and 20% were Baby Boomers. The most popular company size was fewer than 50 employees, representing 29% of respondents, followed by 50–249 employees, representing 21%.

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