Learning & Development

Retaining Top Talent: 3 Strategies to Prevent Employee Turnover After Promotions

As the end of the year approaches, many managers are eager to promote high-performing workers who have invested in their company and achieved great wins. Promotions have long been a way to celebrate successes and reward employees for a job well done, but recent data from ADP suggest a different reality. According to their September 2023 report, 29% of employees leave their job within one month of receiving a promotion. This data shows that promotions no longer guarantee higher retention rates of employees – but it doesn’t mean that anyone you promote is bound to leave. There are many steps that employers and managers can take to retain top talent while cultivating their growth.

Promotions are not a band-aid solution to employee frustrations, especially if they have been mounting over weeks or months. Here are three ways companies can make sure their newly-promoted workers don’t become a statistic, and make a measurable difference within the workplace.

1. Let people know they are valued from the beginning.

Employees are less likely to seek other employment opportunities when they work at a company where they feel valued and appreciated. As a direct manager, something as simple as a quick note or check-in can let your staff know you care. In addition, company-wide happy hours, thank you cards, wellness incentives and gift cards can increase employee satisfaction and productivity in the workplace. Some surveys find that employees who feel valued are more likely to report better physical and mental health and higher levels of engagement, satisfaction, and motivation. Especially after a few difficult and isolating pandemic years, creating a strong company culture where achievements are shared and celebrated is crucial to build a workplace where people want to stay and grow.

Aside from small gestures, take steps to make sure that employees have the opportunity to provide feedback – and most importantly, that feedback leads to meaningful change. Investing in relationships and developing an understanding of where employers are coming from every step of the way will increase retention and give leaders more visibility into how their workforce is really doing.

2. Practice pay equity and salary transparency.

Employers can also assuage any concerns over salary by ensuring their organization has fair and transparent salary practices. Pay transparency builds trust between employees and their employers. It signals that employers are willing to be open with their staff and promotes an equitable environment in compensation and beyond. Employers need to make sure that when employees are promoted and given a raise, their pay increase is in line with their increased responsibility.

Open communication about compensation can help increase retention rates and minimize toxic competitive work environments. In a recent study, 71% of workers who were provided no rationale behind raises and compensation packages reported that they plan on seeking new jobs outside of their company in the next six months. Even if not every employee leaves immediately, this dissatisfaction can lead to lower productivity and higher turnover rates over time. When it comes time for promotion, being transparent about compensation every step of the way also avoids any surprises that could push a newly-promoted person to leave the organization altogether.

3. Offer paths for career advancement.

In most places in life, the key to building trust is clear and honest communication. By setting aside conversations about employees’ performance and their short and long term goals, leaders can help support employees and manage their own expectations about what each individual’s career path will be. Does this employee want to grow at your company? If so, in what direction – and how can managers help cultivate their skills?

Companies can also incentivize this development by providing financial assistance or offering flexible working hours if their employees decide to further their education or enroll in professional development programs. Having conversations and encouraging education opportunities also help employees feel confident in their ability to lead and manage well as they move up in a company, which can reduce burnout and turnover after promotions.

Key Takeaways

People perform better when they feel respected and cared for in their positions. Especially in a tight job market, employees aren’t looking to leave a job where they are fulfilled and supported – but if their needs aren’t met, it only makes sense that eventually they would try to find success elsewhere.

No one wants to push high-potential employees out. But they may not realize the areas in which their employees are lacking support. Employees want to feel valued and have a sense of purpose when they walk through the door daily. While companies can’t stop people from leaving, there are many things companies can do to become a values-driven, inclusive, supportive and compassionate workplace. By applying some of these principles, leadership can better assist employees in their own success, which in return maximizes retention rates and creates a healthier work environment.

Maggie Patterson is the Vice President, Experience Practice Leader at Aquent. She has over two decades of staffing experience and is passionate about delivering best-in-class service to our valued clients and talent. She thrives on building and energizing dynamic teams that are motivated by opportunities to develop great solutions and partnerships.

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