Human Resources

Take the Company’s Pulse—More Measures to Prevent Job Hopping

By Rajeev Behera

In yesterday’s Advisor, guest columnist Rajeev Behera explained that job hopping is no longer taboo (but it’s still expensive) and provided a few tips to prevent it among employees. Today, Behera provides three more measures for employers to take in order to engage their workforces and keep them from jumping ship.

3. Give Continuous Feedback

What good is critique if you needed it 6 months ago? The annual performance review is broken because it sets up employees and their companies for failure. It’s littered with cognitive shortcomings like the recency bias, our tendency to weigh recent events more heavily than long-term patterns. Annual performance reviews are an archaic practice that dooms employees to skewed feedback and lost opportunities.

Thus, some of the world’s largest companies, including Accenture, General Electric, Adobe®, and IBM, have already replaced annual performance reviews with continuous feedback. “Continuous” means that employees receive feedback weekly or even daily, as opportunities arise. Feedback is not cheerleading—it should include a mix of critique and encouragement.

4. Teach Managers to Be Coaches, Not Captains

Managers can’t play captain anymore—that ship sailed (no pun intended) with the industrial era. In work environments that value creativity and innovation, command-style leadership doesn’t work. Authoritarian work environments are where engagement goes to die.

The difference between a captain and a coach is intention. Whereas the captain barks orders without much regard for how their executed, the coach cares about the means and ends. He or she wants team members to continuously improve and hit more aggressive goals. Rather than snapping orders, the manager advises his or her employees on how to pursue their objectives in the most effective way. Coaches do not babysit—they demand hard work and results.

5. Survey Engagement

There is no single way to measure engagement. You could define engagement on a companywide survey and ask, “On a scale from 1 to 10, how engaged do you feel at work?” You could ask related questions like, “How likely are you to recommend our company to prospective employees?” Whatever you choose to do, keep the survey short so that employees actually participate.

If you take the company pulse once a month (or more often), you’ll identify systematic problems. Are all your engineers disengaged? Why? Do certain managers engage or disengage employers more than others? Again, why? Surveying helps you replicate the habits of successful managers and retrain or eliminate managers who cause turnover.

When employees value their work, understand expectations, and feel motivated to achieve clear goals, they stay on board. They anticipate their accomplishments and want to see the company achieve its vision. Ideally, they communicate daily with their managers and receive continuous feedback. The system won’t be perfect. Calibrate it based on engagement surveys and hard data on turnover and retention.

Job hopping is a symptom of disengagement, not a foregone consequence of hiring Millennials. Keep employees by creating a culture of engagement.