Lack of Mobility: The hidden cause of employee turnover

Posted in Research Thoughts & Culture

If you know anything about us at Enboarder, you know we loooove to talk about employee retention

And we do it because it’s a big deal —

Current estimates show that it costs approximately 1.5-2x an employee’s annual salary to replace them, and, with 40% of employees still considering leaving their jobs, the Great Resignation is still in full swing.

But in all our talk about the importance of employee engagement, sending nudges, and generally making your processes easy to follow, there’s one hidden cause of employee turnover that’s often overlooked: lack of mobility.

No path for growth means a path out the door

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In support of the need for a solid mobility program, the latest report from our friends at Lever, found that:

  • Workers are so highly invested in moving into a new role in 2022, that 31% of them said they’d take a pay cut to switch jobs, and
  • 61% of respondents said they’d begin searching for new jobs at new companies if their managers (and businesses at large) didn’t put a plan in place to help them eventually switch roles.

It’s not all bad news though —

Lever found that roughly two-thirds of employees surveyed said that leaders at their companies proactively encourage them to transition to new roles, and about 70% of these respondents’ C-suites and team managers even provide upskilling and reskilling to their staff to help move people into new roles effectively.

Problem solved? Not quite

While having a robust employee mobility plan in place is vital, making sure your new leaders are supported after their transition is even more important.

According to CEB, a full 60% of new managers fail within the first 24 months, and, when a new manager fails, you risk them taking their team down with them.

Gallup found that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units, and 1 in 2 employees have even left their job to get away from a poor manager.

So how do we ensure our mobility program is geared for success?

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As always, making sure your new manager training material is engaging (...not just a checklist), and providing helpful nudges with useful, manageable information at the right time is very important. But there’s something even more important to the success of your new managers: human connection.

In addition to all of the added work and responsibilities, new managers are often struggling to find their way around new relationships, as their relationships with their former peer group are changing, and they haven’t yet solidified a relationship with their new peers.

This is a very sensitive and trying time for new managers, and it can make them feel helplessly alone.

This is exactly when we need to swing in to help.

Help your new manager get connected

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Thankfully, your existing leaders have all experienced what your new manager is going through right now — Unfortunately, if left to themselves, the day-to-day can often keep them too busy to notice the new managers who need help.

For this reason, we need to make every attempt to encourage members of your management or leadership team to reach out and welcome your new manager and invite them to lunches and/or other events — The exposure to, and wisdom from, those who have gone before will help guide your new manager and help him or her get through the rough patches that come with the new role.

Also, to help ensure that these meetups aren’t just a one-time thing, set up a repeating mentor program, and send nudge reminders to make sure your mentors and mentees aren’t getting too buried in work to make time for those pivotal moments of connection.

Making sure employees can move within your company helps ensure they don’t move out

Yes, employee mobility is critical to ensuring happy employees, but changing jobs is just the first step of employee mobility.

We need to be sure that our mobility programs are built with strong post-change support to ensure our employees feel comfortable and satisfied with, and prepared for, their new positions, or we might cause the type of mobility we’re trying to avoid.