Turnover, churn, low retention, employee attrition. There are a lot of ways to describe this organizational change problem because it afflicts businesses of every size and across industries. And it is no secret there is a high cost to high turnover. Employee retention research indicates that:
- The total cost of losing an employee can be anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5 to 2 times their annual salary.
- It may take a new hire 1-2 years to reach the productivity of an existing employee.
- Depending on the industry, turnover rates are as high as 40% annually
Beyond these quantitative losses, there are other implications of high turnover that companies experience and rarely measure – like the cost of fractured institutional knowledge or the impact on employee morale. But if the harms of this issue are well known, why is a 40% annual turnover rate accepted as simply the cost of doing business?
One reason high turnover is difficult to address is that it has multiple contributing and complicating factors. However, digital adoption – the process of reaching a level of proficiency in a given enterprise software application or system to effectively utilize it – plays a key role. Consider these interrelated causes and consequences:
High turnover positions are sometimes unavoidable
When looking at the average annual turnover rate, it is important to first take into account the fact that some positions are not meant to last. And some departments inherently see more workforce changes than others.
These may be entry-level positions, high-stress roles, or other situations that naturally lead to higher turnover. Think about call center or data entry positions. Organizations may also have purposely short-lived roles. Think about seasonal or project-based hiring that results in temporary or contract employees. With these types of positions, organizations are constantly getting new employees up to speed on the multiple enterprise software systems that are central to their job responsibilities. Without devoting the right resources to this onboarding effort, this can lead to a slow learning curve and delayed employee productivity.
The slow return on the investment in training for these short-term positions (or the loss, if employees never reach proficiency in their role before leaving the organization) doesn’t have to be the way of things. In these scenarios, a digital adoption platform can help end users reach productivity sooner at less cost.
Digital adoption platform accomplish this by providing:
- Step by step guidance in the enterprise software processes end users need to execute, available in the application workflow
- Role-based, self-service training and support that cuts onboarding costs
- Faster time to proficiency, which helps make this sector of the workforce, however transitory, more productive overall
Ineffective employee onboarding exacerbates high turnover
While some positions will always have high turnover, the majority of job positions are staffed with the intention of keeping the newly-hired employee for the long haul. But it’s well known that when a new hire has an ineffective onboarding experience it negatively impacts their productivity and, therefore, their engagement (as in, their desire to stay with the organization).
Employees want to do well in their jobs and feel they are connected to and meaningfully participating in their organization. Sink-or-swim approaches to onboarding fail to meet these needs – a failure that contributes to employee churn and exacerbates the cost of turnover.
Though other approaches to onboarding may be more formalized than “sink-or-swim,” that doesn’t mean they are effective. These programs have a lot of moving parts:
- Multiple stakeholders like trainers, managers, IT staff, and veteran colleagues
- Varied training content and formats, like company handbooks, process manuals, eLearning platforms, and instructor-led training
- And different objectives and ways to measure competency for each onboarding process and job function
So when these pieces aren’t well-coordinated and onboarding programs are bogged down with inefficiencies, they let down new hires. Their productivity and sense of proficiency are stymied by issues like training that isn’t standardized or up-to-date, or programs that aren’t able to adapt to individual learning needs. And prolonging time-to-productivity isn’t just bad for new hire ROI. It also hurts their level of engagement in the organization. New hires need to not just bring value faster, they also need to find value through their contributions faster.
Here, a digital adoption platform can help strengthen and optimize onboarding programs. A digital adoption platform will help employees quickly adopt their critical enterprise software with on-the-job learning, so the rest of their training can focus on high-level concepts like organizational processes and company vision. An ideal onboarding program uses a blended learning model, of which a digital adoption platform is the foundation:
- Training events can introduce the context and value of new concepts and skills.
- Web-based courses can offer spaced learning opportunities with scaffolded skills and concept repetition.
- Digital adoption platforms offer guided practical application and point-of-need business process support.
Together these training strategies help employees bring – and find – value in their position faster.
Low job satisfaction leads to high turnover
When star employees aren’t satisfied with their jobs, they have half a dozen industry job boards a click away and recruiters already messaging them on LinkedIn. But what drives job satisfaction and how are enterprises missing the mark?
“Satisfaction” means different things to different employees. However, recent surveys have enumerated several drivers and found the potential for future career growth as the top contender. Here is a look at some of those drivers of job satisfaction and how they build upon each other.
- The tools and support to do their job well, fostering confidence in their performance.
- This leads to recognition from peers and managers, and a sense of job security based on performance excellence.
- This in turn lays the groundwork for career growth and opportunities.
Traditionally, career growth in an organization has meant moving up the ladder. But there are other ways to think about career advancement. It can take many shapes:
- Support and resources for upskilling and professional development
- Leadership roles as subject matter experts – internally and within their industry
- Stakeholder positions in innovation and organizational change initiatives
But first things first. Before employees can upskill and organizations can explore these deeper opportunities for career growth, they need to build the foundation of job satisfaction with the right tools and support for employees in their current position. Annual company picnics alone will not turn the tide of high turnover.
Again, a digital adoption platform can offer a solution. The path to job satisfaction can be accelerated by equipping employees to do their job well, faster. The resulting performance excellence can then open up other opportunities within their organization. Furthermore, digital adoption platforms like OnScreen leverage subject matter experts as trusted contributors to the platform. For employees who join the digital adoption platform subject matter expert community, there are even more pathways for career growth that recognize and cultivate their expertise.
OnScreen is the agile digital adoption platform for SAP and web-based enterprise applications that boosts process efficiency and employee productivity by empowering any user to become a super user. Contact OnScreen to schedule a demonstration and see how supporting digital adoption can help with your high turnover headaches.