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December 20, 2022

Combat Turnover & Burnout: Improving Employee Retention & Productivity

Creating a workplace full of happy, engaged, productive employees is always the goal. Achieving this means the organization is less likely to deal with damaging turnover, missed deadlines, and low employee morale.


This unique point in time makes reducing turnover and increasing employee productivity more vital than ever. The labor shortage, rising costs, and economic uncertainty have many companies, and employees, wondering what to do next.


Productivity Is a Problem


In the 2022 Achievers Workforce Institute HR Preparedness Report, only 25% of respondents said they were their most productive at work. If only a fraction of your team performs at optimum capacity, what is that doing to your projects and objectives?


Turnover Is an Even Bigger Issue


Losing employees is detrimental to all facets of the company. The knowledge and expertise a seasoned employee offers are irreplaceable. Plus, it’s costly to fill the role with someone new. Gallup reported the cost of replacing an employee can cost up to 2 times the employee's annual salary. Finding ways to keep high performers is well worth the effort. 


Ways Employers Can Improve Productivity and Employee Retention


It’s interesting to note that employee productivity and retention are closely related, and most situations that affect one impact the other. For example, an overwhelming workload may first burn out an employee and then, as time passes, push them to leave. So, solve one issue, and you also address the other one.


What can organizations do to stay fully staffed with productive, engaged team members? Here are 10 tips for increasing your employees’ productivity and decreasing company turnover.


  • Forge a positive company culture. Research conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review showed that toxic work culture was the top reason employees leave. The HR team, managers, and coworkers should recognize the importance of creating a positive, efficient, accepting, and cooperating company culture. Immediately address negative talk and attitudes that sneak in.
  • Make employee health a priority. If a team member isn’t physically or mentally strong, how can they function at 100% on the job? Companies that create wellness programs, add addiction coverage to their health plans and make accommodations for less-than-healthy employees create a more productive workforce. Plus, everyone will appreciate the support (which builds loyalty and decreases turnover).
  • Encourage time off. Wringing every tiny bit of work out of someone is old school, and ineffective. Provide generous paid time off (PTO) and make sure every employee knows they’re expected to take it. In addition, management should respect holidays and weekends, which allow team members to relax and recharge.
  • Acknowledge and respect boundaries. If an employee is off, the company should only contact them in the most extreme emergency. Respect their time with their family, and the employee will return to work more engaged, productive, and loyal to the company.
  • Check-in consistently. It’s easy for weeks to turn into months without having one-on-one conversations with employees. Make a point to stop that from happening. Open communication is essential for catching issues early. If an employee is burnt out, overwhelmed, or just not engaged, a single talk may be the difference between solving the issue and losing the team member.
  • Embrace flexibility. A results-driven workplace creates a results-driven workforce. If they’re performing well, it shouldn’t matter if Ann comes in late or Will takes off early every Wednesday. Increasing employee flexibility requires trust, but it’s rewarding for the company and the employee.
  • Use technology to work smarter. Do more with less. Employers should identify repetitive tasks that eat up time and find ways to automate them. In addition, technology is essential for staying organized and for facilitating communication. Increasing productivity is much easier and more successful with intuitive applications and software systems.
  • Recognize, thank, and appreciate. Employees want to feel valued like their efforts make a difference. Managers should verbally recognize a good job and find ways to show appreciation to their staff. Team members who feel validated work hard and rarely leave.
  • Avoid scope creep. Piling things on a team member’s plate until they break is not a good management approach. This habit frustrates and burns out even high-performing employees. Leaders should manage workloads proactively and avoid the temptation of adding “one more thing” to an employee’s schedule.
  • Lead by example. HR and a company’s management team should subscribe to the work/life/time off balance, too. Being overworked, stressed, and on email 24/7 isn’t a badge of honor. Taking time off and enjoying weekends and holidays should be the norm all the way up the chain.

The most successful way employers can battle low productivity and high turnover is by proactively stopping them. By building a positive company culture, taking advantage of flexibility and technology, being appreciative, and leading by example, your company can keep its staff motivated and engaged. Happy, appreciated employees are more loyal and less inclined to look elsewhere for employment.


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