March 12, 2018

Why Your Attraction and Retention Rates Are Terrible (and How to Fix Them)


With many industries facing talent shortages and unemployment at record lows, it’s a candidate’s job market out there. Workers are job hopping for raises and promotions, and competing companies are glad to snatch talent up as soon as it enters the market. These factors, among others, drive high turnover rates in many organizations and verticals.

Even with a need to fill a wide range of vacant positions, many hiring managers and recruiters fail to provide basic information that might attract applicants. For example, employers regularly fail to provide salary estimates in their job posts even though such estimates are proven to grab the attention of job seekers.

“There are myriad reasons why employers are reluctant to provide pay information in a posting, [including] everything from fear of competition extrapolating their annual run rate or poaching candidates to not understanding fair market value for a particular position,” says Joe Wiggins, Glassdoor community expert. “However, we have found that the best approach to attract, hire, and retain employees is to be transparent and set expectations from the very beginning.”

According to Glassdoor, more job seekers apply to job posts that include salary data, yet less than one-tenth of online job posts include information about pay. Thirty-seven percent of hiring authorities believe retention rates would improve if new hires were better informed about salary during the hiring process.

“Employers can help align salary expectations even further by adding pay information in job descriptions and editing salary estimates to ensure the most accurate pay range,” Wiggins says.

The Elephant in the Room: Turnover

While salary data can attract more applicants to fill vacant roles, improved retention rates can cut down on the number of vacant roles a company has in the first place.

Research released by Glassdoor in early 2017 found that stronger company cultures are associated with lower levels of turnover. According to Wiggins, “improving a company’s Glassdoor rating by one star boosts the odds that an employee will stay inside the company for their next job by 4 percent.”

In addition to culture, employees want opportunities. If an employee outgrows their role and the company offers them no way to climb the ladder, the employee is likely to look for greener pastures.

The Glassdoor research mentioned previously found that for every 10 months an employee “stagnates” in  a given job, they are 1 percent more likely to leave the company for a new role.

“Other significant factors [contributing to turnover] can include lack of training opportunities, ineffective leadership, a toxic company culture, and lack of communication,” Wiggins says. “To combat these issues, employers can provide opportunities for mentorship and training. [They can also] increase communication with employees and enhance employee engagement and feedback to get a better understanding of underlying issues that impact high turnover rates. It is also a good idea to fully communicate the goals of an organization, and to self-evaluate to determine if action points around culture or leadership are warranted.”

LeadEmployees Won’t Leave If They Don’t Want To

Thirty-five percent of the hiring decision makers who responded to a 2018 Glassdoor survey say they expect an increase in turnover over the next 12 months. However, this doesn’t have to be the case for every organization. There are steps employers can take to improve retention rates in their offices.

“Although most employees change jobs and employers many times throughout a career, paying attention to the key drivers of employee turnover can help an organization retain key talent,” Wiggins says.

In particular, Wiggins urges companies to focus on the following key drivers:

1. Employee Engagement

Wiggins says: “Promoting a culture of connecting is imperative to retaining employees. While one of the often cited reasons employees stay or leave is because of their bosses, it’s also important to facilitate relationships between peers [and] between mentors and mentees, and to promote inclusion more generally.”

2. Employee Empowerment

Wiggins says: “Though often overlooked as an aspect of keeping employees engaged, empowering employees to make decisions, implement ideas, and voice opinions and concerns goes incredibly far in efforts to retain employees. When employees have a certain degree of autonomy, they feel pride of ownership while also feeling that their employer trusts their judgement and expertise.”

3. Competitive Compensation

Wiggins says: “Competitive compensation is often the deciding factor in your candidate accepting the job offer. This doesn’t just include salary, but also a comparable benefits package, vacation, life insurance, and other perks that your company may offer. There are multiple reasons employees join and leave a company, but money is still seen as a key driver.”

4. Employee Appreciation

Wiggins says: “Creating a recognition culture allows employers to properly praise their employees, and when it comes time for constructive feedback, employees will be more receptive.”

5. Clear Career Paths

Wiggins says: “Work with HR or hire an outside career coach to help your employees reach their career goals. Investing in an employee’s future will not only develop the workforce, but also increase pride within the organization.”

Read more in Retention

Jason McDowell holds a BS in English from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. By day, he works as a mild-mannered freelance writer and business journalist. By night, he spends time with his wife and dogs, writes novels and short stories, and tries in vain to catch up on all of those superhero television shows.