Avoid Post-Holiday Turnover: 5 Steps You and Your Leaders Need to Take Now

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By Clark Barber

November 30,2022
6 min read

Employees are exhausted. In a recent Gartner survey1, 93% of HR leaders said they’re more concerned about employee burnout today and on average, employees work 9 hours of unpaid overtime a week. 

Couple this exhaustion with the holidays, a career-risk trigger point when employees, and even with macro uncertainty and cooling job market, you’re more likely to see high potential talent leave an organization. 

Having time to self-reflect can often cause people to reevaluate their employment situation and question whether they have a future with their current company — especially if they’re hearing stories of promotions, bonuses and extended vacations from others. The new year provides an opportunity to start over. 

Here are the 5 Times a Year When Your Team is Most at Risk for Leaving.  However, the good news is there’s still time as a leader to be proactive before the end of the year. 

5 Steps to Take Now

Assuming your critical talent is comfortable is not a strategy. Be proactive and ensure your team members feel valued well before the holiday festivities begin. 

1. Have a Career Conversation

Right now, career conversations are happening with members of your team even if you’re not having those conversations. Recruiters are having them behind your back, so it’s more about making sure you’re part of the conversation that’s already happening. Here’s a great podcast that touches on this:  Three Steps to Career Conversations – Coaching for Leaders that could help you have that first conversation

2. Enroll Current and Future Leaders in Development Opportunities

An actionable step following a career conversation could be aligning members of your team with the right development opportunities. Ninety-four percent of employees say they would stay longer at a company if they were offered opportunities to learn and grow2.

When considering the right-fit opportunities, think about how you can champion the person versus simply providing access to upskilling opportunities. Recognizing organizations are starting to tighten their belts given macro uncertainty, have you thought about making non-working tuition assistance dollars work in your favor? 

Most companies only view tuition reimbursement as a benefit versus a strategic development opportunity, and during a recession, when there are tax benefits for organizations offering tuition reimbursement, it’s a great tool to recession-proof your development3 Enrolling in an accredited certificate program could provide employees access to student communities, wellbeing opportunities, and mentorship programs that complement what a company offers employees.  

3. Connect Folks with Mentors Both Inside and Outside the Organization

Most managers connect constant coaching with doing a good job. In reality, this “always on” management style tends to degrade employee performance by 8%4. Connector managers triple the likelihood their direct reports are high performance 

You could kill multiple birds with one stone by helping members of your team apply tuition reimbursement by enrolling into development programs that also offer mentorship opportunities  scholar's program5.

A mentor can help frontline managers and individual contributors discover purpose in their work. According to McKinsey & Company, almost half of frontline workers don't feel they are living their purpose at work, and another 36% are unsure. Compare that to the 85% of executives that say they are living out their purpose daily.6

4. Recognize Strong Work Before End of Year

Many companies wait until the end of the year to recognize outstanding work and commend their people for a job well done.7

Typically, especially if employees are working remotely, we critique employees more than we recognize employees. Take a minute to recognize something positive you observed today. 

5. Promote Your Commitment to Radical Flexibility

A 2022 McKinsey survey found that 40% of US employees are at risk of attrition in the next 3-6 months.8And the average employee is working more than nine extra, unpaid, hours of overtime per week. Despite increasing employee burnout, 77% of HR leaders believe that high performing employees work longer hours than average employees.9

In other words, just under half of your team could be considering a job change. The 2020 shift to remote and hybrid work sparked a movement for increased workplace flexibility, but workplace flexibility means different things to different people. You likely need to discuss with each team member what their expectation is for flexibility and how you might be able to help them achieve that. 

Have that conversation today.


About Clark Barber

Vice President, DeVryWorks

As organizations accelerate digitalization efforts, employees across every function and level must evolve. Clark Barber works alongside his team to help organizations align the right talent with relevant learning pathways to reskill for the future of work. He partners closely with admissions, student services, and academics to ensure the employee experience and learning pathways meet client expectations.

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