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From crisis to control: A deep dive into employee retention amidst worker shortages

By Melissa Jezior

One of the most vexing problems facing employers is attracting and keeping employees. A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce noted that employers of every size and industry across nearly every state are facing unprecedented challenges finding workers to fill jobs. In fact, recent data shows there are 9 million job openings in the U.S., but only 6 million unemployed workers. 

Given this backdrop, finding ways to retain workers needs to be a top priority for employers. With more jobs than workers, unhappy employees can swiftly switch jobs due to dissatisfaction with their role, pay, company culture, or leadership. Losing workers now has an outsized impact because workers aren’t easily replaced, risking decreased productivity, increased costs for recruiting employees, and increased employee burnout for workers still on the job covering for open positions. 

Eagle Hill Consulting’s new Employee Retention Index

Left unaddressed, retention issues can quickly become a vicious cycle that isn’t easily fixed, harming the customer experience and delivering a dent to a company’s bottom line. To help employers navigate these workforce challenges, we launched the Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Retention Index, a first-of-its kind market indicator that provides employers with early signals of U.S. workers’ intent to stay at or leave their jobs. 

Here’s how it works:

As the Index increases, it signals an increase in retention in the next six months. As the Index decreases, it signals to employers that workers are more likely to leave their jobs, and organizations can expect more turnover in the months ahead.

Already, the Index indicates that the first two quarters of 2024 will be marked by higher employee departures. This is largely driven by dips in employee confidence in their organization’s future and leadership, as well as how they experience their organization’s culture. 

Data is power: How employers can utilize the Employee Retention Index 

As worker shortages continue, anticipating retention and attrition trends will be a key competitive asset for organizations. Whether motivated to hire, retain, or reduce headcounts, the Index’s findings offer valuable insights to employers. With the Index indicating an uptick in employee departures, employers looking to attract and recruit new talent should be proactively strategizing how to scoop up employees entering the job market.

For employers focused on retaining employees, these findings are equally important to ensure they are engaging the workers they want to keep. With declines in the Organizational Confidence and Culture indicators, employers can solicit feedback from top performers to understand what improvements can be made in these areas.

The Index can also guide employers who want to lean into attrition. As we’ve seen in recent months, many organizations are looking for ways to reduce headcount. With the Index’s findings, employers can anticipate employees’ intent to leave their jobs voluntarily, which may allow them to avoid or reduce painful layoffs.

It’s important to remember, however, that the Index isn’t a crystal ball. Organizations can use the Index to monitor national trends, anticipate changes, and inform decisions and changes to ensure their workforce is motivated, engaged, and aligned with their mission before facing complicated attrition problems.

We’ll release Index findings on a quarterly basis. If you’d like to receive these results directly to your inbox, subscribe below. 

Sign up to receive quarterly Employee Retention Index findings