These days my news feed is full of stories about employee burnout, job dissatisfaction, and rising quit rates.
Some of the articles offer solutions. They advise employers to accommodate workplace and work schedule flexibility, bolster pay and benefits, and make sure that employees have and take paid time off.
These are solid suggestions and HR can play an integral role in designing and executing each. But APQC’s new HR Customer Satisfaction Survey points to another role that HR can and should play to stem unwanted turnover. This role requires that HR go beyond making policy and program adjustments to also revisit how it makes employees feel and how it supports employees in their work.
Why are feelings and HR support for employee work important?
Our survey results reveal a link between each and the employee experience as well as employee intent to stay. Specifically, we found that:
When employees are satisfied with how HR makes them feel or with how HR supports their work, they are more likely to be satisfied with their employee experience and to be confident that they will stay working at the same employer over the next year.
When employees are dissatisfied with how HR makes them feel or with how HR supports their work, they are more likely to be dissatisfied with their employee experience and to lack confidence that they will stay at their current employer over the next year.
Following are some of the specific elements that we found to be linked with the employee experience and employee intent to stay.
How HR Makes Employees Feel
- HR contributes to me being motivated in my work
- HR makes me feel valued
- HR makes me feel like I belong
How HR Supports Employees in Their Work
- HR helps me to do my best work
- HR helps me to be more productive
How can HR evoke these feelings and provide this kind of employee support?
Our survey results highlight a number of ways—which HR can take as action items for supporting employee retention. These include:
- Listening to and acting on employee feedback,
- Responding quickly to employee requests,
- Providing a high level of HR customer service,
- Personalizing HR service,
- Keeping employees well informed, and
- Providing employees with collaboration tools.
We asked employees: If you could change one thing about HR at your current employer what would it be? Their responses can guide HR in understanding and carrying out the above action items.
- “Be more compassionate in dealing with staff”
- “I want access to real people”
- “Need to be more aware of what people actually need”
- “Faster and quicker response times”
- “Receive more updates and information”
- “Greater allowance for individual need”
- “Work for the employee and not the business”
In fact, who HR is seen as primarily supporting is also linked with employee retention. When HR is seen as working for the employee or working for both the employee and the business, employees are more likely to report a strong intent to stay. When employees see HR as primarily supporting the business, they lack confidence that they will be working for the same employer a year into the future.