Today, HR teams are asked to do more than ever. From implementing cutting-edge initiatives for wellbeing and inclusion, to long-standing objectives like managing retention.
And it doesn’t get easier. HR sits, uniquely, on an island between the needs of employees and the needs of leadership. Saddled with all this responsibility, teams are asked to make miracles happen on shoestring budgets, since HR is still seen as a cost-center.
Despite the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have more choice than ever when it comes to working opportunities, making retention a key issue for all businesses:
- In the United States, voluntary turnover has increased by 88% since 2010, with more than 1 out of every 3 workers expected to voluntarily quit their job by 2023.
- More than 1/3 of people who left their job in 2019 did so within a year of starting that job, with two-thirds of those leaving within 6 months.
- 61.8% of workers said they were considering a career change in 2021.
Why Do People Leave?
While some inevitably leave their job for better paying opportunities, it turns out that satisfaction goes far beyond compensation. Recently, the most common reasons employees left their job included:
- Career Development (19.6%)
- Work-Life Balance (12.4%)
- Manager Behavior (11.8%)
According to a Work Institute study, "Compensation and Benefits" was only the 7th highest-ranking response. The study also goes on to say that 78% of departures were related to “Preventable Losses,” meaning there’s a lot that businesses can do to prevent turnover.
Measuring Happiness at Work
HR teams have long sought tools to survey happiness and record quarterly NPS scores, but one issue remains: Happiness is pretty hard to measure—especially when employees fear that unfiltered feedback may have negative consequences.
Even still, these questions must be asked—as a study on employee retention found that over 50% of employees surveyed said that neither their manager, or any other leader in the company, asked them about their job satisfaction or future with the organization.
The High Cost of Turnover
The cost of bad employee experience can be a crippling force on your business. A 2018 study estimated that rising annual turnover costs in the United States could soon exceed $600 billion per year, and a Gallup study from 2019 estimated that the average cost to replace an employee is between 6 months and 2 years worth of their annual salary.
And the costs don’t stop there. Turnover can take a toll on company culture and morale, lowering confidence and productivity across the board. Plus, employees who leave take with them institutional knowledge that a new hire can’t immediately replace, especially in a smaller company without duplicate roles.
So what’s the solution to the costly problem of maintaining workplace happiness?
Cultivating Happiness at Work
Numerous studies have shown that a regular, consistent mindfulness practice can develop resilience, mitigate the effects of workplace stress, increase creativity, and foster compassion at work. Translation? Happiness.
Researchers in 2019 concluded that mindfulness helped restaurant workers in fast-paced environments cope with challenging and stressful situations, and that mindfulness may guard against emotional exhaustion at work, contributing to lower turnover rates. Something we could all use after 2020.
Mindful supervisors can also do their part to cultivate happiness in their employees, considering how often poor manager-employee relationships result in turnover. Two studies found that employees with mindful supervisors actually perform better, report higher job satisfaction, and feel more successful in balancing work and family life. Mindfulness also teaches key interpersonal skills, such as improved communication and empathy, promoting collaboration and teamwork, and most importantly, inclusivity in the workplace.
Experts are also recognizing that intangible elements of workplace culture like psychological safety and trust are essential for happy and successful teams. In fact, a study by Google found psychological safety to be the top characteristic of high performing teams in 2015.
Bring Mindfulness to Your Workplace
A recent mindfulness challenge hosted by Wisdom Labs at more than 85 companies found that regular mindfulness practice produced measurable increases in three out of three employee wellbeing goals—calm and balance, focus and productivity, and connection and teamwork.
Discover how Wisdom Labs can help you encourage a thriving company culture of compassion, resilience, and engagement.