Answering HR's 2 Most Important Questions: Why Do People Join Your Company and Why Do They Leave? The HR experience really boils down to these two questions, and the answers are far from simple.
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Human resources professionals today face a tough perception gap. On one hand, technology has given us outstanding tools that seek to help clarify what our employees want. But, on the other hand, we still struggle to understand what drives people away.
The HR experience really boils down to two questions: Why do people join your company? And why do they leave?
To answer the questions, leaders look at data sets like number of people hired, average length employed, turnover and where we are hiring. We also have reams of dynamic data like pulse checks, mid-year and annual reviews, exit interviews and anything else that can be coded, counted and analyzed.
But when all of that information is digested, we still don't have a complete picture. People are attracted to what companies say they have and end up leaving because of what they don't have, but we don't know how to address the problem.
In my career, I have come to understand that we have to look beyond the data in order to understand how companies can improve their HR experience, engage employees and help people bring their best selves to work. The following strategies can help HR organizations move the levers in their favor.
Understand how your team handles moments that matter
It's important that leaders take the time to learn how their teams respond in significant moments. These moments define the gap between what we say we have and what we are missing.
Moments that matter can be big, such as: How do we respond to a pandemic? How do we get everyone safely connected to each other and working from home? And how does this happen within weeks or days?
Moments that matter can be small, as well. How do we celebrate success? How do we talk to somebody when they are late with a deliverable? These are little things, done in small steps, that make the moments that matter more meaningful.
Track how individuals within your organizations embrace meaningful moments and how they deal with conflict. Provide opportunities for people to succeed by working to their strengths — someone who approaches these moments head-on will have a different approach from those who deflect in favor of stated policies or simply avoid it and focus on relationships.
Understanding how your teams will handle the moments that matter and are empowered to act to their strengths will drastically improve your HR experience and encourage your best people to stay. Keep a close eye on your employee turnover and make adjustments as necessary.
Strengthen your values and culture
A company's culture is how things get done. In that way, your culture nearly always determines whether or not you succeed.
When we, as HR leaders, look at the core values that inform our culture, we need to ask whether they truly reflect the makeup of the organization. If they do, they can be incredibly powerful, adaptive and flexible.
That doesn't mean leaders can simply copy and paste values from one organization to the next. It's important that our values — and by extension, our culture — truly reflect how people make decisions.
However, everyone brings values with them as they move to new opportunities. HR leaders must help employees understand how their values align with the organization. Open, honest discussions will help individuals see where their values overlap and how they can influence their new company.
Embracing the company's values and culture is a reflection of what we do during the moments that matter, and helps answer the questions of why people left their prior jobs and what brought them to you. Your eNPS scores will reflect the hard work of building the cultures and values that deliver a meaningful HR experience.
Empower your HR experience makers
We hired hundreds of people at BambooHR during the pandemic. And while we were fortunate to continue growing, we also worried about building positive relationships and culture when most of those new hires never set foot in our offices.
Fortunately, one of our managers began doing something extraordinary.
To this day, every time her department brings on a new person, she sets up individual Zoom meetings to introduce them to every other member of the team. The manager introduces everyone and hangs on for a minute or two, then leaves so the two employees can get to know each other.
These meetings are a small investment of time for most people, but they are moments that matter. Building relationships is the only way to create a strong bond between an existing team and the new members that are joining.
The people who stand up during those moments that matter and use them to teach or support others are HR experience-makers. They bridge that gap between how we think work gets done versus how we really work together. Empowering these key employees will help companies navigate the answers to those two simple questions: Why do people join your company and why did they leave?
Companies that want to create a powerful HR experience for their employees have to learn how their teams handle moments that matter, build cultures based on those values and empower HR experience makers to create connections. Getting these key pieces right will not only help your teams today, but influence how you grow tomorrow.