When a company needs to say goodbye to a sizable portion of its staff, they tend to think the whole thing through, but that’s not often the case for people who decide to quit on their own. When someone is about to quit, a well-prepared organization is able to spot the signs earlier, ideally retaining more good employees.
Even with a great early intervention process, people leave their jobs every day, and every company should extend its process to leverage insights, foster open communication, and when necessary, put risk controls in place for the people who do end up leaving. What’s more, a company with its finger on the pulse is less likely to fall victim to the trends of the day – quiet quitting and “rage applying.”
The Cost of a Bad Exit
Layoffs are nothing compared to normal workforce turnover. In a typical year, companies lose about 18% of their workforce to people leaving voluntarily. In the US alone, those voluntary exits amount to $1 trillion in costs to companies. Not only does the company lose the productivity of that worker, but they also need to use resources to fill the new position, and every person who quits creates additional risk. The threat of theft, fraud, and low productivity can all increase leading up to an exit, and companies are exposed every day.
Despite this, not many companies have strategies for spotting signs of quitting early to potentially save an employee from leaving. Few companies have addressed ways of reducing costs due to turnover, nor do many shift their approach to employees who show signs of quitting, even though 70% of intellectual property theft occurs in the 90 days leading up to someone’s resignation.
Working from home has increased the potential cost of an employee exit. Now that 58% of office workers work from home at least one day a week, issues are even more pronounced for companies. For example, studies show that remote work increases the cost of a data breach. A recent report from IBM estimates that the average breach costs $1.07m more if most employees work from home ($5.54m vs $4.24m for in-office companies.)
Workforce Behavior Analytics Create a Better Offramp
Companies need a proactive approach and the right insights. First, with good analytics, managers can spot potential issues and potentially keep someone from quitting by fixing a problem. People might be frustrated by a coworker, dislike a part of their job, or want to improve an inefficient process – all issues that could be addressed well before someone is ready to actually leave the company.
In the case of an employee who does plan to quit, companies need insights to be ready before anything negative can happen. This includes a number of administrative steps that include management, HR, and IT, and it includes better use of employee software.
Rather than wait for someone to quit, companies need to assume that people will quit and start to better recognize the signs. Using activity monitoring technology helps to automate this process, giving companies immediate access to detailed information that can help them be more proactive and build a case if something happens.
These signals will form the foundation of a more proactive approach to exit management:
- Reduced productivity: If an employee starts reducing the hours they work, delivering work past deadlines, or generally slacking on the job, it could be a sign that they are unhappy.
- Unusual activity: Accessing information that they don’t normally need for their job, emailing competitors or using their personal email during the day, or blocking off unexplained time on their calendars – these are signs that someone might be planning to leave or actively interviewing with another company.
- Negative language: If people start badmouthing the company they work for, their boss, or their job in general, it could be a sign of a disgruntled employee.
With the increase in remote hybrid work, companies have increased their use of technology to gain oversight. As of 2022, 60% of companies use some kind of software to monitor employees.
Employee monitoring is just what it sounds like – a passive collection of information about employee activity. This could include collecting emails, website visits, and noting the idle time on a computer. While monitoring is a good first step, companies need a more active approach to understanding their remote and hybrid workforce. Enter workforce behavior analytics.
Workforce behavior analytics software can help companies monitor, analyze and protect their workforce, business, and customers.
Understand Workforce Activity – Before anyone quits, workforce behavior analytics help create a baseline understanding of overall productivity, sentiment, and general risk and compliance. Not only can companies tackle any obvious issues that they find, but they are also provided with an understanding of what’s “normal” so that abnormal activity becomes easier to spot.
Spot Issues Early – Once a baseline is established, companies can flag activity that falls outside of the norm. Perhaps someone becomes less productive or starts accessing sensitive data more frequently. More than anything, these early signs allow managers and HR to reach out and talk to employees. So much the better if an issue can be resolved and an unhappy or unproductive worker can be motivated. And if someone is unhappy, a frank conversation earlier in the process can put the company on the alert.
Build a Case – With ongoing workforce behavior analytics, any issues that do arise from an employee can be recorded and accessed easily and compared to the employee’s exit interview. If there is an issue, companies have what they need to take the next steps with confidence.
Reduce Turnover and Risk – Best of all, ongoing workforce behavior analytics become a positive influence on the entire organization. By spotting issues and resolving them quickly and reaching out to employees that show signs of concern, companies have the ability to reduce overall turnover and reduce the relative risk of each exit.
While layoffs are more likely to happen in a downturn, people quit their jobs every day, creating risks for companies that don’t have a smart plan in place. Now that so many people are working remotely, and moving seamlessly from work life to personal life, companies need a new approach. Workforce behavior analytics increase insights and control and reduce risk before, during, and after someone quits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CEO of Awareness Technologies
Elizabeth Harz is the CEO of Awareness Technologies. She enables organizations and families to be productive and safe.
The organization develops leading security and productivity solutions for the home and office. It helps parents understand their children’s digital lives and help employees and employers be successful in a work-from-anywhere world through its leading workforce behavior analytics platform, Veriato.