A brilliant man and stalwart Financial industry veteran recently handed me his copy of the February issue of the Journal of Accounting. I thought he had me confused with my sister, who grew up in business also immersed in a world of numbers, but then I saw the words that were splashed across the cover: I Love My Job – More firms deploying flexible arrangements, upgraded technology to retain employees.
I read with delight that many Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms are offering employee-friendly working arrangements to limit turnover. The article made me curious. If CPA firms are experiencing turnover issues, which other industries are suffering?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, an employee’s average tenure is only four-and-a-half years, but several industries have it worse than others:
- Technology – The tech industry is extremely cut-throat. Every company is competing for the most talented employees and offering generous packages, so turnover grows stronger by the day. The average tenure in this industry is one year.
- Finance and Insurance – Only 10 percent of employees last longer than 36 months in the insurance industry. Finance industry turnover is 18 percent annually. Similar to tech, companies seek talented employees and are willing to pay for them. These are also high-pressure, stressful jobs that can quickly drive away employees.
- Hospitality – Workers in the hotel and restaurant industry have some of the highest turnover rates at 27 percent. Employees burn out fast thanks to long hours on nights and weekends.
- Healthcare – Employee turnover in the healthcare industry is double the national average for turnover in all jobs, rivaling the Hospitality industry. Why? Long hours and low pay.
For the first 22 years of my career, I regularly worked in high-pressure, stressful jobs with long hours. And you know what? I never quit. Why? Because the cultures were solid – I trusted the senior leaders, I felt emotionally committed and loyal to the firm, my voice mattered and was heard, I was appreciated, and I was rewarded for my results.
And then one day I was hired into a horrific culture where I left after eight months. Why? Because the culture was not solid – I did not trust the senior leaders, I felt emotionally disconnected from the firm, my voice didn’t matter (as an executive), I wasn’t appreciated, and I wasn’t rewarded for my results.
The moral of the story? Industries as a whole are not doomed, companies with bad cultures are. If leaders in the five industries mentioned above created an extraordinary work environment where people can be the best version of themselves every day, employees would be less likely to seek work elsewhere.
Be Awesome! As a leader of people – be it a manager, volunteer coordinator, leader of a Meetup Group or head of your household – take an inventory. What are you doing to build trust, to create an emotional connection to your shared mission, to listen better and act on people’s input, and to acknowledge people for the value they bring to the table? Turnover doesn’t happen only at work. It can happen in any area of your life. Commit to creating an extraordinary environment where the people around you can be the best version of themselves every day, and you’ll retain that which is most valuable to you.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author and keynote speaker. She was recently named a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, has a Six Sigma Green Belt, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.