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We're In an Employee Retention Recession... 

About 42 million employees were estimated to leave their jobs in 2018. CEOs, office managers, and human resource directors found themselves in the middle of an employee retention recession, incurring the costs of replacing employees and wondering what went wrong.  

This trend shows no indication of slowing in 2019 as 32% of workers are looking to change jobs. On average, workers will change jobs 10-15 times over their working careers, meaning your workforce may be considering flying the coop.   

The problem of high-talent employees leaving office gigs is compounded by an increasingly tight hiring market. Over the years, less high-quality talent is available. Recruiting suitable candidates has never been more difficult, as 2019 sees applicant quality decreasing across the board, especially in specific positions. Quality talent that is available and looking for work gets scooped up by major companies, leaving the small-to-middle sized guys waving farewell on the dock.   

What steps can a company take to keep its employees while attracting high-tier talent? More accurately: what financially viable steps.  

Without expansive budgets among the likes of Google and Apple, there are simple, affordable options for every company to end their retention recession. The secret is in the Breakroom. 

So, Why Are People Quitting? 

Why do people quit anything? It doesn't make them happy. Some might assume work is different. Work is work.  

Wrong. Workplace satisfaction is crucial to understanding employee retention and attracting highly qualified talent. Apart from external factors such as commute time and relocation, there is one proven inter-office variable directly relating to employee satisfaction and retention.  

Benefits & perks.  

Employees who ranked job satisfaction as extremely or very high also ranked extremely or very high satisfaction with their benefits.

That's because employees don't want to be treated as mechanical cogs. They want to be seen as people, and strongly believe companies have an obligation to support their personal health and wellbeing. Increasingly, supportive benefits that focus on hours spent clocked-in are seen as more important than hypothetical healthcare plans and vacation days. (Although those are still essential.) 

The average person spends 90,000 hours at work- or about a third of their lifetime. Those hours are spent "binge sitting,"- extended periods of time without standing, walking, hydrating, eating, or socializing. All practices integral to our happiness as human beings.  

Those 90,000 hours are also being spent staring at a screen, which can cause headaches, impaired vision, diminished brain function, and lead to irregular sleeping patterns and poor quality of rest.  

From morning to afternoon, most employees either skip breakfast or lunch to remain at their desks, which takes a mental and physical toll on hydration, mood, and productivity.  

So ask yourself again, why are people quitting?  

Lost Employees Are Costing Big 

When an employee leaves, they trail a hemorrhage of company cash. Human Resources and Managers spend time in exit interviews, then move to the task of finding a new, qualified replacement. Between job posting, interviews, divvying workload among active employees, and finally, onboarding new hires, a hefty chunk of dough has been lost. 

A company sacrifices time, talent, morale, and money through poor retention. Sheer dollars? Employee Benefits estimates that losing an employee costs 33% of their annual salary.  

Which begs the question: what did the employee leave their job for?  

Transferring careers, healthcare plans, and the security of a sure paycheck aren't easy for the employee deciding to leave. About 71% of employees admit to staying with their current company because it's easier than starting a new job. Not because they are satisfied or motivated. What makes the discomfort of leaving worth it for more and more employees?  

Who They're Leaving You For 

An employee leaves their job to work for a company that makes them feel supported and happy. Money, surprisingly, isn't the No. 1 factor.  

Workplace benefits are favored 4 to 1 over extra salary.

Additionally, 55% of employees said they would likely accept a job offer with lower compensation but a more robust benefits package. This revelation has shifted the approach business owners take to attracting new talent. A new emphasis is put behind benefits and perks over a heftier paycheck.  

Individuals tasked with hiring new talent in 2019 overwhelmingly said that competition from other companies coupled with salary and benefits not being competitive enough are the root of their struggle.  

BenefitNews reported a top HR challenge for 2019 is offering the right employee benefits. These packages are "integral in attracting and retaining a talented workforce." Today, these extra perks and benefits aren't special. They're common, expected, and creative. 

Users stated on the company review website Glassdoor that they want more benefits and perks instead of a raise. Among Inc.'s 2019 Best Workplaces, perks like fully stocked kitchens are status quo. 

The Creative World of Company Benefits

Broaden your perspective of "company benefits" past regular eye check-ups and you'll quickly see how added perks are attracting talent in inventive and alluring ways. With an intentional focus toward fostering health, growth, and wellness for the employee, here are a few creative ways companies get perky:

  • Cloud communication platform Twilio gifts employees a Kindle and monthly stipend to buy books.  
  • REI employees get 2 extra days off to spend outdoors. 
  • Reebok offers free fitness classes. 
  • In-N-Out provides free lunch and unlimited soft drinks.
  • Harper Collins India offers "Pawternity" leave for employees who recently adopted a rescue dog.   
  • Streaming service Spotify adds egg freezing and fertility assistance to its bundle of benefits.  
  • Snowboard manufacturer Burton gifts season sky passes and sneaky "snow days" to get on the slopes.  

This is all good news for business owners. It means you can begin adding strategic perks that make your company 1) more satisfying for current talent, and 2) a deciding factor for qualified job-seeker. The result: increased satisfaction, retention, and productivity. All without breaking the budget.  

Becoming A Perk Company   

Turning your company into a workplace that attracts high-quality talent and promotes productivity and employee satisfaction sounds like an expensive endeavor. It's not. Regardless of your business category or employee type, there are universal perks that make any office more desirable.  

You don't need a redesign of the office space. You don't need team paddleboard yoga.

You need a good breakroom.  

Think of the office breakroom as your company hub for employee satisfaction. Specifically, the fridge. Here's how to turn your fridge into an employee retention tool that increases satisfaction, productivity, and happiness.  

How to Stock Your Breakroom for Happier, Productive Employees 

Follow this chart when stocking the breakroom fridge. Keep in mind employee health not only today but tomorrow, and what other elements of their life may impact performance in the office. 

breakroom bevvies