Employee turnover is inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult or costly. Whether an employee leaves for a new opportunity, retirement, or another reason, their departure often leaves a gap in the team that can be difficult to fill quickly, especially if that person leaves with valuable institutional knowledge. Beyond the immediate strain on the team’s workload and competency, the total cost of recruiting someone new to assume a vacated role can be several times the original salary. Fortunately, technology can help reduce turnover and ease the headache when it happens.
What makes employee turnover so tough?
The longer an employee stays with an organization, the greater their productivity. As individuals learn systems, processes, and products and connect with coworkers and customers, they inherently work faster, better, and smarter.
The real cost of losing an employee includes several factors, such as:
- Recruitment. This includes the time and financial commitment needed to recruit, interview, screen, manage paperwork, and more.
- Onboarding. This includes the time investment needed not only to train the new employee in their job responsibilities and required systems, but also to introduce and acclimate the new employee to the company culture and possibly the industry as well.
- Productivity. A new employee can take months — even years — to ramp up and reach the productivity level of a current employee. During this initial ramp-up period, the team may experience lower productivity and output.
- Company culture. Turnover can impact the company culture as employees may wonder why a coworker is leaving and what their departure may mean for the future of their team or organization.
- Institutional knowledge. This includes current and historical knowledge of processes, systems, clients, and more. Often, this knowledge is passed down during an employee’s tenure with an organization, but if an employee hasn’t had the opportunity to share that information before they leave, the result could be both costly and frustrating for those left to figure it out.
In the field of research administration, the cost of upskilling, reskilling, and filling the employee knowledge gap is particularly high. Why? The research industry is among the most detail-oriented and regulated industries, requiring deep knowledge of specific processes and procedures, guidelines, compliance regulations, and more. To maintain competency, research administration professionals must devote consistent time and effort.
How can technology minimize new employee onboarding headaches?
Even in the best organization, employees will leave for various reasons. That’s why organizations must be set up in a way that reduces the impact of turnover and enables new employees to ramp up productivity and assimilate into the culture quickly.
The most effective strategies for onboarding new employees focus on learning and development (L&D) as well as building simplified processes and centralized knowledgebases to reduce related costs. Technology is one of the best tools for reducing the skills gap. Some common tools to reduce onboarding time and increase productivity for new employees include:
- A central data repository, enhancing accessibility, visibility, and collaboration across teams.
- A digital knowledge base, providing key documentation on processes, protocols, and more.
- Integrated communication, allowing employees to engage easily with colleagues.
- Unified processes and documentation in a cloud-based platform, supporting employee access to training and information.
Each of these tools can help upskill employees quickly and provide support without intensive hours from management or other trainers.
According to Gina Hedberg, Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects at the University of South Alabama, Cayuse’s research suite helps everyone, from administrators to researchers to academics: “Everybody knows where they are. If somebody wants a copy of a sub-agreement, well, here it is. Don’t call me and ask; it’s there for you. Same with data — it allows our administrators, our academics, and researchers to pick data up that will support their knowledge about what’s going on in the units, what’s going on campuswide, and to make some decisions on what’s happening in their areas.”
How can technology reduce turnover?
Studies show that well-integrated technology solutions can boost company culture and support greater employee satisfaction — which leads to greater retention.
Technology supports improved:
- Engagement. Technology helps employees stay engaged through better communication and productivity tools. An organization with high employee engagement sees 23% more profitability and 43% less turnover, according to Gallup.
- Collaboration. Digital technology helps employees collaborate across departments with more speed and ease than outdated systems and processes that rely on paper printouts, faxes, or siloed, site-based databases.
- Communication. Cloud-based technology allows employees across different sites – or with hybrid or remote work environments – to stay connected and easily communicate and collaborate.
- Productivity. Technology like artificial intelligence-powered reports, automated tracking, and checklists can support employees in achieving their goals faster.
- Reduced administrative burden. By automating the “busy work,” technology allows employees to focus on the more creative and strategic parts of their jobs.
Turnover doesn’t have to be such a headache. With seamless technology platforms, more research organizations are improving both onboarding processes and daily workflows – leading to more skilled, satisfied employees.