To learn about the power of positivity, one just needs to blindly pick a book out of the self-help aisle at a local bookstore (those still exist, right?). Of course, many would tell you—and I’d tend to agree—the salvation offered by these types of books falls somewhere between pseudoscience and an unethical offering of false hope. However, that is not to say this type of thinking is completely meritless. A study from the University of Surrey revealed that positive energy within the workplace is key to retaining employees, and it may be a metric worth adding to your performance management software
It’s no secret that retaining employees is a crucial component to a successful business; it’s estimated that replacing a high-level executive can cost a business up to four-and-a-half times the salary of that role. Measuring the cost of turnover is incredibly difficult, especially when it comes to roles that don’t directly contribute to revenue generation, but it’s fair to say—when speaking broadly on the subject—it is not good.
What Does Energy Have to Do with All of This?
The study out of Surrey Business School observed the IT department of a global engineering firm over the course of four years. First the researchers distinguished between voluntary and involuntary turnover. Involuntary, for example, being an employee being fired, and voluntary being an employee leaving an organization by their own choosing, presumably for a better job elsewhere.
The researchers concluded employees that did not exhibit positivity or enthusiasm toward their work were more at risk of involuntarily leaving an organization. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that every introvert is at risk of adding to the turnover count, as enthusiasm isn’t synonymous with the volume of one’s voice or frequency of trips to the water cooler. Positive energy, or energetic activations, is more a question of the tone and attitude which an employee discusses work and interacts with coworkers.
Solving the Talent Crisis
G2 Crowd surveyed professionals involved in attracted and retaining employees. Learn what we found about how companies are trying to solve the talent crisis in the report.Download the Report Here
While it may not be a surprise that employees with negative attitudes are more likely to contribute to turnover, the inverse is not true. The study found that employees with positive energy that are also high performers in their roles are more likely to leave a company voluntarily, presumably because they are more in demand and leave for greener pastures.
Management that is privy to this research can use it to retain more of the high-performer, high-energy employees. First, it’s important that employees are properly evaluated. Using 360-degree performance reviews are a great way to do this. By allowing employees to evaluate their coworkers, it is easier to gauge the energy levels of the employees within an organization. Utilizing this information, management can properly reward employees who were both high performers and exhibited high energy in an effort to keep them from leaving. While this isn’t a cure-all—some turnover is unavoidable—it’s a great way to maximize employee output while minimizing turnover.