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Employee Retention

Retain your employees by revisiting job fit

excited employee at desk

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The Great Resignation has employers concerned, and rightly so. Staff are re-evaluating their views of the world and their lives. They are also reconsidering not just job security and pay, but also reconsidering their job fit. Many are seeking a realignment, hoping to better match their interests, talents, and values. Employers and managers need to respond.

Hiring managers know the negative consequences of misfit, such as withdrawal, stress, and turnover. Looking at job fit isn't only helpful during the hiring process, however. Now is a critical time to revisit fit in order to retain your employees. In other words, has job fit changed during their tenure? It's very likely that it has.

Employees are experiencing so much change right now. They may be moving to remote work or returning to the workplace, experiencing a change in job role, observing the resignation of colleagues, or responding to a change in company structure. These can all trigger a reassessment of whether they fit in their current job or organization. An employee can feel a misfit with their job, manager, team, or organization.

Signs of misfit

In general, employees with poor fit will eventually voluntarily leave their work environments. "Even with all the challenges in 2020, career issues continued to be the number one reason employees decided to quit their job." (Work Institute, 2021)

People do not always immediately act on their attitudes so managers have some time to respond if they know what to look for. While this is not an exhaustive list, these are common signs that someone sees their job as a misfit.

  • Withdrawing, disengaging, and reducing interactions with manager or colleagues.
  • Resignation to policies, procedures, customs, or team behaviors they used to try to influence and change.
  • Pretending to fit by changing outward behaviors.
  • Taking a defiant pride in doing things differently.
  • Actively seeking out new opportunities and assignments or networking across internal silos.
  • Leaving the organization.

There are, of course, other reasons why an employee might display any of these behaviors. But these are good signs that job fit should be evaluated.

Evaluating fit

HR professionals often use personality or other assessments to determine fit. Luckily, if you used PXT Select during hiring, you can return to it for reports helpful in revisiting job fit. (Plus, they're all free if the employee already took the PXT Select assessment.)

  • The Manager-Employee Report and the Coaching Report are great places for a manager to gain insights. Reviewing the reports with an employee can begin the conversation around issues of motivation, challenge areas of their job, and ways in which the two of them might need to accommodate each other's personalities.
  • The Leadership Report is great to use when considering an employee for a promotion or more leadership roles.
  • If you've already experienced a loss of employees, why not look at improving job fit with the Multiple Positions Report? It provides valuable information about how a current employee might find a better fit in other roles in your organization.
  • Teams are often changing. You can help new teams start off great with the Team Report. It shows how team members compare to each other on several key behavioral attributes, allowing them to address these issues right away.

An employee currently in a state of misfit is less likely to leave if they perceive improvements in their future. We encourage managers to start reviewing these reports with their staff today.

"For individuals, good fit is associated with less stress and more trust, team cohesion, and job satisfaction. Organizations also enjoy the benefits of employees who fit well, including reduced employee deviance, cynicism, withdrawal, and turnover...." Resolution, Relief, and Resignation: A Qualitative Study of Responses to Misfit at Work


See also

2021 Retention Report, Work Institute
“The number of interviewees who exited their organization for reasons categorized as 'less preventable' was significantly higher than in previous years.”

Employee Tenure Summary, Bureau of Labor Statistics
“The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.1 years in January 2020, little changed from 4.2 years in January 2018.”

Keeping Tenured Employees Engaged: How Tenure Impacts Engagement, Quantum Workplace
“At one to two years on the job, the shine on the relationship starts to dim. In this phase, employees might:

  • Gradually see fewer learning possibilities
  • Plateau in their development
  • Become more attuned to office politics
  • Receive less attention”

112 Employee Turnover Statistics: 2021 Causes, Cost & Prevention Data, FinancesOnline
“In this article, we will discuss some of the most critical employee turnover statistics of 2021 from current turnover rates to the costs that come with them. We will also discuss the current sentiments of workers to help you understand what would make them leave a job and what would make them stay.”

‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours, McKinsey & Company
“Rather than take the time to investigate the true causes of attrition, many companies are jumping to well-intentioned quick fixes that fall flat: for example, they’re bumping up pay or financial perks, like offering 'thank you' bonuses without making any effort to strengthen the relational ties people have with their colleagues and their employers. The result? Rather than sensing appreciation, employees sense a transaction. This transactional relationship reminds them that their real needs aren’t being met.”