Reduce Employee Turnover by Building Teams With Complementary Skills
This can lead to lower stress for all
Employee turnover is an issue that plagues associations and other nonprofits. While there are many suggestions for reducing it—everything from workplace wellness to digital onboarding—most of those solutions are aimed at the individual worker.
However, new research from the Harvard University Growth Lab suggests the real answer lies in a holistic view of the workplace and all of its employees. In “The Value of Complementary Co-Workers,” published in Science Advances, Growth Lab Research Director Frank Neffke, Ph.D., found that the value of workers isn’t dependent on their individual skills, but rather on how their skills complement those they work with. When employees were teamed with those who complemented their skills, creating what Neffke called “coworker synergy,” they stayed longer at their organizations.
“An increase in coworker synergy is associated with a decrease in the likelihood that a worker switches establishments and with an increase in his or her likelihood of reaching long tenures,” Neffke wrote. “The implied effects are sizable: Moving from the 10th to the 90th synergy percentile coincides with a 2.5 percentage point (pp) lower switching rate, against an average switching probability of 13.7 percent and with a between 9.2 and 12.0 pp higher likelihood of long tenures.”
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