Despite High Unemployment, Companies Still Struggling with Employee Turnover

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An Express Employment Professionals survey, in conjunction with The Harris Poll, reveals the top reason employees leave is for better offers from other companies.

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"There are a lot of variables in the current economic climate, but the one thing that will always propel businesses to success is a healthy company culture." - Express CEO Bill Stoller

In a time of record unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 81% of hiring decision-makers say their company has had extended job vacancies resulting in less motivated employees, loss in revenue and lower employee morale.

This is according to a newly released survey conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

Hiring decision-makers say employees cite better offerings at other companies as the top reason for quitting, such as pay/benefits (35%), perks (35%) or advancement opportunities (34%).

The primary reasons current employees leave jobs include:

1. Had a better offer from another company — 30%
2. Work hours are not suitable — 20%
3. Not a good fit with company culture — 19%
4. Lack of advancement/opportunity — 19%
5. Low pay — 17%
6. Inadequate benefits — 15%

John Dickey, Express franchise owner of two offices in Massachusetts, believes employees move on from jobs when the company culture is poor.

“If workers are happy with the culture and they like working with their boss and coworkers, they will overlook the other reasons for leaving their job,” he said. “I’m a believer that workers don’t quit their jobs, they quit their boss.”

Of the 81% of hiring decision-makers who say their company has had extended job vacancies, the vast majority (82%) say the extended vacancies have taken a toll. This includes less motivated employees (25%), loss in revenue (24%), work not getting done (23%), lower employee morale due to employees being overworked (23%) and delays in delivery times (22%).

The extent to which these negative impacts are felt vary by company size, with the largest companies about twice as likely or higher than the smallest companies to say they experience these frustrations.

“Show appreciation and pay people fairly,” Lori Gajdzik, branch manager for the Crystal Lake, Illinois, Express office, said of how to retain and hire employees. “Allow for growth and development, and give flexibility if necessary for child care, as well. This is especially true as employees struggle with their school system and the uncertainty of the traditional classroom setting this upcoming fall.”

Shannon Wenninger, Express franchise owner in Fishers, Indiana, agrees that company culture plays a large role in employee tenure.

“Treat them like people,” she said. “And communicate, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let people know what is happening and don’t keep them in the dark.”

Hiring is ramping up across the country as Express offices help companies fill those extended job vacancies with more than 23,000 open positions available—a return to pre-pandemic levels. And Wenninger, Dickey and Gajdzik agree more workers will return to the workforce with the end of the $600 weekly federal unemployment supplement.

“Companies need people to show up for work to get their product out the door,” Gajdzik said. “A robust economy is critical to the health and wellbeing of a productive society.”

Employees are a company’s most valuable asset, and no matter market conditions, it’s important to take care of them, says Express CEO Bill Stoller.

“There are a lot of variables in the current economic climate, but the one thing that will always propel businesses to success is a healthy company culture,” he said. “Good employees are worth the investment.”

Survey Methodology
The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between April 21 and May 6, 2020, among 1,005 U.S. hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in the U.S. who are employed full-time or self-employed or have been laid off, furloughed, or given a zero hour schedule in the past 60 days but worked full-time or were self-employed full-time prior, work at companies with more than 1 employee, and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company). Data were weighted where necessary by company size to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bill Stoller to discuss this topic, please contact Sheena Karami, Director of Corporate Communications and PR, at (405) 717-5966.

About Bill Stoller
William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more
than 825 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa, and beginning in 2020 will expand to Australia and New Zealand. Since its inception, Express has put more than 8 million people to work worldwide.

About Express Employment Professionals
At Express Employment Professionals, we’re in the business of people. From job seekers to client companies, Express helps people thrive and businesses grow. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, our international network of franchises offer localized staffing solutions to the communities they serve, employing 552,000 people across North America in 2019. For more information, visit

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