Reduce employee turnover by up to 15%

Why it matters

It can cost as much as 3/4 of an employee's salary to replace him or her through direct and indirect costs (e.g., reduced productivity).

Employee leaving job and discussing with her manager

Companies that successfully address the underlying issues can reduce employee turnover by up to 15%.

How social network analysis is used

Social network analyses help you identify overloaded employees and dysfunctional groups (likely to see employees leave) and build a less fragile organization.

Throughout organizations there are employees that carry disproportional workloads or have vital know-how for your business. This is a problem for an organization as it relies heavily on these people and at the same time, due to overutilization, makes them more likely to permanently or temporarily leave.

Template for the study

The following four questions are the type of questions you would ask in survey and analyze the responses to in a social network analysis.

  1. How satisfied are you to be working here?
  2. How often do you work with the following people?
  3. How often do you seek help from the following people?
  4. To what extent do the following people do the same job as you?

What to look for in the analysis

Overloaded employees

Find the hubs, measured by number of in-degrees, for the first question.

These people are the ones who have highly central roles in the organization and, therefore, might want to be relieved from their central role in the network. Not only can it be stressful for an employee to have this network role, the organization also takes an unnecessary risk when it relies heavily on this employee.

Another kind of central employee is the broker.

The broker connects groups and clusters and they have high betweenness scores. The role is not as stressful as the hub role in a network, but it is often a more powerful and important role, so managers should also consider the risk that such employees leave the company. In particular, such employees can be hard to replace if the connections take a long time to establish.

Experienced employees

The social network diagram generated for the answers to the 3rd question tend to identify senior and experienced employees.

The technique to identify them is similar to the one to identify overutilized employees. As these connections often relate to tacit (read: not easily shared) and experience-based knowledge combined with relatively senior employees, these people will require your focus if they are unhappy in their roles.

Identify back-ups

The social network for the 4th question can be used to identify underutilized employees that can relieve overutilized employees.

The responses won't tell you exactly how utilized they are but it'll tell you who should be able to substitute each other.

Going back to the first two questions you can find people that have the same function as the overutilized employees to relieve the overutilized employees for their network role.

Next steps

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Step 6: Analyze the Data


Successful change management with social network analysis