It certainly has been a turbulent time for the Conservative Party over the last month. If there is anything we can take away from the comings and goings of key personnel within the party, it’s that the stability of staff has a key role to play in the success of any business. Whilst some staff turnover is inevitable, and can bring with it fresh ideas, it is important to know and value those high performers who support business success. This article looks at some of the reasons attributed to high staff turnover, the effects such turnover can have and considers initiatives and good practices that can be used to reduce turnover and support retention of good staff.
What are the Causes of High Staff Turnover?
According to the CIPD, the highest levels of staff turnover are found in retail, hospitality and call centres. Across all industries, some of the more common reasons given for choosing to leave employment include:
- Remuneration and benefit packages
- Lack of work life balance/ feeling over worked
- Lack of development opportunities
- Poor relationships with management or colleagues
- The commute to work
Effects of High Levels of Staff Turnover
Staff leaving can have a tangible effect on internal morale, with remaining team members often having to pick up the slack if recruiting a replacement takes longer than hoped. With the loss of specialised skills/ or employees with good relationships with clients, the work may be significant and prolonged, as it takes time for new staff to build up their skills and/or relationships with client.
You need to be mindful of the costs and time associated with finding and training new staff. These can range from the administration costs associated with processing a resignation, indirect management costs of inducting new staff, direct recruitment costs to loss off productivity.
As well as this, don’t forget the unintended effects on your external reputation – be that from repeated high staff turnover, or key personnel leaving for a competitor.
Tips to Minimise Staff Turnover
So, what can be done to minimise the number of staff leaving, or to retain key personnel?
Firstly, there are few approaches useful to gaining better insight into why employees may choose to leave:
- Employee voice surveys – a proactive approach to assessing job satisfaction. It is important to listen to the responses received and to take action where possible, feeding back to staff so that they feel heard.
- Exit interviews – best utilised when not carried out by the direct line manager (as an employee may not be as open to being honest). Alternative options are to ask ex-employees to complete a written questionnaire at a later date.
Secondly it is important to look at who is leaving, could it be staff members from a certain team, or demographic group? This will support what action is needed – a problematic manager, or a lack of any inclusion strategy?
How to Improve Staff Retention – not just increasing salary and benefits!
It is not always possible to increase individuals’ pay or look at the organisation’s salary banding/scales. Here are some alterative approaches which can support with improving retention rates:
- Provide a realistic picture of what the job looks like during recruitment
- Induct new recruits into the company as well as the job (discuss culture, integrate across departments, ensure you understand your values and ethos and instil that into new recruits)
- Mentoring and coaching – are you able to pair a new employee with an established member of the team to support with induction and more successful integration into the team?
Training and Development Opportunities
- Utilise appraisals or one to ones to listen to how staff wish to develop and discuss ways to support this.
- Maximise opportunities for the development of skills – this may be internal on the job training, or sourcing external courses.
- Allow time to attend conferences, access webinars or source other training opportunities relevant to their roles within the company.
- Understand and manage career expectations and support with progression, if promotion is not an option, is there scope for development within the role, or any sideway moves?
- Be open to accommodating more flexible working arrangements where possible. This may include allowing more working from home, adjusting start and finish times, accommodating the needs of those with caring responsibilities at times during the day.
- Team members should have open lines of communication with their managers to support with the sharing of ideas, or to ask questions or raise concerns.
- Managers should proactively connect with their team members on a regular basis to ensure awareness of workload and job satisfaction.
Work Life Balanace and Wellbeing
- Don’t set unrealistic expectations or precedents.
- Don’t expect employees to be available around the clock when not contracted to be in work.
- Be aware of team members lives outside of work.
- Encourage boundaries and ensure annual leave is taken.
- Look at time off in lieu if additional hours are required for any reason.
- Consider what well being initiatives can be offered – stress management programs, gym subsidies, healthcare, employee assistance programs to name but a few.
Treating People Fairly
- This could be in relation to the distribution or workload, or reward.
- Consider your diversity policies, and mechanisms for dealing with grievances.
- Even if pay increases are not an option – are there any other mechanisms to increase reward.
- Examples include, bonus’, commission or referral schemes, increases in annual leave, voucher schemes, health care initiatives, employee of the month.
Ultimately if you can foster a culture where staff feel valued, where you encourage employees to be proud of their individual and collective achievements, support diversity and creativity and listen to staff, this will inevitably increase job satisfaction and improve your staff turnover rate. And for those that chose to leave anyway, they are more likely to leave having had a positive experience and informing others of your good reputation and fair treatment of staff.