Staff turnover can be a costly business. With each employee who leaves to move goes a great deal of investment, in both time and money. In the worst case scenario, turnover can have a snowball effect, causing other employees to follow suit and leaving you scrambling to reassemble your staff resources.
Every employer faces the challenge of staff turnover. But how do you, the employer, determine whether the level of turnover you experience is normal / average for your industry or if there are underlying problems with your staff or the working environment?
Here is our checklist of things you can do to ensure that your staff remain engaged and happy and turnover is reduced to its natural minimum:
Review Your Hiring / Firing History
It is healthy to look back and review this each year if possible, or every couple of years. There are many online tools to help you calculate your precise turnover rate. If your turnover rate is higher than 12-15% you probably have some issues to address. If it is significantly higher (i.e. 25%+) then you should be seriously concerned.
In examining your staff turnover you first need to determine what has been due to external factors beyond your control – such as family issues, relocation, change of circumstances etc – and what has been prompted by internal factors that you could control, reduce or alter completely.
Review Your Hiring and 'On-boarding' Process
Consider the possibility that it may not be your workplace that is the issue – you could simply be hiring the wrong people, who therefore do not thrive in the job. Review your interviewing questions and techniques, as well as looking at the staff who are making the hiring decisions. The hiring process should be successful in finding candidates who are not only capable and qualified for the job, but who also fit into the work environment and want to stay long term.
The first 90 days of employment is a critical time period for any new hire. You may need to review your training and orientation procedures to ensure that they are as effective as they could be. Look for ways to help make new employees feel more confident and comfortable in their new role.
Provide Regular Feedback
Engaging in regular feedback sessions and providing appropriate affirmation for a job well done is a good way of letting people know that they are valued and are contributing effectively to the success of the business. Employees tend to be hungry for feedback that will help them thrive in the workplace. A weekly 'keep-doing, start-doing, stop-doing' session can be a fast and very effective way of helping employees to feel valued and that their voice is being heard.
Conduct Exit Interviews For Every Departure
If you are unsure why people are leaving, you could investigate by asking leavers detailed questions and, if necessary, reading between the lines! Often people don't reveal their real reasons for leaving, since professional staff always try to not burn bridges with former places of employment, which is a diplomatic and professional way to exit. This is why some insightful interpretation of the results is necessary.
Exit interviews should be formal and standardised – using the same questions for everyone where possible. The key to gaining the benefit from this procedure is to follow up on the results. Gather your management team to discuss the findings of your survey, then develop strategies to address issues of concern regarding any grievances that have been expressed. Look for patterns – e.g. a number of employees all citing a particular issue. If this is the case, it's time to make some changes.
Having assessed your turnover rate and analysed staff feedback, here are some of the ways in which you can improve the work environment and counteract potential problems before they occur:
Employee Recognition Schemes
Creating increased opportunities for recognition in the workplace helps employees to feel valued and important, which in turn generates loyalty towards the employer.
Improve Your Incentives and Perks
Create more ways in which employees can earn rewards, such as additional holiday time, bonuses, material rewards etc.
Remove Negative Influences
If you have one 'rotten apple' in the bunch in can spoil an entire team. This can be a tricky and sensitive issue to address, but it is important because just one negative or uncooperative team member can adversely influence an entire team. Take steps to address such behaviour.
Reduce Stress In The Workplace
Any way in which you can improve efficiencies or simplify processes in the workplace will contribute to a reduction in the stress on your employees and improve the working atmosphere. There are also more direct ways to reduce stress such as offering therapeutic support for mental and physical health or by planning social events that help your team play, as well as work, together.