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Top tips for reducing staff turnover & retaining the best staff

Having a high turnover of staff can be costly in terms of both time and money and can prevent growth of a business. It is an issue faced by many businesses and is usually indicative that there are management problems within the organisation.

The impact of high turnover of staff includes:

• Recruitment costs;
• Management time in dealing with recruitment procedures;
• Lack of productivity during notice periods;
• Extra pressure on remaining staff;
• Management time in training;
• Low productivity during initial period of new employee’s employment;
• Loss of knowledge and skills.

Fortunately, high turnover of staff is something that can be resolved with a few changes to the culture and management within the business.

1. Acknowledge that you have an issue

The first step in resolving the issue is to recognise that it is an issue. Keeping statistics and monitoring what is happening with staff who are leaving. Which departments have the problem? Is there a common theme?

2. Identifying what is causing the issue by holding exit interviews with departing staff

This does not have to be a formal process, and regardless of whether your turnover of staff is high or not I recommend that all employers speak to departing employees to ascertain their reasons for leaving and their honest opinion of your organisation.

It is a good exercise to listen to departing employees and learn from what they are telling you about the business.

There will of course be employees who do not tell you the truth as to why they are leaving and there are those that will be aggrieved regardless of what happened, but in the vast majority of cases, departing employees will give you an honest response, and often times more honest than the feedback they would have provided had they remained employed.

If you do not feel comfortable having a discussion with departing employees, you could issue them with a questionnaire and ask them to complete it or an online survey.
Best practice would be to issue a questionnaire and then follow up with a discussion.

3. Speak to employees and find out whether they are happy

Ensure that you are regularly assessing employee feelings and morale by talking to them, be present and ensure that your managers are listening and feeding back what employees are telling them.

4. Mystery shop your managers and supervisors to see how they are behaving when you are not around;

In much the same way as you would mystery shop from a customer perspective I recommend that you do this for your managers and supervisors to ensure that you are getting a true picture of what happens on a day to day basis.

See how they are behaving and treating employees when you are not around.

5. Talk to customers and other local business owners to find out what they have heard about your business

Find out what others think of your business as a place to work, what have they heard about working for you? What can you learn from this? If necessary appoint a third party to undertake the work for you, collate it and feedback to you.

6. Talk to local recruitment companies and agents to see what information they receive on the ground about your business

In the same way as point 5 above this will give you an objective view of what messages are being sent about working at your organisation.

7. Make new staff feel welcome and have good induction process

Make it your intention to give employees the best working environment possible by starting as you mean to go on.

Set the foundation for your relationship and how you will treat them in future.

8. Train and develop employees

Keeping good quality and skilled employees in your organisation means that you are going to have to invest in them and ensure that they do not stagnate.

Many of the best employees are ambitious and/or have goals they wish to achieve, you can help to keep them in your business by providing opportunities. These do not have to be costly and could be as simple as shadowing colleagues or acting up when a more senior colleague is on holiday.

9. Consider all employees as individuals

No-one likes to think of themselves as a number or just another employee, we all like to feel valued and appreciated for who we are.

If you are the business owner, where possible, get to know your employees, address them by name and ensure you know what they do.

Recognise the individual contribution to your team and to the success of your business.

10. Offer incentives to stay in employment at your business

This does not have to be monetary incentives, and in fact research shows that money is not the key driving factor in most people’s decisions to stay or leave an organisation.

If you find it hard to recruit in your area due to a skills shortage, why not ask your existing employees what is most important to them and introduce it across the board.

Consider offering employees flexible working, incentives such as share schemes or private medical cover. Look at what your competitors are offering their employees.

Finally, try not to be bitter when someone leaves & think carefully about how you treat them on departure

If the reputation of your business is important, especially in this age of social media and connectivity across a wide audience, it is prudent to treat departing employees well, regardless of how you feel about their leaving. Former employees can be great advocates for your business to customers and potential future employees.

If your business has a reputation for treating their staff badly then it will impact on who wants to come and work for you in future and on decisions customers make.

Try to treat departing employees in the same way you would when an employee starts working for you – positively and proactively.

 This article was written and researched by Alison Colley, Solicitor and Director of Real Employment Law Advice

 Don’t forget getting advice from a Solicitor does not have to be complicated or costly!

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The information contained in this blog post is provided for guidance and is a snapshot of the law at the time it is written. It is provided for your information only and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice that it specific to your particular circumstances.

The guidance should not be relied upon in any decision making process. It is strongly recommended that you seek advice before taking action.

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