Parting shots

Parting shots

While some level of employee turnover is inevitable, there are a number of practical tips to keep it under control, says recruitment firm absoluteIT.

Every time an employee resigns, it costs your company time, money and effort to replace them. Research suggests the cost of staff turnover is approximately one-and-a-half times the departing employee's salary. As such, it's not hard to see why staff retention has become a major priority for many New Zealand employers. Our research has shown the main reasons why people leave their jobs tend to fall into one of the following 10 categories:

Understaffing: Are your employees expected to carry an unrealistic workload that sees them working long hours day after day without respite or promise of a better future?

Poor communication: Are management communicating with staff in an open, transparent and timely manner?

Lack of challenge: Are departing employees saying they needed more responsibility, and do they seek opportunities that just don't exist in your current organisation?

Lack of empowerment: Are staff empowered to make reasonable decisions in their job? Or is micro-management the rule?

No recognition: Are employees being recognised for their efforts, over and above their pay packet? Does this recognition occur in both 'manager-to-employee' and 'manager-to-team' situations?

Limited work-life options: Are you flexible with job sharing, maternity/ paternity/study leave? Are employees able to work part-time or from a home office?

Poor company culture: Are there ethical issues at conflict with what the company says its culture represents and how it actually operates?

The employee's life situation has changed: Have departing employees just married or had a baby? Are their salary and benefits no longer supportive of their life needs?

Questionable promotional practices: Has management promoted someone who lacks the training and/or necessary experience to supervise, alienating staff and driving away good employees?

No enjoyment: Have departing employees simply stopped having fun at work and enjoying their jobs?

So what can you do about it?

There are a number of practical tips to help you retain your valued employees:

No matter how busy you are, consider just how much busier you will become if you lose one of your team. Take five minutes every day to think about your people and identify one thing they have done that was good. Pick up the phone or walk to their desk - and thank them for it.

Determine whether another position, temporary or permanent, needs to be created to relieve the pressure from the employee who is clearly overworked. Recognise that with any employee that is overworked something has to give - usually either they leave or their work suffers.

Gather feedback from staff on the effectiveness of management communications and organise training for management in the areas identified as weaknesses.

Consider options like cross-training employees, and transfers to other areas of the company to ensure employees remain focused, challenged and grow their skill base.

Work with the employee to identify a career path within your organisation that takes the employee where they want to go and help them make this happen.

Empower staff to make decisions. Reinforce that you have faith in their ability to 'do the right thing'.

Consider all of the non-financial ways to recognise and reward people and <p/>make it your personal challenge to try each one with your employees. Personnel recognition in front of peers, for example, often brings far greater satisfaction to employees than any monetary reward can bring.

Consider ways to add more fun and enjoyment into your work environment. Reward efforts with fun outings such as team sailing days, staff picnics, or consider hiring a masseuse to help relax staff as they go about their work.

While most experts agree some level of employee turnover is inevitable, even essential in order to attract new ideas, energy and enthusiasm into a business, consistently high levels of staff turnover negatively impact both the bottom line and staff morale. You can help keep your staff turnover rates under control by hiring wisely, understanding why people are leaving, and making proactive changes to prevent your current employees from leaving for the same reasons.

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