Posted by nyssa on May 14, 2012 in , ,

Bob the Manager storms into his assistant’s office.

“Jane, I can’t believe it, another one has resigned what is wrong with people. This is the third resignation I have had to deal with in a short period of time. Clearly we are recruiting the wrong type of people the last three have been unmotivated, lazy and unreliable. Call HR and get them to start the recruitment process again!”

A common mistake for management is to assume that it is always the employee’s fault (inability to fit in or cope)turnover and never a bigger company-wide issue. The way I see it employee turnover is a symptom – not a problem. No company has a turnover problem. Turnover (like absenteeism or conflict) is the result of deeper issues that have not been resolved. Turnover triggers could be low morale, lack of training, no career path, lack of recognition, poor employee-manager relationships and the list goes on.

In an economic climate where there is intense hiring competition and a global war for talent in key regions and industries, my questions to employers are “Why would an employee want to stay at your company? How do you compare to your competition? Do you really know what it is like to be an employee in your own company?”

I am not writing this blog to dictate how to retain your staff. Anyone can google the top 10 ways to retain your staff. The purpose of this blog is to get you thinking. If you expect you have a turnover issue at your company simply providing perks like flexible working hours or a monthly morning tea isn’t going to solve the underlying issues. If turnover is a symptom and not a problem you need to find out what triggers are causing the symptom.

Almost all current talent management and recruiting metrics are backward looking, in that they tell you what happened in the past. The time has come for forward-looking metrics to lead the way they cannot only improve decision-making but they can also help to prevent or mitigate future talent problems.

• Exit Interviews: Conduct exit interviews to determine the core reason for someone exiting the company. A lot can be learnt from an exiting employee regarding a company’s culture, job support, positive and negative aspects of the role or company.
• Onboarding: Have a solid onboarding process with follow up! Regular support and mentoring of new staff to assist with highlighting any additional training needs or teething problems that could escalate down the track.
• Tracking Headcount: Track your employee resignations on a monthly basis, on a job specific basis or on a cyclical basis. Is there a trend? Are people resigning after a certain period? If so why? Investigate what is triggering the resignations…
• Employee Engagement Survey: Outsourced or anonymous employee engagement surveys. What is staff happy and not happy with? Could these factors be affecting morale, performance, productivity, profits etc? How do you track these factors?
• Performance Management: Performance appraisals that correlate into actions – more training, disciplinary action, career development plans, succession planning.

Almost every survey shows that despite high engagement scores, more than a majority of employees are willing to quit their current job as soon as a better opportunity comes along. If that is the case then turnover rates in high demand occupations could be a real issue. Rather than the traditional “one-size-fits-all” retention strategy, a targeted personalised approach will be required to have a reasonable chance to retain top talent.

So I will leave you with this question. Are you doing anything to reduced turnover in your company or are you embracing it?

Chanelle Stewart – Consultant

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