How to reduce employee turnover

How to reduce employee turnover in 5 simple steps

We’ve all been there - signing a colleague’s leaving card to wish them well. But when that card costs you at least half the cost of that employee’s salary to replace them and it’s becoming a common occurrence, it’s time to make addressing the issue of employee attrition your business imperative.

Retaining talented staff is key to the success of any business, it’s long-term growth and sustainability. So why do good people leave and what can you do about it?

Whether you run your own business, are responsible for recruitment, or lead a team, here are five ideas you can implement to keep your best staff and maintain a happy, high performing, loyal workforce.

1) Show recognition

While a great salary and benefits package may well attract and secure your staff in the short-term, it’s never the remedy to beat attrition. Employees want and need to be recognised; for their efforts, their skills, their behaviour, their contributions. To show how much you value them can come in the very simplest of gestures; giving positive, timely feedback, having a peer-to-peer recognition scheme, listening to employee ideas and implementing them.

Over 90% of employees feel that recognition at work is important to them

It might surprise you to know that a simple, yet genuine ‘thank you’ is often all that’s needed for someone to feel valued and recognised for a job well done. And that doesn’t cost a penny. It just requires awareness of what’s going on in your team or business and a well-timed acknowledgement. If you do one thing better after reading this article, make giving recognition your personal focus. Write a personal email of thanks or call someone to say thank you for what they did. Chances are that showing your gratitude will make you feel great too.

2) Provide training & development opportunities

Before you baulk at the thought of the costs involved, just consider ...

the average cost of developing an employee is much cheaper than replacing them!

While there are many training or development options you can provide for your staff, they don’t all need to cost the earth. A mentoring or coaching scheme is a relatively low-cost way of investing in your people (provided you have employees with the right skills, time and attitude to coach, of course). It’s a great way to get employees to become more self-aware and find and own solutions for themselves too, making your business more efficient in the long-run.

Peer-to-peer learning forums are another way of up-skilling your people. With an investment of just their time, they can bring their challenges to the table and tap into peer expertise and ideas, or brainstorm solutions together. This effectively shares knowledge and builds relationships to drive efficiencies and innovation across your business.

Both of these ideas build personal bonds between your staff, which is another proven way to help fight attrition.

3) Don't underestimate the little things

It’s said that it was the last straw that broke the poor camel’s back and it’s the little niggles that might be the final push to drive away your talent. Make sure you know what your employees really want or need to make their working lives that bit simpler, easier or happier. Could your staff work from home or work more flexible hours? Might free tea, coffee or hot chocolate ease their day? Providing healthy free fruit might be appreciated to help maintain a healthier life and concentration levels? Having a book or DVD-swap area is a nice way to build a sense of community and belonging.

The simple act of encouraging people to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ as they come and go for the day helps create a caring, community environment.

Even letting staff attend a doctor’s appointment without having to work the time back speaks volumes about the kind of organisation you are. The little things WILL add up to create a better culture that your staff will want to remain a part of.

4) Build employee voice and a 'speak up' culture

Look for ways to interact with and listen to what your staff are saying - good or bad.

Having an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas, to feel valued for their contributions and truly listened to is a huge driver of employee engagement (and thus attrition reducer!).

It needn’t be an expensive employee staff survey, you can use free Google forms to do short ‘pulse’ surveys, encourage and organise employee forums, host leadership 'open-door' days or lunches and have suggestion boxes, all to help amplify your employee voice. Surely it’s better to know what works well or not within your organisation so you can create the right culture or affect change in a timely way rather than learning about it in the employee exit survey feedback.

5) Engender trust

Trust is such a BIG thing in successful organisations and definitely warrants a whole blog in its own right to give it the coverage it deserves. However, there are simple things anyone of us can do to build levels of trust within a team, network or business.

You can’t have trust without a human connection.

So, start by making sure you are personally connected with and are visible to your staff. You can simply make a coffee and chat to whoever else is by the kettle. Walk about the office - maybe avoid going straight to your office when you arrive and wander by people’s desks to say hello and ask about their weekend. Writing an email (or blog or vlog) to your staff saying what’s going on in your world (business and personal, please), not only keeps them informed about the company, but gives them insights on your life too. You’ll be surprised that people genuinely are interested in you, as a person. Plus it shows you are actually a real human being that they can feel better connected with. It also gives you a great conversation opener when you instigate conversations if you do the office walkabout or a site visit.

Another thing anyone can do to build trust is to do what you say you will.

If you’d can’t promise something or aren't sure of an answer, then say so. False or unfulfilled promises are the quickest way to erode trust. And since we know in business (and life!) that it isn’t always possible to fulfil our agreements, give your colleagues or employees the respect they deserve and explain why you didn't do what you said you would. If there’s an honourable, justifiable ‘why’ behind your change of intent, direction or decision, you'll be respected for your honesty and integrity.

Let’s just say, for the record, that not all attrition is bad.

We all know how poor performers or misfitting employees can negatively impact on the morale, well-being and productivity levels of your good people. So sometimes it’s good to just let those people go and wish them well.

A turnover rate of around 10% is considered healthy because hiring the right new talent brings fresh ideas and knowledge into your business, can invigorate your working atmosphere and inspire coworkers to think and work even better.

If you want to get to the root cause of the issues within your business and define and implement solutions that will work for you and your employees, then contact me here.  We can chat to see how I can help you.