What You Can do to Slow Down a High Staff Turnover


Whether your organisation suffers from a higher than usual turnover or not, it benefits organisation to look to slow the rate of unwanted people turnover. In the war for talent, it pays significant dividends to retain good people. Kate Keaney, CEO at Connor.co.uk, the People and Organisational Change experts, explores how experienced leaders, line managers and HR professionals can take fresh approaches to talent retention.

Staff turnover is natural, however high, or increasing rates of turnover can be expensive, damaging to morale and can negatively impact external reputation.  You may also see reduced productivity, resulting from the time it takes for new hires to be recruited and onboarded leading to extra stress, pressure and long hours being soaked up by the current team.

Start with the end in mind, you can’t improve what you don’t measure

Despite the undoubtable impact improved talent retention can have in today’s cost-constrained VUCA market (Volatile, Uncertain, Complexand Ambiguous), talent retention initiatives that start life without a watertight business case supported by actively tracked performance metrics are unlikely to make it across the line.

For this reason, our first approach with any client is to support them to identify the compelling case for ROI, starting with a base-line figure of an average cost-per-hire and current talent attrition metrics to measure and determine the impact of your actions.

Empowering your Managers to Manage

When it comes to increasing staff retention through cultural change, one of the most effective ‘strides’ you can take is addressing manager-level development. The relationship with our line manager, or seemingly lack of it, is one of the most common causes of people becoming disengaged with an organisation and then they leave. As the saying goes, “people leave managers, not organisations”.

Whether through one to one coaching or via cost-effective group sessions, organisations can equip managers to develop their leadership behaviours, such as motivational goal setting, leading and communicating through change and emotional intelligence training, a positive cultural ripple effect can be created whichin our experience leads to reduced staff turnover.

Outsource employee relations to experts

Managing employee relations situations can be incredibly complex and time consuming for managers and HR teams alike and this reduces the strategic contribution everyone can make. It’s a little-known fact that employee relations case management is increasingly becoming outsourced to onsite experts. ER is litigious, it requires up to the minute case law knowledge and deep skills in stakeholder management, which often in-house teams don’t have. Outsourcing can add valuable objectivity and external trend analysis to your employee relations, enabling in-house teams to focus on strategic priorities.

Connor successfully supports, amongst others, a global manufacturing and a leading pharmaceutical company with all of their UK employee relations case management. As a client recently commented “We haven’t had a single grievance or employee appeal against the employee relations decisions made, which is a staggering statistic.”

Actively support your people through their life transitions

It’s important to remember that your organisation’s talent does not exist in a vacuum; all employees’ careers are set in the context of their unique personal lives and the significant events, which affect their needs. With more of the population in work and for much longer, employees’ circumstances can change numerous times over the course of their career.

Many organisations are providing short to mid-term support to people who are going through significant life transitions, to help them cope effectively. Specifically, those returning to work after career breaks – maternity, caring for sick children/relatives, compassionate leave, or even divorce.

Ernst & Young reported that 10% of women don’t return after maternity and a further drop of an additional 20% leave in the following two years. For one of our large public sector clients, over 50% of their female employees were leaving voluntarily each year and doing so within two years of maternity leave.

There can be significant talent retention payback for organisations that support and coach employees through their life transitions to help harmonise the worklife balance.

To summarise

In conclusion, it’s easy to blame external reasons for high staff turnover, however looking within the company (and deploying a little creative ‘outside the box’ thinking) can slow the rate of unwanted staff turnover.

Author: Editor

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