Sometimes, staff turnover is inevitable. Employees have complex lives with a multitude of factors which could cause them to leave a place of employment, including retirement, moving away, a change of priorities, or the desire to start something new. However, in most cases, a satisfied employee will think twice before taking the plunge and starting the job search once again. The employee wellbeing experts at Loopin have identified the six major reasons for staff turnover, and what employers can do to prevent it.
The first reason for staff turnover may seem obvious, but it is worth mentioning; little opportunity for growth. When a job does not provide any way for employees to progress beyond their current roles, skills, and responsibilities, it is natural for them to start looking elsewhere for a long-term career. A key way to overcome this problem is to promote existing employees who show promise rather than hiring externally. Providing training can also be a solid way to not only improve the skills of employees, but also to show them that their employer is interested in being a part of their personal development and career progression.
Another issue comes down to lack of communication. When employees do not receive feedback from their employers, it is easy for them to slip into imposter syndrome, apathy, or the belief that their role is unimportant. Even if there is nothing about an employee’s work itself to address, regular one-ones with superiors can give staff the chance to bring up issues, aspirations, and ideas that they may not feel are worthy of asking for a meeting themselves. By having these points of contact pre-set in the schedule of the workplace, employees will feel that they are being looked after, and that their contributions are valued. Complete radio silence between employer and employee can lead to anxiety, uncertainty, and ultimately dissatisfaction in their role.
While frequent, open communication is essential to employee happiness, it is also important to avoid micromanagement. Employees should feel supported and guided when necessary, not fearful of the smallest mistakes. I’m sure that most of us have experienced the feeling of working with someone looking over your shoulder, and we know that our productivity plummets as a result, so why put employees in that same position? Occasionally, at the start of a role, some level of micromanagement might be necessary, but it is vital that this stage be kept as short as possible. Instead, it is much better to set expectations, delegate tasks, and make it clear that employees are free to ask questions if need be.
Post-pandemic, more employees than ever are looking for a more flexible approach to their work lives. A major way to facilitate this is offering a work-from-home option, but even if that isn’t possible, offering flexible hours is a great way to ensure that employees have a way to make work fit their schedule. Focusing more on task completion and overall progression than actual hours worked boots productivity. An employee may ask themselves, “If I have to be here until 5PM anyway, why would I get the job done any faster?” instead of thinking, “Once I finish the job, I’m done for the day, so I’ll work efficiently.” Additionally, those using public transport, dealing with traffic, or taking children to school are more likely to switch to a job which allows them the flexibility to take care of their needs outside of work.
An overworked employee will either move on to a new job where their responsibilities match their pay or face burnout and leave for mental health reasons. Either way, working employees to the point of exhaustion is a sure-fire way to lose effective workers and guarantee that the reputation of the company will go down amongst the talent pool of potential employees. To combat this, it again comes down to communication. One-to-one meetings will give employees a chance to address concerns of burnout before it reaches that stage and setting expectations early will help prevent a mismatch of effort expended and compensation. Overworking employees deliberately is simply a bad business practice and catching unseen problems early can be achieved with a bit of communication.
The best way to prevent employee turnover and ensure a happy, productive work environment is to choose employees very carefully. Rushing into decisions quickly and hiring the first qualified candidate can lead to situations where the new employee does not feel motivated in their position, and therefore leaves quickly or is unable to tend to their responsibilities. Having a clear job description is essential, as it allows potential employees to decide for themselves whether the role is something they really want, and a well thought out interview process can ensure that a new employee is truly the right fit.
When dealing with high rates of employee turnover, it may be easy to rush to the same tired conclusions of “there’s no company loyalty anymore”, “young people want everything handed to them on a silver platter, they’re not up for a challenge,” and the like. The truth of the matter is that all employees require motivation, progression, and understanding to thrive in the workplace. The post-pandemic work landscape is focused much more heavily on mental health, wellbeing, and fairness, so if a company will not provide these things, it is certain that employees will find one that will.