Is your office emptying fast?

Human Resources 15th January 2019

Reduce your staff turnover – save costs

According to the jobs website, Indeed, the number of people looking for new jobs, rises by around 65% in January, compared with the rest of the year.  Some of these job-hunters will be new to the marketplace, perhaps graduates.  Others will be job-seeking as a result of redundancy.  However, inevitably a significant proportion will be looking to move jobs as a direct result of disenchantment with their current employers.

An expensive process

From several points of view, this is not a happy statistic.  Firstly, and most obviously, replacing employees is expensive.  The agency costs, the interviewing process, the expense of on-boarding and training – these all take their toll in terms of time and your bottom-line.  Also, not every new appointment works out.  In these cases, a few weeks or months down the line, you have to repeat the entire process.

There are less obvious consequences of high staff turnover.  For example, the domino effect.  David from your sales team is disgruntled and chooses to look elsewhere for work.  The inevitable workplace gossip leads to Jeanette, Sylvia and Sean thinking along similar lines and also handing in their notice.  Before, you know it, you’ve been forced to undergo the expense and hassle of replacing the entire sales team with a new intake of inexperienced workers.

Does this unfortunate scenario ring any bells?  If so, it might be tempting to blame the employees for being unmotivated, disloyal, greedy.  But – couldn’t at least some of the blame lie elsewhere?  Closer to home perhaps?  With your company, its policies and its ethos?

A good look in the mirror

If you’re losing more staff than you should be, why not take a look in the mirror first?  After all, you’re always being told how talent is your biggest asset.  Might it not be an idea to take more care of it?

When your people leave, productivity drops, morale sinks and other staff find themselves struggling under a heavier, workload until a replacement is found.

According to a recent survey by NodeSource, 37 per cent of 103 organisations surveyed worry about a dearth of talented people.  Some argue that with Brexit just around the corner, well-trained and motivated staff will be even scarcer than they are now.

What better way of preventing employees from leaving than to make your working conditions so favourable that they want to stay?  Let’s look at the most common reasons people give for moving jobs.

Your management philosophy

“Most people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their managers,” says Wendy Duarte Duckrey, vice president of recruiting at JPMorgan Chase.

The first place to look is your company’s management style –

Your people need to be working ‘for’ their ‘manager’.  You can see this in team sports.  Whether or not you follow sport, you’ll have heard the expression, ‘The manager has lost the dressing room’.  This is when the team members have no respect for the manager.  They don’t feel personally inspired or motivated.  Do your management team understand the value and power of good leadership?  Do they ‘get stuck in’ and lead from the front?  Do they personally care for their people?  Have they been effectively trained?  Should you be sending them on management courses?

Closely related to this is the question, ‘Do your employees feel valued?’  To quote a recent Prime Minister, do they feel that ‘we’re all in this together’ or do they feel neglected and ignored?  Does it seem that the management team are getting all the privileges, whereas they are forever taking the hit?  What systems do you have in place for your employees to feel they make suggestions, offer feedback?  Just by listening to employees’ concerns and making every effort to address them, can make a remarkable positive contribution to how they feel about your company.

People-oriented managers

David Stevens, at Valor Global, says, “One manager with poor people skills can do damage to the culture and effectiveness of a company in a short period of time — managers need to be people-oriented and able to harness their team’s talent and passion. Middle managers are a significant force in accomplishing the business objectives and are essential to the overall culture,”

How well trained are your people?  Are you keeping them up-to-date with new technology and processes?  One way to de-motivate your staff is to leave them struggling in the wake of innovation.  Bringing new ideas into your company can be a great way to inspire your staff, to motivate them.  But without adequate training, such innovation can have the opposite effect.

Horses for courses

If you find you have an employee who’s great at their particular role, you might make the mistake of promoting them into a managerial position.  Don’t kid yourself that their skills are instantly transferrable to management.  This could damage the morale of, both the staff member and their former colleagues.  Job movement within a company doesn’t have to be in an upward direction.  Staff might just as well be motivated by moving laterally – by being offered a role at the same level as their current one, but involving new training and different processes.

Communication and feeling valued

Communication needs to begin at the beginning.  It’s vital, at the interview stage, you make clear the structure of your company and outline any promotion prospects that there might be.  Of course, it’s unwise to promise promotion where such prospects don’t exist, but equally, by making sure that every prospective employee appreciates where future opportunities lie and what they will have to do to take advantage of them.

It’s not enough to leave communication with your people to an annual appraisal and the suggestions box. Far better to encourage frequent, structured ongoing communication.  This can be via team meetings, one-on-one meetings or even everyday contact.  Take the last of these – a great way to make your employees feel valued is to take a personal interest.  If you’re a manager, make sure you’re seen around the office.  Chat with your people.  Ask about their holiday, their weekend, the health of their family.  Just occasionally, make it your turn to make the coffee.

Don’t simply demand that your people should exceed your expectations.  You need to exceed theirs.  Just occasionally, offer them a little more than they were expecting.  You understand that they’re feeling a little unwell.  Give them the opportunity to go home early before they have to ask.  Give them small tokens of time-off or benefit.  Show flexibility with your policies.  In the long run, you’ll inspire them to do the same for your company.  Yes – these might seem to be ‘little things’, but as you know, they all count.

Getting ahead

One of the main reasons that staff give for jumping ship is they feel that they’re not being given the chance to move ahead.  Personal ambition, correctly channelled, can be a valuable quality.  Your staff may enjoy their work, cherish working with the team and be happy with their pay.  But, some employees need to feel that there is something in it for them – that their career prospects are not being suffocated.

Clarity is all

Be sure that your employees know about the vision, mission and goals of your company and their individual departments.  Are they clear about their own role in achieving these goals?  They need to feel they have a stake in your company and in its future.  Confusion and ignorance can be terribly de-motivating.

Throughout industry and commerce, there is a growing shortage of talent.  To keep your top talent and to save the expense of recruitment, be sure that the ‘softer’ elements are ingrained in your company culture.  Give your people space and the opportunity to grow, to feel valued and to have the sense that they belong.

At Gravitas HR, we’re experts in Employee Engagement and Retention.  Find out more and get in touch.  Remember – we’re here to help.
For straight-talking HR advice – 01604 763494
Or email –

It’s our pleasure to keep our clients happy

  • Zinc
  • Growth Deck
  • Billing Finance
  • Shoosmiths
  • PBC
  • hdn
  • Millers Consultancy
  • Pyke Smith Cutler
  • LMH
  • Baker Taylor