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Reducing a high turnover of staff

Excessive staff turnover means increased expenditure on recruitment and training. But that is not the only cost to your business.

It can induce low morale and productivity among the remaining staff, damage the reputation of your firm, and incur increased production or service costs. Staff may also infer that there are management problems.

Unless you retain staff for a reasonable period of time, your business is unlikely to be able to provide the quality goods and services required to remain competitive.

In the long run, it pays to find out why staff leave, particularly if they do so on a voluntary basis. Also establish whether it is new or established staff that tend to move on.

If staff leave during probationary periods it might be because they feel the training is inadequate. Perhaps they feel under qualified, overqualified, or just that they don't fit in.

Before recruiting staff, ensure that interviewers are proficient at interviewing and able to focus more on the interviewee than on their own performance.

Newer staff should be aware of the skills you expect them to bring to the company, be able to call on the help of supervisors or other staff, and have enough information about the structure, focus, and direction of company to feel they understand the way it operates within, for example, one week.

Losing longer-term employees can be harder to handle since they take with them a resource of knowledge about the company, and their absence may leave a substantial hole in your business. Again, find out why they are leaving and gauge what they viewed in a positive or negative light.

Here are some points to consider when looking to reduce turnover of long-term staff:

  • Keep employees informed about company developments - for example, new products, services, equipment and orders
  • Give employees scope for development and promotion
  • Offer meaningful training programmes
  • Show employees the 'human face' of management
  • Ensure pay levels are competitive for the industry
  • Allow employees reasonable opportunities to discuss systems, methods, and grievances - 'keep your door open'
  • Wherever possible be flexible with regard to working hours - employees often regard this as a perk
  • Avoid imposing undue demands and stresses on the most productive members of your staff