Employee turnover can't be stopped - but here's how to reduce it



Imagine you’re heating your house in the winter, or cooling your house in the summer. Leaving the door open means any temperature change you manage to achieve, will be instantly lost. In other words, all the efficiency you’re trying to create, you lose.


It works very much the same well in a team. You may hear stories of companies hiring like crazy, but if these employees don’t stay, a whole new problem is created. In fact according to the Society for Human Resource Management, the cost of hiring a new employee after another leaves can reach as high as 50% - 60% of an employee’s annual salary.


Add that to the fact that a Gallup survey recently showed that 51% of workers asked were considering leaving their job in the short or medium term. The picture is clear - companies need to do more to retail their talent and close the door.



Voluntary vs involuntary turnover


It’s important to remember that employee turnover is a natural part of any company, and as a team leader you should understand that.


With that in mind there are two broad categories of turnover to look out for, defined by Bonusly: Voluntary turnover is when an employee leaves a company of their own decision. This could be due to external circumstances like relocation, retirement, family illness, a more enticing job offer, an interpersonal conflict, or a micromanager who's constantly blocking an employee's progress


Involuntary turnover occurs when an employee is asked or forced to quit their job prematurely by the company. Involuntary turnover can be due to unsatisfactory performance, layoffs, poor culture fit, committing a terminable offense, or absenteeism, for example


So how can you reduce your rate of employee turnover and build greater longevity on your team? There is no exact answer to this question but take a look at 4 ways to get started below.


1. Get your onboarding right


‘Hit the ground running’ is a phrase we hear used all too often. But the essence of onboarding is exactly this.


Not only should your new team members get the right context on their first tasks, it’s important you also invest the time to onboard any new people into your company culture, your toolset and meeting other members of the team.

As the infographic below highlights, onboarding can help people form essential bonds to your organisation that will make them stay. This ‘connectedness’ to the workplace goes beyond simply the purpose of your work and extends to the people, culture and overall feeling.


2. Encourage growth and wellness

We’ve mentioned this in previous posts but once again let’s look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Physiological needs for money are at the base of the pyramid with self-actualisation being top. Practically this means that every individual on a team needs to feel challenged, given opportunity to grow and have their priorities met.


Prioritising self-actualisation at the workplace goes beyond an employee health plan or a surplus number of paid holiday days. It’s about establishing a dialogue with each team member as an individual and ensure you are listening to their demands for personal growth.


Do they want to upskill or learn something new? Support them.

Do they feel unsure how to voice their concerns? Open up to them.

Do they want to propose a new idea? Embrace them.



3. Lead from behind

If you’ve heard the term ‘leading from behind’ or not, chances are you aren’t fully sure what exactly it means. Leading from behind is simply active leadership. It requires that a leader set clear goals, enable innovation and step forward in key moments to unlock everyone's potential.


This is crucial when it comes to softening employee turnover as you can apply many of the learnings of this leadership style. Being transparent and communicative with your team are the most obvious ways you can achieve this in the short term.


Expectation management, timelines and everything in between are all contingent on the ‘connection’ between you as a leader and your team. To keep people happy and staying longer, start by talking with them and thinking what you can share with them to bring them into the loop, not what you shouldn’t share with them.


4. Reward your talent


Lastly but not least, know your worth and the worth of your team. Talent should be rewarded appropriately for their contribution not just in terms of monetary remuneration but in the company culture that you build for them.

Company culture should be infused into your team environment so that each individual feels empowered to go above and beyond a simply 9-5.


Employee turnover will continue to be a natural part of your team’s growth cycle. As a recruiter and a team leader, start to think about ways you can foster openness, growth and reward on your team to ensure people stay longer. And remember that starting and ending a job may be stressful times but they are also critical junctures for your company culture.


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