High employee turnover is a challenge for companies. The impact is costly for businesses. Understanding why your staff leaves your company is key to reducing employee turnover.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes face a variety of challenges. While at the top of the list is how to consistently bring in lucrative revenues for the company, reducing the employee turnover rate is not far behind. It is understandable that always sporting zero employee turnover is near impossible. After all, you are dealing with unpredictable humans who vary with time.
However, if you learn to detect the early signs and be proactive, you can prevent your staff from leaving. Armed with relevant solutions, you can convince them to stay and continue to be productive for the company. Most employee turnover is salvageable. However, comprehend first the detrimental effects of a high turnover on the company.
Impact of staff leaving your company
Based on a recent survey, the employee attrition rate of organisations worldwide showed an overall increase between 2013 and 2021; this is a worthy note for all business owners. Do not discount the significance of one employee leaving because losing one employee and hiring another is costly.
According to the US Department of Labour, it costs about 33% of a recruit’s salary to replace ONE employee; this is significant. Imagine if a few left, your company is hit by a massive run-up of costs. You need to invest time in recruiting and shortlisting a list of suitable candidates; this can take months on end to identify and onboard the replacement.
Don’t forget the additional benefits and costs of recruiting and onboarding; this is on top of the salary expenses. Also, the replacement has a learning curve. It takes time to get up to speed. In the meantime, the new hire registers lower productivity levels and can make mistakes which negatively impacts the overall deliverables and lower customer satisfaction ratings.
Your staff will be burdened with the extra workload and guide the new hire. They will feel disgruntled and unmotivated to continue. Can you take this hit financially and in terms of productivity? The answer is obvious – ‘No’. Hence, what can you do?
Understanding and addressing why your staff leaves your company is key to preventing these mishaps. It also helps position your company to attract and retain productive employees. Stop fire-fighting. Prevention is better than cure, so proactively invest in employee retention to keep your business sailing smoothly. Let’s take a look at some of the common reasons why your staff leaves your company.
Need a healthier work-life balance
Many companies mistakenly shrug off the importance of a healthy work-life balance. While an employer naturally wants the most out of the employees, don’t forget that each employee has a personal life. They appreciate the time with family and friends to be happy and maintain a healthy mind. Unfortunately, most employees work to the bone daily, not sparing weekends.
Constantly working overtime, having too much on the plate, and being hounded by superiors outside of working hours will drive your staff away. Your employee is burnt out and has no breaks in between. No wonder the employee wants to exit your company.
What you can do
Distribute work fairly across your organisation. Your management team has to step up their game and collaborate closely with their respective teams. Set a periodic check-in to discuss the assigned tasks, help them prioritise tasks, and encourage two-way conversations. Gathering feedback is a simple way of nipping things at the bud before exploding.
Although it is common to ask your staff to wear several hats, be conscientious of their current workload and find out if they have difficulty focusing on different tasks at a time. Also, remember to respect your staff’s lives outside of work. Doing so is rewarding. They become more motivated, look forward to working, and become more engaged and productive.
Toxic work environment
People have colourful characters. As such, some will jive, and some won’t. The more your staff work together, the more risks for friction to occur. After all, there are no two identical people on earth. Hence, tension can soar among team members, impacting deliverables and the company.
Also, favouritism is more common than you think in companies. People are exceptionally alert to such inequities. When the superior’s favourite employee gets special treatment, others get angry. And while your staff is fuming in silence, matters escalate when playing favourites turn into prejudice and unconscious bias. If left unchecked, this can cause discrimination.
What you can do
Be alert to any signs of discontent between team members. Be proactive and take the first step to break the ice. Soothe the friction between them by hearing out both parties. Reason with them, clear up any misunderstanding and then move forward with a clean slate. Treat your staff as adults and expect them to behave as such; this is where your people management skills come in.
That said, there could be varied facets within a team that can cause your staff to leave your company, making the task more challenging. That said, people prefer to work with like-minded colleagues to whom they can relate better and contribute equally. While it is not practical to put like-minded employees together at all times, it is good to keep this in mind when forming your teams.
As far as favouritism goes, don’t play favourites. Drill this into your management team. Go through your work policies to ensure no unfair discrimination and that they are equitable. Make a conscious effort to treat everyone fairly and give everyone an equal chance to shine and succeed. Don’t discriminate. If you do, expect to draw the ire of your staff.
Lack of respect or trust
Being a leader, sometimes one falls into a role when you shout out orders to your subordinates. You want to run a tight ship as you want results. However, your staff are no longer little kids that teachers raise their voices to get things moving; they are adults. Many quit their jobs because they feel disrespected at work.
Whether by superiors or colleagues, feeling disrespected builds with time. It can take a simple form of how managers speak to the staff, the words, or the assigned tasks. Whatever it is, feeling disrespected worsens over time if left unchecked.
Feeling untrusted by their superiors is another leading cause. Your staff is on a tight leash, and managers heavily scrutinise everything they do. Your employees are restricted, suffocated, and stressed because they feel unworthy and not good enough to gain trust. Also, they do not have the autonomy to be more creative and deliver optimally.
What you can do
Your employees must understand that they earn respect and trust through time. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your staff. Listen but also set the right expectations from the start. Be firm but also be prepared to be flexible. Although respect and trust do not come easily, you can kickstart things by giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Your staff deserves respect. You may be the boss, but they are the ones on the ground getting things moving to bring revenues for the business. Be kind and treat them as how you wish them to treat you. That said, be careful to draw the line to remind them you are still their boss.
For example, if your company encounters a hacked website incident, don’t come down hard on them immediately and condescendingly scold them. Instead, once the website is secured and patched, listen and find out what happened before passing any unfair judgement.
Poor company culture
Your staff spends most of their time at the office. Hence, your workplace culture intertwines with your staff’s satisfaction and fulfilment. The company culture you foster determines how your employees feel about their jobs. Your staff leaves if they are unhappy or feel conflicted with your company culture.
A poor company culture typically covers a wide range of things, such as unclear mission and vision, questionable company values, lack of transparency, not being employee-oriented, and more.
What you can do
Conduct surveys and gather feedback from your staff on the company culture. Find out what makes them tick and what doesn’t. Then be prepared to make the necessary changes to enforce a more positive and wholesome company culture. Craft a long-term plan surrounding your staff and conduct regular town hall sessions.
Develop a work culture that positively affects how your staff works, learns and interacts with others. Then your staff can relate better and feel engaged with your company. They will give their all to the success of the business.
With the pandemic still looming over us, many have opted for remote work, which comes with its benefits; this led to employees wanting some autonomy in their work life to enjoy greater flexibility. Hence, employees gravitate towards a workplace that offers flexible work scheduling as long as work gets done.
Just as your staff has different work demands, so do they have varying personal demands. As such, they prefer a more lenient schedule. 40% of employees would rather quit their jobs than return to the office full-time; this is a significant figure worth considering.
What you can do
While it is understandable why you shirk allowing work flexibility, including working remotely, you cannot deny that more companies are jumping on the work flexibility bandwagon. And if you don’t get on board, you only lose out to others who will. There are many collaboration tools and applications that you can leverage to help resolve your concerns with flexibility at work.
But first of all, set the right expectations from the start and enforce the relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to govern all forms of work flexibility. If done right, affording your staff some flexibility at work can be rewarding for you and your team.
The superiors are no good
Many employees quit their superiors and not the company. Sad but true. Having a bad manager can ruin an employee. You cannot expect everyone to get along with everyone. Clashes happen here and there. However, it doesn’t mean you resign to fate and let things play out, as a manager can either make or break an employee.
Sometimes it is not a personality clash but more of the manager being unsupportive, unkind, discriminating, disrespectful, and lacking. If you have a team of highly effective managers, you can bet your bottom dollar that your staff will stay and remain loyal to your company.
What you can do
If you want things to sail smoothly, get it right from the get-go. Do the necessary due diligence and hire the right-fit-to-your-business managers. No matter how senior a person is, not everyone can play the manager role well. Vet through your hires thoroughly and get someone suited for managing and working with the team.
Follow up with the appropriate regular manager training. You want to equip your managers with the right tools and skill sets to be productive and efficiently deliver. A competent manager creates a cohesive working environment for the team, thus earning loyalty from the staff. Finally, keep tabs on your managers to avoid any unforeseen blowups.
Need career growth with more salary and perks
Once your staff feels they have learned enough and cannot improve anymore, they start to get antsy. People want to learn and progress. They want to advance by taking on different challenges to motivate them; this is only natural in the career development journey. However, if you deprive them of any advancement opportunities, they will leave your company.
Also, after a couple of years in the same position in the company, your staff expects a promotion. After all, they want to climb the ladder to advance and enjoy a higher salary and better perks. Most believe that leaving a company for greener pastures seems the fastest way to get a promotion and secure more money.
What you can do
Since losing an employee is costly, it makes sense to invest in them to improve employee retention. Take on the relevant training and development programs to build your staff. You will have to keep your doors open and be approachable to offer an enticing path for career development.
Have honest conversations with each of them to identify their pain points and discuss how to overcome them. Sometimes, your staff may not know what they want or how to craft a suitable career path. You can help guide them. Show that you care about them and their future, and you mean it. Workshops and seminars are among the few that you can start your staff.
It is a lot of hard work to consistently do this but well worth all your effort once you exact their feedback into valuable action. Also, instead of skimping on increments and bonuses (provided the company is doing well), you should spend your money wisely on giving your star performers the increment and promotions they deserve. It may cost you more when your staff leaves.
Don’t forget to improve your benefits on offer. Including the usual benefits (medical, insurance, more annual leave, and others) with the more unconventional ones (low-interest loans, onsite childcare, and more) go a long way to satisfying your staff.
Have a good look at your company’s turnover. If it is low, congratulations to you, but if not, you should go through the above. Take action promptly and identify the real reasons for your high turnover rate. Understanding why your staff leaves your company is essential to designing effective solutions to encourage them to stay.