9 Tips for improving employee retention

April 4th, 2017 at 2:48 pm in #, #, #, #, #, #, #, Uncategorized by welovework

What do you consider to be one of the greatest challenges of building a sustainable, profitable business? Ask a CEO, entrepreneur, or manager and they may tell you the same thing—finding and keeping great employees.

There are some shocking statistics out there on the inter-web about recruitment and retention and about just how much people seem to hate their jobs or want a career change. Here are a few!

  • 66% of UK millennials (aged 18-34) want a career change vs 47% of the total UK workforce.
  • According to new research by the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), which interviewed 1,000 male and female professionals of different age groups from across the UK, an overwhelming 47% want to change jobs and more than one in five are looking to career hop in the next 12 months.
  • 80% of people on LinkedIn don’t enjoy or hate their job
  • Replacing an employee cost on average £30,000

I don’t know how conclusive these statistics are but it’s still a pretty bleak picture nonetheless.

Focusing on replacing staff for a moment, there are a number of additional factors which can lead to significant differences in staff replacement costs.

On average new employees in SMEs (1-250 workers) take 24 weeks to reach optimum productivity, compared to 28 weeks for larger firms with over 250 workers. What’s more, micro businesses (1-9 workers) take an even shorter amount of time to reach optimum productivity at just 12 weeks.

The report, carried out by Oxford Economics, analysed the cost implication of staff turnover in five different sectors: Retail, Legal, Accountancy, Media & Advertising and IT & Tech.

Sector             Induction time (weeks)               replacement cost     overall cost

IT & Tech                          29                                                 £31’808                          £1,891b

Retail                                 23                                                 £20’114                            £637m

Media & Advertising      20                                                 £25’787                            £184m

Legal                                 32                                                £39,230                             £805m

Accountancy                   32                                                £39,887                            £580m

In addition to this, there are also innumerable sites discussing leaving your job after the first day, blog posts on “Lessons I learned when I quit my job after 3 days” or “How to write a resignation letter for a job you’ve just started” and forums with headings like “is it ok to quit after a week?”

As an HR professional, how to find the best people and keep them (talent attraction and retention) is always a hot topic. A few years ago I was tasked in a project role to review the recruitment strategy. The key to me, was establishing how recent joiners felt about their experience and also long termers – what makes them stay? I arranged a few focus groups –got the flip chart and cakes out and got some very insightful data! This led to a redesign of the induction, probation and performance management processes and the effort was subsequently validated in the improved results of the employee engagement survey in these core areas.

Below are 9 tips from the research and recommendations:

  1. Honesty about what it is like to work for the company when advertising vacancies rather than just your ideals. If employees do not value or believe in the same things as the company, it won’t be long until there’s trouble.
  2. Companies end up in situations where a lot of time, money and energy are invested at the end of the employee life cycle i.e. managing people out, settlement agreements, tribunals – whereas  the effort would be best utilised at the beginning of the recruitment cycle.  Tools like psychometric testing and values based recruitment are proven methodologies to combat this wastage.
  3. Trust that the people you employ know what they’re doing
  4. Invest in solid induction and probation programmes – including first day and first 100 day support, providing coaching and mentoring (peer/senior)and little things like arranging a team lunch for new starters
  5. Ensure managers are adequately trained in managing people in the workplace. There is also plenty of evidence, anecdotal and otherwise to suggest that people leave their managers not the organisation
  6. Stay aware of what others in your industry are doing to attract and retain employees, it’ll help you stay competitive. Also, be sure to check in with your workforce to find out if there are any benefits they’d like to have. There might be a few small changes that would do wonders for their level of happiness.
  7. Ensure career mapping forms part of business modelling. Do the internal structures allow for development and advancement?
  8. If you collate leaver data…use it! There’s not much point collecting data if it’s not to inform the running and future of the business
  9. Encourage and promote hire-from-within policies

Joshua Karl is a freelance HR Consultant with 12 years’ experience specialising in creating the environments where people bring their best selves to work through change management, reviews of business modelling and rebuilding effective employee relations working across a variety of sectors in SME up to large multi- nationals. Joshua can be contacted directly on 07984 871 739 or hello@blackopshr.co.uk

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