It starts with one, then two, three, maybe even four or more. Your employees are jumping ship and you’re questioning everything from pay brackets to office décor. Was it something you said?
Although a wave of leavers can be a common occurrence, we are social beings after all. it can also be a challenging time for any employer and their remaining employees.
From skills shortages, huge handovers, password changes and exit interviews to recruiting and training new staff. Not to mention the whip round for leaving gifts and emotional goodbyes. It can be a costly occurrence and a whirlwind for all involved.
So, what can employers do to spot the signs and prevent a potential wave of leavers? Read our top tips on staff retention below.
Let’s start at the beginning. The first step in building your dream team starts with recruitment. Do you have enough steps in your current recruitment process to ensure that you are attracting the right people to your roles? From accurately naming job roles to making sure you are matching skill sets with specifications, strong recruitment can play a big part in employee retention.
Research has shown that companies, including SMEs, that provide good induction training programmes are more likely to retain employees. It also speeds up productivity, which is good for the business. Induction sets up the employee to perform and succeed as opposed to chucking them into a new role with a “sink or swim” attitude. Even if they can swim, they won’t appreciate being thrown in the deep end.
Invest in 121 time
Having regular employee reviews should be standard practice. But how often are you having them and what is your format? If your employee reviews are currently a formal annual performance review, you may want to consider introducing some less formal 121’s every now and again.
121’s give you the chance to check-in with your employees. How are they handling their current responsibilities? Are they working well in their team? Could some training be beneficial? Discussing these issues should give you some indication to their current happiness at work and their intentions to progress in their current role.
SMEs tend to think that business plans & people plans are only used by big companies. At the HR Dept we believe it’s even more important for SMEs to plan as big companies can take a shock, sometimes SMEs cannot afford that.
Spotting talent and encouraging and developing those employees is a crucial part of business. You can do this by good use of your 121s, appraisals and psychometric assessments which help identify the behavioural tendencies of your management team. This knowledge enables you to “know them better”, thus allowing you to manage each person according to their motivations, strengths and tendencies.
Make necessary changes
From your increased one on one time with your employees, it’s probable that you will receive some feedback on the way things are going within your workforce. It’s a good idea to have an open mind when collecting this feedback and see it as a useful tool to boost overall productivity and morale.
If comments are generally positive, great! But try not to get complacent and maybe consider a fun team-building activity to keep spirits high. If comments are negative, you may need to address some core operations. Listening to your employees will help to build trust and improve loyalty, but acting on feedback shows a genuine commitment to your team.
Mix it up
Whilst co-workers being great friends can be good for business at times, it can also be risky if one becomes unhappy at work. Not only can morale be affected, but alliances can be made. And when friends leave, others might follow. Aside from finding out why employee A is unhappy in the first place, it could also be a good idea to mix up dynamics at work.
If your employees work shifts, try and vary them. This will allow employees to experience some extra diversity in their working day and let them get to meet everyone in their department.
Feedback before farewell
If you and your employee have been through the above and something still doesn’t feel quite right, it might be time to bid them farewell. But before their last day it would be a good idea to schedule an exit interview. This offers the perfect opportunity to find out why your employee has decided to leave. Take the time to listen and find out why they started looking elsewhere in the first place, it could be great intel to foresee and prevent a potential wave.
Create a contingency plan
And by that we mean: assume that everyone could leave at some point. By having a contingency plan in place for your workforce, you can feel more prepared in the event of people leaving. Is there room to reshuffle tasks for an interim period whilst you’re hiring? Do you have an online knowledgebase which stores logins and important information? Are you training your staff so that they can potentially step up and graduate to a new role should one become available?
These are all key points that you can include in your workforce contingency plan. They’ll help you to be prepared in the unfortunate event of a leaver wave.
If you have experienced a high employee turnover in recent times and would like some advice on retention, contact your local HR Dept advisor today.