There are two types of employee turnover: unavoidable and avoidable. Unavoidable turnover results from life decisions that extend beyond an employer's control, such as an employee's decision to move to a new area or a job transfer for a spouse.
The majority of employee resignations, however, can be avoided if organisations have carefully planned retention strategies in place.
1. Hire the right person
In many situations, employee turn-over is due to issues of "chemistry" or "fit" within an organisation. Employers are now adopting the strategy of "hire for traits, train for skill".
By undertaking a thorough analysis of the core competencies required for a position, you will be better prepared to conduct a behavioural-based interview process.
2. Integrate for success
The first few weeks of employment are the most critical time to lay the groundwork for long-term employee commitment. Implementing a thorough, well executed orientation programme can cut turnover dramatically, as it fosters trust and commitment from the employee.
3. Phase in training
Rather than throw new employees into several weeks of job-specific training right away, provide them with basic training at the outset.
As they build experience and tenure with the company, you can then offer further training in recognition of their growth and commitment.
4. Provide growth opportunities
The irony in retaining good people is that the more they feel they are able to grow and become more marketable, the more likely they are to stay.
Employees are taking ownership of their careers and recognise the need to continuously refine and upgrade their skills.
The more frequent and relevant training you can offer, the greater the likelihood that your employees will stay.
5. Align competencies with contributions
Try to match the skills and interests of your employees with their work assignments.
Make adjustments to ensure that employees are effectively aligned with what the company needs them to do and what they are best at and enjoy doing. This will need to be reviewed regularly, as an employee's interests as well as competencies will change over time.
6. Motivate the troops
Assess the underlying motivators for work beyond the pay cheque. High-tech employees are often motivated when recognised for their unique skill sets, whereas a service organisation is more likely to have employees excited about helping others.
Check your assumptions, then design strategies to reinforce what matters most.
7. Make rewards count
Rewards should be immediate, appropriate and personal. You may want to survey employees on desired forms of recognition, and then use the findings when the time comes to reward them. And remember: a personal note means more than a generic company award.
8. Enlist problem-solvers
Invite employees to help solve company problems where possible. Rather than stating the problem from a corporate perspective and implementing a solution, discuss with employees the consequences of the problem and enlist their aid in helping to solve it.
This shared approach creates deep ownership for employees in the company's success.
9. Practise what you preach
People do not necessarily commit to an organisation; they commit to the employees and culture that drive it.
Employees are most content when they are able to become an integral part of their work community. Establish your corporate values, then make sure you walk the talk.
10. Always conduct an exit interview
Knowing why employees leave is fundamental in understanding turnover rates.
Ensure that the interviewer is someone the exiting employee trusts, to capture the most honest feedback.
Tracking reasons for departure may uncover patterns that, when addressed, will help stem a further loss of good employees.
Seeing the big picture
Employees must be able to make a direct connection between their work and the organisation's mission.
If they can understand where they fit into the organisation's "big picture", they will have a sense of pride and ownership in their work.
Individuals who cannot see what value they are adding through their work are very likely to feel unwanted, and will be more inclined to look at other employment options.