Tackle high employee turnover head-on with these five tips

Employee turnover is an ongoing business issue that all companies have to tackle. And whilst some level of turnover is healthy, high levels of voluntary turnover, in particular, can be extremely detrimental in terms of lost productivity, costs, time commitment and even the emotional toll on remaining staff members.

By: Sinead Healy on

Yet high turnover isn’t a prerequisite of running a company. Many businesses have designed working cultures and environments where voluntary turnover is extremely low. What the best firms do is see turnover as a symptom of an issue within the workplace, its people, ways of working and - as noted before - the culture of the organisation.

It can be tricky to identify what those issues might be, but research suggests these five areas would be a good place to begin:

Flexible working

Flexible hours, remote working and even four-day workweeks are all becoming increasingly popular perks offered by companies as the jobs market gets more competitive. And there’s good reason - they’re all perks which employees want.

This recent study from Aviva found that almost a quarter of employees have quit a role in order to find more flexible employment - equating to seven million UK workers. Forty-five per cent said they would consider leaving their current job for one offering more flexibility as well.

This shouldn’t come as a shock to leaders. As the boundaries between home life and work-life become more blurred, workers are increasingly valuing more flexibility from employers, or at least a bit of give and take.

Development and progression

We all want to feel that we’re getting on in our chosen careers, that we’re developing as professionals and have opportunities to progress. And its a lack of this feeling which prompts many employees to hand in their resignations.

A study released in 2018 from totaljobs found that two in three workers had quit due to a lack of learning and development opportunities at their previous employer. This is an alarming statistic when it comes to turnover, but it does clear some of the mud from the issue that is retention.

The same study found 90% of workers want their employer to offer more training courses to develop new skills, and two-thirds of employees believe training is more important now than it was two years ago.

This research, backed up by other studies, offer a pretty conclusive look at what can help employees feel more settled at a job and less likely to be looking for opportunities. If you’re giving them the tools to progress, learn new skills and develop their careers, they’re far more likely to stick around for the long-term.

Recognise frequently

Every employee wants to feel appreciated by the colleagues and the organisation they work for. But millions of workers in the UK feel undervalued and that their daily contributions go unnoticed.

Strategies to create a more appreciative workplace, such as employee recognition programmes, have been shown to have a massive impact on employee turnover within companies which adopt modern approaches to showing gratitude seeing marked differences.

A survey lead by SurveyMonkey found that over 60% of workers who self-identify as being recognised frequently at work as being highly unlike to be seeking a new job. Conversely, 43% of workers who say they’re never recognised at work said they’re extremely likely to be looking for new employment.

Read more: How employee recognition influences voluntary turnover

Recognition is powerful. Get it right and your employees will feel valued, appreciated and be more productive and motivated as a result. Made it timely and frequent and they’ll be far less likely to be browsing the job boards in their lunch breaks.

Focus on wellbeing

Wellbeing at work has risen to be one of the top considerations for leaders and HR departments over the last decade and is set to remain on the list of priorities as we head into the 2020s.

There are a few reasons for that of course. First, many forward-thinking companies now recognise their role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of their staff. A study from OnePoll.com found that 60% of UK staff believe their employer has a responsibility to look after their personal wellbeing. And secondly, organisations are understanding the direct correlation between physical and mental wellbeing and the performance of employees.

Whilst mental health issues are on the rise and a primary cause of many sick days, longer working hours have seen a spike in burnout cases too, poor mental health, feeling burnt out and poor wellbeing, in general, are key reasons why many employees start sprucing up their CVs. CABA found that 58% have of employees have experienced reduced mental wellbeing - such as stress and anxiety - as a result of poor personal wellbeing at work.

One alarming stat from this Financial Times article really highlights the extent to which poor mental wellbeing is affecting the workplace, with 13% of employees under 25 said to have depression.

And the bottom line when it comes to retention and turnover is summed up by this research from CV-Library finding that half of UK workers would consider quitting over poor mental health support.

Improve your company culture

Having a great culture isn’t only a hiring tool, it’s critical to retaining top talent too. Organisations with a poor company culture can experience turnover rates 50% higher than companies who prioritise their working practices and environment.

This research paper from two economists found a clear correlation between organisational culture and turnover, citing that; “as knowledge sharing, organisational citizenship behaviour and organisational support increased the intention to quit the organisation decreased”.

Culture also indirectly impacts turnover within a company. Positive working environments can increase happiness levels, productive, shared purpose and goals - all of which have been found to enhance loyalty. Conversely, the opposite has also found to be true.

Looking to enact company culture change in your organisation or make improvements to the workplace culture you have? Then read this next.