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How to reduce staff turnover and keep your top talent in post?

Stopping your top talent walking out the exit door for good: How to keep your best people.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Employee turnover is an inevitable part of running a business. After all, if someone just isn’t a good fit, there’s no sense in them staying somewhere they’re not engaged. Or if an employer isn’t offering opportunities for growth or a job has become stale then employees are often wise to look elsewhere for their next career step. 

However, high rates of turnover can not only cost you top talent, but it can be also indicative of deeper workplace issues. Generally, the best way to stop employees leaving is to create a workplace they don’t want to leave.

Money isn’t always the answer for stopping employees leaving

Financial incentives aren’t uncommon in the workplace. The logic behind them seems sound enough. After all, the financial wellbeing of your employees is important. Unsatisfactory pay is certainly a valid reason to look for work elsewhere. But if your employees are regularly experiencing financial issues, addressing that problem with an incentive-based monetary reward may end up stressing your employees out.

It’s one thing if a job isn’t paying you enough, but generally speaking, financial incentives aren’t as effective for motivating employees as you might think. While they can work in the short-term, they can end up creating feelings of unfairness among staff members. Plus, once an employee slips below the barrier for receiving a financial reward, their motivation to engage effectively disappears.

It’s not that wanting to reward good performance isn’t admirable. But if it’s about stopping employees leaving for greener pastures, it’s more effective to directly support their working lives.

Recognition and exposure are essential for managing turnover

Employees who don’t feel valued at work are much more likely to seek new employment. Managers must make sure to give employees recognition for their accomplishments. Gallup’s research shows that both public and private recognition were found to be more memorable for employees than monetary rewards. Recognition can have a significant impact on engagement, despite being low cost.

According to their research, nearly a quarter of the employees in Gallup’s study reported that their most memorable personal feedback came from the CEO. Gallup recommends a recognition-rich workplace, where praise moves in every direction. They also suggest that feedback should be implemented on a weekly basis. Weekly10’s check-in system even has recognition-based questions where colleagues on all levels of an organisation can tag each other. Building connections between your team members is a great way of stopping employees leaving the organisation.

Coaching cuts turnover by helping employees to succeed

In one of our recent articles, we discussed how mentorships can help employees to engage in their roles. Although there are differences, coaching can have a similar effect. While mentorships are more about preparing employees for the future, coaching is about helping them reach their immediate goals.

According to Kavita Sahai, Forbes contributor and founder of the leading business coaching platform havebigplans.com, effective coaching can seriously reduce turnover. Stopping employees leaving is a matter of creating a workplace culture that rewards coaching, so that employees are incentivised to become internal coaches themselves. This links back again to the idea of a culture of workplace feedback. Speaking of which…

Stopping employees leaving requires a feedback-based culture

Many employees are averse to the idea of a dead-end job. Having room to develop and progress helps them engage with their roles by giving them something to aim for, whether it’s developing a new skill or trying to get a promotion.

The best way for employers to enable personal development for their employees is by providing regular access to feedback. Coaches can be useful for this, but when it comes to stopping employees leaving the organisation, it’s important for managers to get involved so they can exchange effective two-way feedback with their employees. As well as advising employees on their performance, the purpose of this is so that managers can identify issues affecting engagement and wellbeing in the workplace.

When it comes to stopping employees leaving your business, it’s important to emphasise open communication in your workplace culture. Checking in regularly can really make a difference. Questions can be customised on the employee level, and the mention and pass-up features enable better employee recognition that everyone can contribute to.

Turnover can often be caused by a poor work environment

If you’re having trouble stopping employees leaving to find work elsewhere, it quite often stems from major problems in the workplace. A poor work environment is one of the biggest causes of turnover because of how it can damage the employee experience, but the underlying issues can vary a lot between different businesses.

  • Health hazards: Some workplaces are inherently dangerous places, like construction sites. But in others, safety hazards and unhealthy conditions are entirely avoidable. Perhaps your workplace needs more ergonomic equipment, or maybe there’s a problem with mould or asbestos. Left unaddressed, issues like these can drive employees away and even damage your future recruiting potential. Word travels and nobody wants an employer who disregards physical wellbeing.
  • Workplace stress: Stress is prevalent in many different industries and sectors, whether you’re a put-upon service industry worker or a high-powered associate in a magic circle law firm. While a certain amount of stress is inevitable, too much can seriously impact mental wellbeing.
  • Lack of managerial support: It’s hard for employees to be loyal if they don’t think their managers care about their personal development. Research by DDI shows that nearly 60% of employees have left a job because of a manager. 14% reported that they had left multiple jobs for this reason.
  • Workplace discrimination: Some of the most important issues being addressed in the workplace today are those of equality and inclusivity. It can be difficult and incredibly nerve-wracking for victims of discrimination to speak out, and many simply opt to leave instead. Research by Totaljobs found that 36% of transgender workers had quit jobs due to workplace discrimination, for example. It’s important to give employees confidential channels to raise issues like this, and to guarantee the safety of their position if they do.

While those are the ones we’d think to mention, they don’t even scratch the surface. If we listed every possible workplace problem, you’d be here all week. Stopping employees leaving requires good active listening skills, and the ability to fairly resolve conflict. For more information on handling employee turnover and maximising engagement, check out our blog today!

In need of a frequent feedback tool that increases employee engagement and improves performance through goal tracking? Look no further.

Head of People Science