Reduce staff turnover by 80%? Easy.

by Stephanie Zillman11 Oct 2012

New research has turned the well-worn line ‘employees leave managers, not companies’ on its head – what it comes down to is whether the job is fulfilling or not.

According to the 2012 Retention Review by Insync Surveys, employees primarily leave due to the job itself and not for reasons such as pay and conditions or relationships with managers or peers. “If a job is inherently unfulfilling or unsatisfying it’s highly likely that employees will look elsewhere for other opportunities, no matter what incentives are in place”, Nicholas Barnett, Insync Surveys CEO said.

Yet, the research also found that 80% of staff turnover is in the employer’s control. Based on exit survey responses from over 11,000 employees from 40 Australian-based organisations who departed between January 2011 and April 2012, InSync Surveys developed this five-step guide to reduce turnover.

  1. Measure, analyse and roadmap

Some turnover is okay, even necessary. However, when high performing employees are the ones leaving, you must be on top of understanding the unique causes of staff turnover in your organisation and industry. From this, a clear retention roadmap can be developed to set relevant and achievable retention targets.

  1. Create enriching and meaningful jobs

This is at the heart of the employee offer. Meaningful work is strongly related to mission alignment, enables staff to make a noticeable difference and allows people to be matched with the right job for their skills and interests.

  1. Accommodate changing life circumstances

This is the second biggest contributor to staff turnover. It involves both matching job requirements with personal interests and circumstances and also being creative in the use of both short and long term flexible work arrangements.

  1. Nurture an inclusive and positive workplace culture

Employers must help new employees make a strong connection with the organisation, keep the attention of leaders and line managers on maintaining good relationships with their people and invest in building constructive norms and behaviours across the organisation. This should all be underpinned by a strong employee value proposition for both existing and potential employees.

  1. Enable and recognise performance

Employers must not lose sight of the traditional importance of remuneration, incentives and reward and recognition to show employees that their contribution is recognised and valued. Employers must also regularly review and provide employees with the resources they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.


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  • by Erica Collins 11/10/2012 12:48:03 PM

    Great headline. If that doesn't catch the CEOs attention, then nothing will. Great article. Concise yet complete. Although measuring and analysing turnover data only needs to be done by one person, the other 4 steps are a shared responsibility. How well is your organisation enabling, equipping and inspiring its managers (senior and line) to do these? Even at the lowest level if you can work out which one is the biggest driver in your business and start addressing it, you will see improvements; not just in turnover, but also increases in productivity.

  • by Bruce Christopher 19/10/2012 11:30:13 AM

    Relatively straight forward solutions are available so why do many companies ignore this issue. High turnover has a link to the exec team so they may sometimes rationalise it, at their peril, to protect egos. The clever teams move past that and address the issue as a priority. Specific positive change programs must be prepared and followed through to success, seeking outside help from experienced change management experts where required.

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