Stop them walking out the door: 9 top tips

by Robin Christie03 Dec 2012

Are your workers happy? Really? Losing one of your best can be deadly to your team’s morale, and even the organisation more broadly – but by the time some line managers realise there’s an engagement issue it’s already too late.

While HR is well versed in the sheer upset of losing a key player, many line managers quite simply don’t get it. Organisational development consultant Craig Buller revealed some key insights into the devastating effects of employee turnover at a roundtable hosted by financial services recruiter Talent Web Recruitment.

In financial terms Buller suggested that the cost of losing a team member can be up to 1.5 to 2.5 times their annual salary. Other issues include:

  • lost time
  • lost corporate knowledge; and
  • weakened bench strength.

“Surveys have shown time and time again that the reason why organisations stumble, fail or don’t reach their potential that everyone thinks they’ll reach, is that they don’t necessarily have the best strength, or their best strength is continually being weakened,” he said.

But what is it that makes your best performers walk away? “I went to a number of surveys and these five points popped up,” said Buller. These are:

  • inadequate pay;
  • lack of promotion opportunities;
  • poor relationship with manager;
  • poor work/life balance; and
  • lack of a challenge.

He added, however, that pay is not a great retainer – and usually only works as a short-term strategy.

So how can you keep your on board? Buller suggested that, from an employee’s perspective, these are the top nine staff engagement/retention drivers:

  • Senior management sincerely interested in employee wellbeing.
  • Improved my skills and capabilities over last 12 months.
  • Social responsibility reputation of organisation.
  • Input into decision making in my dept.
  • Organisation quickly resolves customer concerns.
  • High personal standards.
  • Excellent career advancement opportunities.
  • Challenging work assignments.
  • Good relationship with manager/supervisor.

“If your leaders aren’t sincere around the wellbeing of employees, then you’re not going to retain those employees,” said Buller, who added a pertinent message that HR may remind managers and principles:

“People join the company and leave the leaders.”


  • by Mark Kidd 4/12/2012 11:23:55 AM

    I totally agree with these sentiments about engaging and retaining staff. We have been in the business of doing this for 15 years. For employers serious about doing this check out iphone app called happy@work - cheap, effective tool for retaining talent based on years of research

  • by Black Cat 6/12/2012 4:41:56 PM

    I am 100% behind these ideas. My line management failed to protect me from bullying and harrassment and then did nothing positive to address the situation for myself and colleagues and provide us with support. The outcome was 3 of 24 staff leaving the organization due to poor HR practice by management. The staff left and the others left behind had to deal with another six months of B & H before the offender was transferred. They are still trying to recover!

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