Turnover is creeping up – here’s what you can do about it

A high turnover rate is something no employer wants to deal with, as it can place an unnecessary and substantial burden on their organisation's time and resources. Despite efforts from firms across the globe to combat high turnover, a recent piece of research suggests that, in the US at least, this problem is still some way from being resolved.

According to the 'Employee Turnover Trends in 2013' study by Equifax Workforce Solutions, around 40 per cent of US employees voluntarily left their jobs last year after less than six months in the role. Overall, well over half of all employees who quit their job in 2013 did so within a year of starting it.

From these findings, Equifax estimates that voluntary turnover in the US increased by 3.5 per cent in 2013 compared to the previous year.

So just why are these employees leaving only a matter of months into their job?

Kristen Lewis, director of product at Equifax, suggests that it has to do with the mindset with which employees today approach new jobs.

“[They believe] they can find something else if it's not a great fit right away,” she was quoted as saying in an April 17 article on Inc.com. She added that despite contrary belief, remuneration isn't always the main driver of turnover, with almost half of workers switching to jobs with the same or even less pay.

It's therefore important to consider that employees take into a lot of factors into account – not just how much or how they're paid – when seeking new work. Organisations, on the other hand, must ensure they're doing all they can to hire the right people from the start and therefore minimise the chances of them leaving so soon.

When it comes to reducing employee turnover, it's the tried and tested strategies that will always prevail.

1. Hire right

Investing the time and effort to recruit the right people in the first place is often regarded as the most effective safeguard against turnover.

There are so many aspects to consider in your employee recruitment and selection procedures. It's not just the skills, experience and qualifications that candidates boast – making sure they represent a good fit with your company's culture is just as, if not more, important.

This is because while technical skills can often be taught on the job, intrinsic qualities such as personality are usually more difficult to gauge and develop. Incorporating personality assessments in your recruitment can therefore help provide a more holistic picture of your candidates.

2. Engage, reward and recognise

Hiring the perfect employee for a role, however, is only half the job done.

Cutting down turnover is an ongoing effort and it revolves around how you interact with your employees. Open the lines of communication, keep them engaged with interesting and meaningful work and make sure they are adequately recognised and rewarded for their efforts.

Motivating employees by helping them align with the overarching purpose of the business is becoming increasingly important. According to the 'Leadership: You're doing it wrong' report from Hogan Assessments, the best leaders are those who have a clear vision and “explain to their team the significance of their mission and how it fits into the larger scheme of things”.

3. Provide room to develop and grow

One of the main reasons employees leave is because they because they become frustrated with the lack of opportunities for career development and progression, and thus end up feeling like they're stuck in a rut.

Constantly developing your top performers for frontline leadership roles not only keeps them engaged and motivated, it can also help secure the leadership future of your organisation – so it's a win-win for all involved.