Why People Leave: Understanding and Reducing Employee Attrition In Your Business

By Alexandra from Sage HR Advice

Keep hold of your best employees.

Employee AttritionAs we venture into a new year, many businesses have a set of goals that they want to hit to ensure a successful 2013. If you’re planning on doing this, one important factor to consider is your employee attrition: how many people are leaving your business.

Employees leaving your business is to be expected to some extent, but it can be expensive and problematic when key team members exit your business.  Advertising for and recruiting replacements can be a real headache too.

If you’re finding that more and more people are resigning, you should be asking yourself why, and if there’s anything you can be doing to reduce it.

Asking the important questions.

The first thing to do is understand the problem. Interviewing your existing staff on how they feel about their jobs and the workplace is useful, but people often hold back on what they really think in fear of limiting their careers or offending their colleagues.

One of the most revealing ways to get a realistic appraisal of your business this is to arrange frank and meaningful exit interviews for anyone leaving. The leavers’ questionnaire located on the Sage HR Advice service provides example questions to ask. Explain that their answers won’t affect any reference that you are giving and you are looking for honesty, even if you might not like what you’re going to hear.

Take it on the chin.

Remember, this is an exercise in listening, not trying to defend or argue against any points that come up. It may be simply that the individual was offered a better job, or moved away from the area for family reasons, but if any criticisms of your company arise, you should listen carefully and take them on board.

If the same themes keep cropping up, then you should seriously consider taking meaningful action to counter these issues. What’s more, you might want to communicate any changes that you make to the rest of your employees, so that they can see you listening to concerns and acting upon them.

Sage Peoplelink

So what can be done?

Some common reasons for attrition can be rectified fairly easily. For instance:

Avoid career stagnation. The vast majority of employees are keen to progress their careers, and if they can’t do it in your business, they’ll look elsewhere.

To avoid this, make the career paths visible within your organisations. Use 1-2-1 meetings and regular appraisals to discover how each employee sees their career progression and work with them to achieve this.

Start with your managers. Employees like to see managers that they can respect and learn from. If these managers aren’t fully engaged, then negativity can cascade down your business.

Consider offering more training and opportunities to encourage a more engaged management team. In turn, your other employees may up their game as they work towards management roles in their own careers.

Become more flexible. Flexible working, including home working, term-time working and a host of other flexible options have become more and more achievable as technology allows many workers to do their jobs at different times and locations.  The work/life balance is becoming more and more important to people, so if you can help them achieve this, they will be more likely to stay with you as a loyal employee.

This year, try to focus on keeping your best employees at your business, and making them ambassadors to the rest of your team. It’s often said that your workers are the most valuable part of your business, so why not go that extra mile to protect your investments?

Did you know that Sage provide Human Resource Advice? As well as translating the law into plain English, we will notify you of forthcoming legislative changes and give you all the tools you need to remain compliant.

For more information or to take a product tour visit the Sage HR Advice page.


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