4 common causes (and solutions) for employee turnover

Written by Alissa Parr, Ph.D., Senior Consultant
Previously published by PSI Talent Management or Cubiks, prior to becoming Talogy.

As I’ve written about before, exit interviews are a good strategy for understanding why employees are leaving the company. But, what about those “no call, no show” employees? You may try your best to reach out to them to complete an exit interview, but if they don’t have the decency to let you know they are quitting, they probably won’t show a desire to complete the exit interview. It’s always best to collect company-specific turnover information when possible. But, it’s also illuminating to read about trends across organisations so you can learn what the most common reasons for turnover are.

BambooHR recently conducted a survey asking employees the reasons why they left a job. The sample included more than 1,000 U.S. employees over the age of 24. So, what were some of the main reasons why people resigned and what can you do about it? The top four reasons for resigning include:

Reason # 1: They decided that work wasn’t something they wanted to do (28%).

Action Steps: Provide candidates a Realistic Job Preview (RJP) and be very explicit about the roles and responsibilities associated with the job. During an RJP, it’s important to share with them the positive and negative aspects of the job so they can make an accurate judgment call as to whether they would be a good fit for the job or not. RJP’s can take several forms, including information provided during an interview or a video depicting work conditions and comments from employees. But, the most robust RJP takes the form of the job candidate actually touring the work environment and shadowing employees. This can provide them a better gauge as to whether the work is something they would like to do or not.

Reason #2: They thought they were given different work than they expected from the hiring process (26%).

Action Steps: In addition to providing an RJP, it’s important to give candidates the information they need about the job even before they submit an application. This means that it’s critical to make sure that the job description is accurate and up-to-date. Additionally, make sure all the recruiters and hiring managers are providing accurate information about the job throughout each stage of the hiring process.

Reason #3: Their boss was a “jerk” (23%).

Action Steps: Management and supervisors have a direct and immediate influence on their employees. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you are selecting leaders who are effective at motivating others, providing them the support and resources needed, and giving them the opportunities to learn and develop on the job. Positive impact goes a long way, especially for people in leadership roles. An ineffective or negative boss can taint the overall culture of the team and organisation. Take a serious approach to how you recruit your leaders.

Reason #4: They didn’t receive enough training.

Action Steps: Today’s employees want to be engaged in their work. They want to learn new skills and feel a part of the company. It is imperative for companies to engage their employees in different activities so they feel that they are prepared for their current duties and that they are growing their potential for stretch assignments.

What didn’t make the top list for turnover? Having lots of perks and benefits, including free food, unlimited leave time, and so forth. We always hear about Google’s awesome perks and benefits, but less than 1% indicated that those perks and incentives would have made a difference as to whether they would stay or leave the job. What it ultimately comes down to is whether the work meets their expectations and is a good fit, whether they enjoy working with their boss, and whether they feel that the company is “investing” in them.

Another interesting outcome of the survey is that 31% of the respondents had resigned from a job within the first 6 months. This means that it’s important to make sure that you are engaging in good on-boarding practices within the first few months or else they may start seeking other opportunities.

To learn more about the survey and recommendations for on-boarding practices, you can access the infographic by clicking here.

Reducing turnover starts with hiring and developing great leaders

Although many believe unwanted turnover is difficult to fix, there are very clear ways to understand how it impacts your organisation and what can be done to reduce it.

Organisations who have “solved” this problem do several things differently than their counterparts – and they all centre on effective leadership.

As we all know, there are many reasons why employees leave. And some of this turnover should actually be categorised as “good turnover” (e.g. managing out poor performers).

However, as we research unwanted turnover, there is a common thread underlying the reasons people leave and it is directly tied to their relationships with their manager and other leaders within the company.

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