To find out the reason and the solutions for employee attrition we need to calibrate the agenda. Some of the responses we received are:
- Recruit the right person to begin with: this is not necessarily the nicest person or even the one with relevant experience of ALL aspects of the job on offer, but should be someone with the potential to do a good job and who will be stretched at least a little by the job (if they have any drive and the job is just more of what they have done before, they will leave). On the other hand, if the job is a boring, repetitive one, then look for someone who takes a pride in doing their job well but doesn't need variety or a challenge.
- While you are recruiting, think about what they are going to get out of the job: there is no point in recruiting someone very ambitious if you know you are not going to be able to offer them the challenges, variety or promotions they need,.
- Once you have appointed someone, take some care over developing an induction which will make them feel welcome and provide them with essential information. There is some research which says that as many as 25% of new starters decide, on their first day, that they will not stay with the organization - what a waste of time and effort to recruit someone who has no interest in the organization right from the start!
- Don't overwhelm people with information but do make sure that they know how to get about the premises and where the facilities are; for example, where do they leave their personal belongings, do they have to bring their own refreshments or does the organization provide drinks, etc., where are the toilets (no-one wants to feel like a school child having to ask if it's OK to leave their desk and where is the cloakroom on their first day in a new job), are car parking spaces available and do they have to park in a specific place, how to get into the buildings if, for example, there are key-pads on the doors which require a code to be entered. The list is long, but thinks about all the things you probably take for granted but that a new person can't be expected to know.
You could appoint a 'buddy' to befriend them on the first day or two, introduce them to people and show them round. A friendly face is always welcome.
Make sure new starters know where to find the company's policies and procedures and try to give them a little time to familiarize themselves with them. Once you have recruited and inducted your employee, give them some responsibility and give them the training to be able to do the job well. It is also important to ensure your managers are trained to manage well: surveys suggest that many more people leave because of their line managers than because they don't like their companies.
Ensuring that people are treated consistently (not necessarily the same, but any differences in treatment should be for a good, and preferably transparent, reason) and with respect also helps, as does giving them information about the company (before they hear misleading gossip on the grapevine) and ensuring at least one senior manager always has his or her door open to employees who want to discuss their concerns.
Staff surveys and staff/management consultation groups can also help to identify potential problems before they cause people to leave.