Control staff turnover

Control staff turnover: checklist

Staff turnover can help introduce fresh ideas and skills into your business, but too high a level of employee turnover can damage its performance.

You will be better prepared for dealing with leavers if you understand why employees leave, and if you structure a programme to manage staff effectively from the time they are recruited. Make sure you:

  • keep records of staff leavers
  • monitor your rate of turnover at regular intervals
  • benchmark your staff turnover
  • address issues facing new joiners and long-term workers
  • analyse your business culture
  • refine your recruitment and selection process
  • review and benchmark your pay and benefits policy
  • assess your training, development and promotion policy
  • refine your appraisal process and management of individual/team performance
  • review your work-life balance arrangements - are your workers able to manage both their home and work commitments?
  • assess the management style of your business
  • formulate contingency plans for coping with leavers
  • create and regularly review succession plans
  • examine your staff and your managers' leadership styles

A common way of discovering why employees leave or how current employees feel about your business is through exit interviews and attitude surveys.

Exit interviews and attitude surveys

When an employee leaves your employment, use an exit interview to ask them their reasons for leaving and what they think the positive and negative things are about your business. It may be difficult for an employee to express their honest reasons or opinions, but you can help them to be open by using some simple strategies, such as:

  • interview away from work space
  • do not use the employee's direct manager
  • guarantee confidentiality
  • explain why the interview is needed
  • assure the employee answers will not affect future references

You should objectively review any information you gather from the exit interview and use it as a foundation for making improvements to your business. This could in turn strengthen your business' name, helping to retain existing staff and attracting others to your business.

For an attitude survey, you can include all employees or select a sample for more in-depth interviews. If you use a questionnaire, make sure it is well designed. Another method to consider is a confidential focus group supported by someone outside your business.

Make sure the survey is freely communicated to employees and acted on, otherwise it may well be counterproductive.