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How to prevent high employee turnover | Benni

For any business, employee turnover can be an issue, and particularly for small businesses when it can create a large hole. On top of this, there’s the cost of replacing them, the productivity issues and the lower morale potentially caused when others have to cover their work.

So the more businesses can do to keep top talent, the better it is for business. The question is how?

While it will probably come as no surprise to hear pay (or the lack of) is still one of the main bugbears for employees (34% think they can get more money somewhere else1), the good news is that many of the things we can do to reduce turnover are relatively simple to implement.

The even better news – especially for smaller businesses – is that most of them don’t have to cost a fortune.

While we can never retain 100% of our staff, you can start to think about trying to change some of the things that may be causing high employee turnover. Investors in People’s (IIP) recent job exodus survey and Benni’s own War for Talent report have highlighted why some employees vote with their feet. Here are some ideas on how you can prevent them from walking out the door permanently.

Being a rubbish boss

As the saying goes, people don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad managers.

Research conducted by MHR in 2018 found that in the UK, 73% of employees who have experienced a poor manager at work have considered leaving their jobs, and a staggering 55% of those have actually quit their job because of bad management2.

It’s clear that a good boss is something employees rate highly. But what is being a good manager all about?

Different people are likely to have differing opinions on what makes a great manager – for some the human element is most important, while others value their boss’s ability to push them to achieve new things and help them develop. However, there are several characteristics that are universal in good management.

Trusting your employee, backing them up (instead of throwing them under the bus when things go wrong), and listening to them and encouraging them can all lead to respect, a morale boost – and ultimately, longevity within the company.

Strong leaders can inspire hard work, and good managers who are open and honest and listen to thoughts and opinions tend to run effective teams.

And don’t underestimate how far a bit of recognition goes – everyone likes a shout-out for a job well done, even if it’s a less public thank you for those shyer members of staff.

Not providing career development opportunities

The UK L&D (Learning and Development) Report 2018 by discovered something interesting: the companies they found who valued learning and development highest also reported the lowest turnover of staff.

Furthermore, the report found that, of the companies that had spent above the national average of £300 per employee on training, none had a retention rate lower than six months.

Not just that, they were twice as likely to say their employees felt happy at work.

And a 2018 survey of British and American employees by Docebo revealed many more interesting statistics regarding progression in the workplace, including:

  • 32% of people do not feel qualified to be doing their job.
  • Almost half (48%) of millennials say they would quit a job due to lack of learning and development opportunities.
  • 24% of UK employees have paid for their own training outside of work4.

Lack of career progression has a high potential to make employees feel unhappy at work. Whether it’s on-the-job training or the ability to move up the career ladder, failing to help employees to develop in their roles will cause them to look elsewhere.

While this can be tough for smaller businesses in particular where the ability to move up the ladder may be slower and via a less defined path, there are still things every company can do to help make sure you keep your millennials (and others) engaged.

Make it clear that you can see employees moving up when the opportunity arises. But even if a promotion isn’t on the horizon, you can still show your staff you can satisfy their ambitions and recognise their potential by:

  • Offering training
  • Handing people a bit of extra responsibility (but don’t forget the recognition)
  • Have them shadow senior staff for a few days
  • Give them an allocated amount of free time each month to come up with business ideas – this won’t be for everyone, but allowing your employees to be creative with their skill and experience can result in some excellent business ideas and more engaged employees

Allowing a toxic work environment

Whether they are being bullied by other colleagues or over-worked by managers, people are becoming increasingly conscious of the effect their working environment is having on their health.

Investors in People’s survey found a mixed bag of responses. 30% said they wanted more enjoyable work, 17% wanted better work-life balance, 15% had ‘Sunday night blues’ and 12% even said their job was having a negative impact on their health5.

All in all, these responses show the many facets of a toxic working environment – and how they are all driving employees to look elsewhere for work.

Even without the human side of things, the actual work setting – whether it’s noisy, dirty or windowless can all play a part in someone’s decision to look for pastures new.

And if employees feel unable to speak out because they’re scared of reprisals or think they won’t be believed, the cycle will continue.

Employers have a vital role to play in establishing and fostering a good workplace culture. First and foremost, one where employees know they can speak candidly is a must – and to more than one person. If you’re the problem, they’re unlikely to want to speak to you about it.

Although not always easy, leading by example is another must. How can you expect your employees to act in a certain way if you don’t? Whether that’s finishing on time a few days a week or being open and honest when you make a mistake. While it’s important employees respect their managers, that respect is earned – and can be easily lost.

Simple things like being unafraid to get to get your hands dirty and help other team members out when needed, or acknowledging people’s birthdays, either by buying cake (always popular!) or letting that person finish a couple of hours early can all go down well. Even just taking the team out for a drink or a bite to eat after a particularly big win or successful project can help boost people’s productivity and happiness levels.

And look at the physical aspects of the workplace too. Can the décor do with a spruce? Can you change furniture, layouts, equipment, introduce some greenery? Or even encourage staff to get some fresh air outside.

Ignoring employee benefits

Benni’s own War for Talent survey asked over 2,000 British employees from companies with 100–1,000 staff whether they received benefits from their employer. Over one-third (38%) said they don’t receive any benefits at all6.

We also found that 47% of our respondents were considering changing job7.

It’s clear that a competitive benefits package goes a long way when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent. It’s also important that you tailor the benefits to your employees’ needs or give them the option to choose those that matter most to them.

For instance, we found that younger workers value perks such as flexible working, while older workers prefer things like personal medical insurance and critical illness insurance8. But one of the best ways to find out what your staff will value is simply to ask!

Whether you’re big or small, offering a range of employee benefits can help you compete. But if you’re thinking the budget simply won’t run to adding to your existing benefits package or to introducing one, think again.

Employee-paid benefits – also sometimes called flexible benefits or voluntary benefits – can be a cost-effective way of offering the things that your employees want at no or low cost to yourself.

Benni offers simple, convenient benefits that your employees can choose from themselves. Our perks are deducted from your employees’ payroll, so they can choose exactly how much or how little they spend, and they can manage everything from our mobile-friendly platform.

Among the benefits they can choose from are dental, critical illness, life and a health cash plan.

Find out more about the employee-paid benefits available through Benni or call us on 0800 085 0518. 

Or fill in our online enquiry form.


1 Investors in People - Job exodus trends, 2017
2 MHR research 2018
3 - UK L&D Report 2018 Benchmark Your Workplace Learning Strategy
4 Docebo - Fake it till you make it survey Dec 2018
Investors in People - Job exodus trends, 2017

6,7,8 Benni War for Talent Report Feb 2019

Topics: Insider