Any recruiter or hiring manager worth their salt will tell you that retention is high on their list of priorities. But how do you improve it if you don’t know why it’s happening? 

Employee turnover costs US companies around $160 billion every year. This is predicted to rise to $680 billion by 2020. As tempting as it is to run for the hills then find a new career after reading those statistics, it made me feel a great deal better when I learned that 77% of turnover could be prevented by employers.

In order to prevent turnover and boost retention, it’s critical that we take a step back and assess what retention looks like for an individual organisation. Below I’ve outlined the steps that will ensure you get a firm grasp on your employee turnover.

Establish how many

Understanding how many staff are leaving during their first 12 months in role is the ideal place to start. If the number is high, the roles may be falling short of candidate’s expectations – affirm that your job adverts and interview processes reveal what the role is really like.

Aim to analyse any common threads between the leavers; do they share a line/ hiring manager or a department? Were they sourced from the same place? Highlighting a theme could pinpoint an issue previously unnoticed.

Find out why

Exit interviews are a must-have if not already in place. Hiring manager and candidate feedback should be collated and assessed to reveal any common issues, particularly regarding voluntary/ involuntary exits. Reviewing process scores is also eye-opening – is there a correlation between low process quality scores and leavers? Finding out how they were assessed at interview (video, face-to-face, contract recruiter, etc.)

If all seems well regarding new hire expectations, next on your to do list is to verify that onboarding isn’t the source of the issue. What happens to new hires once they leave the recruitment process? Are there frequent check-ins to ensure good progress, mentors or a monthly review? Or are they left to flounder? Fitting in is a crucial part of any new job, but if new hires feel they lack support from their line manager, they may move on sooner than they otherwise would have.

If employees are leaving after a certain length of time, perhaps learning and development poses a challenge. What engagement initiatives do you have in place?

Who are they?

Are there any common characteristics between leavers? Whether they’re team players, ambitious, social, impulsive or assertive, you could learn a lot about the type of hire who thrives (or not) in your organisation.

Measuring their performance against pre-hire expectations may shed some light on the effectiveness of your assessment techniques and could challenge some long-held assumptions about the kind of people your organisation is targeting. Perhaps you prefer to hire graduates, but occasionally accept a non-graduate with comparable experience? You may find that the latter sticks around far longer.

What’s it costing?

There’s been a 141% increase in average job openings since 2009. That means fewer workers want to take roles (thanks, talent shortage!) and as a result, roles are likely to be open for longer. Naturally, this costs more money than retaining the workers you already have in-role.

As well as the increased costs of recruitment, advertising a role and hiring manager time, the lost productivity resulting from an empty seat can cost companies dearly; the more senior the role, the more costly this becomes.

The hidden costs of poor retention are also worth considering; how many potential candidates are put off from your organisation by one employee who quits? As well as word of mouth and professional networks, review sites such as Glassdoor have an almost unknowable reach. The knock-on impact to remaining staff must also be taken into account.

The solution

Thankfully, there’s a platform that does all of this analysis and assessment for you. Talenytics produces key reports on retention and attrition, supplying all the insight you need to make significant improvements in your workforce retention process. From simple changes you never thought to question to fundamental gear shifts, having the data to point you in the right direction is a crucial starting point for any company worried about the impact retention is having on their productivity, staff morale and, of course, their bottom line.

Worried about how poor retention is impacting your organisation? Taking back control is easier than you think.

Howard Flint

Howard Flint

Chief Strategy Officer

Howard has worked in the HR and Recruitment sphere for almost 20 years. He is dedicated to providing his advice and expertise to global HR leaders to help improve Quality of Hire.