Don't lose your best employees
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Why am I losing my best employees?

19 Jan 2017

Companies that have a high turnover of staff not only lose out financially, but it doesn’t paint a good picture of their internal cultures. However, it’s more than just money that forces the best employees to look elsewhere.

A high staff turnover is a costly affair. Various studies report different results about just how costly it really is.

For example, the Society for Human Resource Management in America reports that it costs between six and nine months of the outgoing employee’s salary to recruit and train their replacement.

Other studies predict that, depending on the level of the employee a company is losing, they could lose as much as twice that person’s salary.

Finances aside, losing one of the best employees will no doubt have a negative effect on the company’s culture and morale.

With all these negative impacts to losing staff, it seems clear that the solution is to retain your best employees where possible.

The problem employers have with retaining staff is that they don’t know why they’re losing them in the first place. They might think the best way to retain people is by paying better wages, but there are issues with this.

For one thing, there are a number of bigger-picture elements that factor in when someone is thinking about leaving, and money is rarely the top of the list.

This means the employers that assume money is the only thing they can change don’t bother addressing anything else.

In this case, the companies that can afford to give salary increases might be able to hold onto their employees for now, but it ultimately won’t last.

If you’re left wondering why you’re essentially haemorrhaging your best employees, check how many of the following mistakes you’re making, all of which have nothing to do with salary increases.

Causing burnout

There are a few ways you can look at this. Have you given your employees more responsibilities without a promotion? Sure, promotions generally come with pay increases, but if you overload your employees with extra work without even acknowledging it, it will feel like a punishment.

Causing burnout or overworking your staff isn’t necessarily just about extra hours or more responsibilities. If you expect your employees to be accessible via email or phone 24/7, you’re expecting too much and majorly affecting their work-life balance.

No recognition

How often do you tell your employees that they did a good job? Employees are happier in their jobs when they receive recognition or perks for a job well done.

Of course, rewards shouldn’t always be expected and they won’t be possible after every big project your team works on. However, even a simple acknowledgement of good work will show your employees that they are valued.

Lack of development

Many of the best employees leave because of a lack of training and development. If you’re hiring people, handing them a job spec and just leaving them to their own devices, you’re not making your employees feel very valued – this will lead them to look elsewhere.

Again, career development doesn’t automatically mean promotions and salary increases straight away. It means investing in your employees and their abilities. Employers who want to hold onto their best employees should be training and upskilling them all the time.

No career path

Similar to a lack of training and development, employees need to see a career path in front of them if they’re going to willingly stay in a particular job.

Employers should put themselves in their employee’s position and think about that employee’s career path, and how they can move up in the company over time.

Not caring

It’s widely believed that employees don’t leave jobs; they leave managers. Aside from feeling valued in their jobs, employees need to feel valued, understood and cared for by their employers.

Managers need to balance being professional with being human. This comes with recognising their employees’ successes and acknowledging tough times – not just in work, but outside of their jobs too.

Employers who are concerned about losing their best employees need to find out what’s really going on within the company’s culture. What is bothering employees? What would make their lives easier?

There are plenty of reasons behind a high turnover of staff that have nothing to do with money, and once employers recognise these problems and start addressing them, they can start holding onto their best employees without having to thoughtlessly shell out salary increases.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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