Saturday, May 5, 2012

Reducing staff attrition rates through connected and engaged employees


I've been reading a blog which is written by Flora, who has recently taken on a role as a Human Resources Adviser at a woman's clothing chain, with stores all around New Zealand, Funky Town.  Last Wednesday, she published a blog article entitled "Too much turnover".  She outlined some of the issues she faced with a turnover rate of up to 40%.  A lot of this being driven by the use of casual and part time staff.

I'm not sure that this percentage can be looked at by itself to assess where the problem may lie,  it could be that the attrition rate needs to be considered in three parts - Casual, Part-time, Full-time. Typically, casual workers will have a significantly higher turnover rate as both the employer and employee have limited commitment to each other.

It is important to determine 'why' people want to work for your company.  Have you ever asked your employees what it is, they like the most about working for your organization?  On the other hand, have you ever asked what it is, that gives them the least satisfaction?  Have you ever asked, what it is that they would change?

It is important to understand 'why' your employees like to work for you.  By understanding this, you then have the ability to attract and retain the best talent available to your industry.  The questions that you ask during the interview process could then assess the candidate in line with 'why' they want to work for you, and the reasons that longer term employees have provided.

Having a high attrition rate, reduces productivity and profitability.  It is important to communicate a clear strategy and vision to the new hire.  The new employee needs to become quickly aware of the significance of his/her role within the greater organization.  The employee needs to be engaged in a clear training plan which will help him/her realize, rapid, measured, personal improvement.

While considering the 'why', it's also important to consider the 'who'.  Making use of recruitment websites is likely to attract a broad range of unskilled, hopefuls.  They come to your company as an 'unknown',  therefore, a decision is made with significant weighting on references.  When employing people, I have never paid too much attention to references (unless the comments were negative). Likewise, when applying for jobs, I have only ever listed references which I know will provide good feedback.  This undermines the entire process.

The best people you can employ are those you already know.  With staff attrition rates as high as 40%, it is important to stay connected to the "good" talent which has left the organization.  It is also important to encourage existing employees to refer people whom they already know.  The company I work for has a referral program in place which compensates the employee/referrer. Therefore, reducing the cost of recruitment.

Keeping employees connected and engaged, is certainly the key to attracting and keeping the best talent.  Human resource departments need to be focused on this as part of their contribution to ensuring the company retains a competitive advantage.  By transforming into a 'Social Business' through cultural transformation, employees (both past and present) are able to become more engaged.  If employees are not getting out of bed in the morning with a high degree of excitement, about attending their place of work, then they are not engaged.  I know that I have written about this last, but employee engagement is the number one issue to consider.

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