When it comes to recruitment, you put a lot of precious time, effort and resources into advertising your vacancies in an effort to attract and employ talented new hires who are best suited to the job at hand. 

However, you should never fall into the trap of thinking that your work is done once your new starters are added to your payroll. While people work, first and foremost, to earn a living, employers need to work hard to actively retain great members of their team.

The Cost of Losing your Staff

From the ground up, there’s absolutely no doubt that your staff retention is a vital component to the success of your company. 

Easily the biggest issue is how a business’ bottom line is affected by an employee quitting. The average cost of employee turnover is around £11,000 per person – that’s based on the average UK salary, so bear in mind that this is likely to actually be much higher depending on their position in the company. 

Turnover costs become significantly higher for specialist roles as you must take into consideration the time and money invested into them as well as any specialist equipment or benefits they get based on their role. 

In fact, turnover costs are made up of many factors, including, but not limited to: 

  • Productivity loss.
  • The time taken for staff to become fully efficient in their role. 
  • Advertisement costs.
  • Agency fees.
  • Cost of equipment including uniforms, badges/passes, desk equipment etc. 
  • The time taken out to interview, give an induction and train new staff. 

Another factor that should be taken into account is that losing senior staff members will cost much more still. This is based on their position and the various implications of their departure. Losing a senior team member could cost your company in the region of £40,000 to a whopping £100,000.

Reasons Why ‘Smart Talent’ Employees Leave

A recent study shows that there is an almost shocking disconnect between employee expectations and the experiences that they have at work. 

The study looked at 1,000 ‘smart talent’ employees who were hand-picked as a result of their attitude, ambition and drive to succeed on top of the want to be a force for good within their company. 

The majority of the study’s participants expressed that they felt they were being prevented from using their skills to reach their true potential. It was also uncovered that over half of the employees surveyed said that the reality of their job role doesn’t meet the expectations they had when they first started. Additionally, only a third of people feel that their employers have helped them to develop a clear career path. 

There are plenty of reasons for employees to leave their job including career changes, relocation and retirement – these will all have an impact on your business, for sure, but are unavoidable in most cases. However, there are also a multitude of other causes for top talent employees to abandon ship, and they can be avoided if you only know how. 

Poor management – Employees who rate their managers poorly or otherwise just have a bad working relationship with their supervisors are four times more likely to job hunt. 

Lack of employee recognition – According to the same survey, as little as 12.4% of workers feel recognised by their employers and one in five people who don’t feel this way have admitted to interviewing for a new job in the last three months alone.

Overworked staff – Employees who have a good work-life balance are 10% more likely to stay in their job. If your employees are overworked and burnt out, it’s only a matter of time before they leave you for something else. 

Company culture not being made a priority – Employees who rate their company’s culture poorly are reported to be 24% more likely to leave. Some even feel that a good company culture is more important than their benefits package. People who feel that they don’t have good working relationships, or at the very least, respect from their colleagues are also 26% more likely to quit. 

No growth opportunities – It’s been recorded that staff who don’t feel supported in their progression and professional goals are three times more likely to search for alternative employment. 

Keep Ahead of the Game

So, how does an SME ensure that their top talent isn’t given any reason to want to leave? 

A decent salary, benefits and a retirement plan are all very well and good, but as we have discovered, these alone are not enough. Let’s take a look at some ideas to get you really playing for keeps. 

Manage the expectations of new hires – You need to craft job descriptions that are accurate, honest and that clearly communicate the targets and responsibilities of the role. These points should also be covered during interviews to ensure that candidates are aware of the true nature of the job. 

Make staff feel like an asset – Ask for their input when making decisions that will affect them, keep them in the loop about important events and changes and don’t forget to thank them for their hard work and support from time to time. It goes a long way!

Help them to improve – Spend more time understanding what your staff want out of their careers and provide the training and resources they need to develop. The opportunity to learn is important for everyone, so make sure that your top performers know that there’s room for growth and progression within your company – don’t let them feel stifled or they’ll start to look elsewhere. 

Provide feedback –  If your staff don’t know what you think of their work, how can you expect them to improve? Likewise, let them know when a job has been done well or they may feel ignored and disengaged – at which point you wave goodbye to your productivity, too. 

Hire person-centred bosses – The people you put in charge are just as important as the processes you implement to make sure your staff are happy. Hire (or promote from inside the team) managers who recognise and actively praise their staff.