How to retain good employees? Fix these quit risks.

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We know that employees have felt the strain over the past few years, with many now questioning their approach to work. There might be more turbulent times ahead, but staff still expect more from their employers than pre-pandemic. That’s why it’s crucial to make sense of the factors leading to employees quitting.

If your business has been slow to react to a new questioning mindset, there’s a chance this could fuel a rise in resignations. Let’s look at some common factors that boost your chances of losing staff – and what you can do to prevent this.

Overpromising the job

In a job market that’s been candidate-led, it might be tempting to oversell a role during interview to land the best candidates. But never sell a candidate a dream job unless you can deliver. Whether that’s around salary projections, workplace benefits or training programmes, overpromising will come back to bite you later.

This is clear in our work recruiting candidates via HR GO. We find that employees who start a new role only to realise that things aren’t as they seem end up feeling disappointed, cheated, and demotivated. It can even be a reason to hand in their notice.

Bear in mind your employer brand, too. This kind of let down is perfect fodder for employee review sites like Glassdoor. It’s far better to aim for authenticity and honesty from the start of the recruitment process.

Toxic work culture

It’s a no brainer: a company’s working environment affects how happy staff are to come to work. It impacts how engaged they are in their roles, and their levels of job satisfaction. So it’s no surprise that a toxic company culture can be poisonous for employee retention and a major quit risk. We see this in the research on UK labour market trends published by Kent University in partnership with HR GO. 

Compared to the question of salary, a lousy working culture is over 10 times better in predicting how many employees will quit their jobs.

All sorts of factors can lead to a toxic company culture. At one extreme we’re talking negative treatment like bullying or harassment and an environment where employees don’t feel safe. But even more subtle factors that are far more common can cause harm. And adding up over time could eventually lead to staff quitting.

These can include:

  • Poor employer-employee communication
  • Employees feeling that management fails to listen to them
  • A tense atmosphere in the workplace
  • Unhealthy work-life balance 
  • Employees feeling disconnected from colleagues
  • Employees not feeling they can be their true selves at work

If you’re not sure what staff think of your company culture, we suggest asking them. Find out more about how employee surveys can help you take action to improve your company culture.

Outdated work systems and tech

The right tech for work is a non-negotiable when it comes to a certain level of productivity. Not only that, but outdated systems can cause major, daily frustrations for your employees. That level of frustration can be a significant quit risk.

When the UK rushed to embrace remote working in 2020, it laid bare how outdated tech can really impact productivity and morale. Two years later, it’s clear that slow, ineffective tech tools really can hit team morale hard. This is especially if workers feel the tech at work is denting their performance instead of boosting it. 

Employees expect their companies to have caught up by now. Staff notice if work systems, tech and equipment need upgrading, especially if they can see things are done more efficiently elsewhere. So if your team still doesn’t have the right tools for the job, it can be frustrating enough for them to jump ship.

Ignoring staff potential

Happy, engaged employees are aware of what they’re working towards. They’re given the chance to see there’s room to grow in the role they’re in.

Motivated staff usually crave more responsibility and always want to feel like all their skills and talents are being used. In addition, a University of Oxford study showed that happy workers are 13% more productive than unhappy workers.

Google reports that in the last year the search ‘work progression’ has shot up a massive 200%. So if your employees feel there’s a lack of career development opportunities or that they’re not being stretched enough, this is a warning sign that they’re more likely to jump ship.

Beware especially if staff have already suggested they want to perform at a higher level, but as an employer you’ve done little to coach or develop their skillset. First there’ll be a dip in motivation and morale. And next they’ll become more open to work opportunities elsewhere, especially for companies that can help them reach their potential.

Building teams for the future

Every savvy business already pays close attention to the factors that can cause staff to leave. But why is this even more crucial now, with harsh economic conditions ahead?

When employees leave, team morale is affected. There’s also a gap in productivity while you find someone new. Or even worse, the leaving employee's workload is assigned to your remaining team. And of course replacing a member of staff and getting them proficient in their new role takes time and a significant price tag. All these things can spell disaster at a time when you can’t afford not to have a great team showing up for your business.

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