Recruiting the right employee takes time and invariably costs you money, so the last thing any boss would want to do – unwittingly or not – is drive a valuable employee away from the company.
“Every time you lose a good employee it costs you money because you’ll need to recruit and train someone to replace him or her. It disrupts continuity in your business, can hurt customer relationships, slows you down and results in you losing a small piece of your corporate memory,” Anton van Heerden, Sage HR & Payroll MD says.
He shares the seven things that bosses do that threaten a business’ competitive edge and that could lead to a high staff turnover.
- Not listening to employees
There’s nothing worse than a boss who stifles growth by not taking heed of employee feedback, and it’s a mistake that you could wind up paying dearly for. Van Heerden says leaders should take the time out to gather feedback from their employees, both formally and informally, to gain better insights into things like job satisfaction. Also, employees will tend to become despondent if they feel that ideas they spend time conceptualising aren’t taken seriously.
“Conduct regular surveys to assess workplace happiness and find out what you can realistically do to improve employee satisfaction. Employees might have great suggestions that can help you improve your business so their perspectives can be invaluable,” he says.
“Also, make some time to listen to employees’ suggestions in more informal settings.”
- Not communicating
Granted that as a boss you will be privy to information that is not for every employees’ knowledge, but playing your cards too close to your chest can also backfire badly. The key to keeping employees happy is being as transparent as possible.
“It’s important to keep employees as well informed about activities within the business as you can. Too much secrecy can eat away at employees’ happiness, trust and confidence leading to staff turnover. Rather be as transparent about the business’ plans, opportunities and challenges,” he says.
It’s always better for employees to hear bad news directly from the ‘horse’s mouth’ as opposed to the exaggerated office rumour mill.
- Inflexible working practices
Research has shown the benefits of offering employees options like flexi-time.
“These days, the best people gravitate towards organisations that offer them the work-life balance they desire. Rather than enforcing rigid office hours, why not allow knowledge workers who can do their jobs anywhere to work remotely or keep more flexible hours?” van Heerden asks.
“Long commutes in traffic are the source of much misery for the workforce, so it seems sensible to adopt working practices that help people spend their time as productively as possible.”
- Slashing training and development budgets to reduce costs
Most employees are keen to widen their knowledge pool and develop their skill set to improve their promotability prospects and van Heerden says this is twice as true for ambitious high performers. Even if your business is going through a rough patch, he says cutting the training budget should be the last thing you do.
“For that reason it’s important to have a formal learning and training strategy and to keep budget available for training and development. Losing good people or having an unskilled workforce will cost your business more money in the longer term,” he warns.
- Making poor hiring choices
On paper, an employee may have the right qualifications or work experience, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best option. When hiring an employee you need to ensure that they will fit into the organisational culture you have created.
“One of the biggest reasons people don’t last in a job is that they weren’t a right fit for the role or the company in the first place. Evaluate every candidate for his or her cultural fit with your organisation. Don’t just look at the skills, qualifications and experience, but also assess his or her attitude, values and outlook,” he says.
- Not having transparent performance management
Not only is this practice demoralising, it also leaves employees in the dark as to what they doing right, where they’re going wrong and what the company wants to achieve.
“A formal performance management process brings fairness and transparency into your relationship with employees. It helps them understand what is expected of them and helps you to understand what their goals are,” van Heerden says.
“Employees who know what they are working towards will be happier and less likely to leave than those who feel uncertain about their goals and those of the company.”
- Failing to invest in employee engagement
“Employee engagement can be defined as the techniques, tools and strategies you can use to get employees motivated about their work and engaged in the business’s strategy, values and culture,” he says.
Examples of employee engagement include employee satisfaction surveys, employee self-service tools, mentoring and team-building exercises.
“Without this investment, the business and its employees will be in poor alignment. The result will be poor staff retention.”