The cost of a high employee turnover extends far greater than in recruiting and training new employees. While some turnover is inevitable, driving the rate of employee turnover down should be a top priority, as retaining motivated and competent staff is the biggest driver for growth, especially growth of the bottom line.
As anyone who works in healthcare knows, prevention is better than cure. So how can we prevent high rates of employee turnover?
Find the right fit
One way to prevent high rates of employee turnover is to hire based on culture for the company instead of finding the desired level of experience for the role. This is not as easy as it sounds. It requires a strong understanding of your organisational culture, and then application of that culture to behavior-centric interview questions to test whether a potential employee upholds the same values.
For example, if your company values strong and honest communication, perhaps ask the candidate about when they had to communicate with someone they didn’t agree with, or a longer term conflict they had to resolve and how they went about it. For more information on organisational culture and how to foster it, check out our ‘redefining company values’ post.
Another technique is to give potential employees a mental tour of your company values during the interview, explaining the company culture and values using a clear mind map of how they translate into everyday actions.
Explore job stressors
Workplace stress is one of the biggest drivers for employee turnover. Stress alone can produce an intention to quit, and according to Firth and colleagues, the main factors which lead to stress in the workplace or “stressors”, include “role ambiguity”, “role conflict”, “work overload” and “work-family conflict” (1).
These stressors can be mediated to prevent quitting behaviour. It is important to understand the level of stress that employees are facing by either arranging direct face-to-face meetings or by administering email surveys. Specifically asking about clarity of role responsibilities, experience of conflict with work colleagues, manageability of responsibilities or work-family conflict driven by fatigue, or staying at work late etc.
It is also important to address burnout, which is commonly caused by feeling emotionally drained, highly tense at work or inability to fall asleep due work-related issues. The study conducted by Moore found that low levels of communication between employees and employers significantly increases the subjective feeling of stress at work, and taking the time to make your employees feel heard will help to address this burden (2).
Remedy job dissatisfaction
Finally, job dissatisfaction can be remedied by providing the aforementioned support, and by improving the self esteem of your employees. This is often improved by shifting the locus of control from manager to employee so that the employees make independent decisions with minimal oversight, giving them a sense of value and competence. Together these factors will ensure that your employee turnover is kept at a minimum, once you’ve hired the right cultural. Approaching employees about their levels of stress and factors which influence it, taking actions to reduce these factors, creating rapport, developing support and providing independence so that the worker feels valuable will all go together to improve job satisfaction experienced by your employees.
- Firth L, Mellor D, Moore KA, Loquet C. How can managers reduce employee intention to quit? J Manage Psychol. 2004;19(2):170-87.
- Moore KA. Hospital restructuring: impact on nurses mediated by social support and a perception of challenge. J Health Hum Serv Admin. 2001;23(4):490-517.