Why do your staff really leave?

And how can your recruitment agency help you keep them?


Losing your best people is always frustrating. But even more so when you don’t really know why they choose to go or are left wondering if there is more you could have done to keep them.

Speaking with the hundreds of candidates who register with us each year highlights the wide variety of motivations that drive people to look elsewhere. Personal circumstances change; other employers offer better money; something is wrong with the work environment; a lack of development opportunities etc. In reality, there is usually no single reason for changing jobs rather a combination of factors that have made the individual feel unsettled or dissatisfied.

What interests many of our clients is what they can learn from the companies with the best track records in retention. What do those employers do differently? And how can your recruitment company help you emulate their successes?

How the best employers minimise staff turnover

The employers who enjoy the lowest staff turnover are often the most selective hirers. They recognise that replacing staff is costly in terms of lost productivity, the time involved and the associated costs such as recruitment fees. As a result, they don’t settle on a 7 out of 10 and will rarely hire an 8 out of 10. They focus on personality and cultural fit as much as, if not more than, skills and experience which are often easier to develop on the job.

Because they hire selectively the office environment tends to be positive making it easier to attract 9 out of 10s. It’s a virtuous circle. Recruiting for them is hard work but they are also willing to pay well to find and attract those top candidates.

The diligence these companies apply to their hiring strategies is a great indicator that they prioritise talent management over pretty much everything else leading to happy and productive staff.

Their talent management teams proactively:

  • maintain a clear vision and values;
  • put in place (and abide by) clear development targets and career plans;
  • benchmark remuneration and benefits against competitors;
  • run regular performance reviews involving managers, peers and reports;
  • personalise incentives and benefits for every member of staff; and
  • encourage an open environment where all staff feel valued and appreciated.

These companies take every opportunity to assess and review their recruitment and retention strategies. Whenever they hire a new person they conduct an entry interview in part to understand and set the new employee’s expectations, but also to understand what other employers are doing better than them and, equally important, what they are doing better than other employers.

Similarly, every employee who leaves receives an exit interview so that the employer can understand why they decided to move on and what other companies are offering. They will also often organise an informal exit interview to encourage the employee to share frustrations they might not have done in the official meeting.

How your recruitment company can help

It is in our interest to help minimise your staff turnover – if you keep your best people you are likely to grow faster and need our help recruiting to achieve your plans.

And because we speak with so many clients and candidates we are ideally placed to be able to help you benchmark your talent attraction and management strategies against best practice.

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation chat.

Clare Wight is managing director of Clarity appointments, a fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals and a regional director for The Employment Agents Movement (TEAM). Her email is: clare.wight@clarityteam.co.uk


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