Staff Turnover - A Barometer of Success?

5 June 2018 01:38
Sir Richard Branson after losing a bet in 2013
The current staff turnover rate at the USA Whitehouse is 34%. You can watch some of the comings and goings at the Whitehouse here.

But what level is too high when it comes to the revolving door of employees? At First Train, we say that a staff turnover rate higher than 10% indicates that there is probably an organisational problem that can be easily fixed.
The problem can be attributed to 3 performance areas:
  1. The recruitment process is flawed

  2. There is an issue with the line-managers

  3. The Senior leadership team is managing, not leading

The Recruitment Process

A company often thinks it is really popular if 100 people apply for 1 job. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It just means that the advert was not specific enough about the relevant skills needed to do that job. A job ad is the first process of the selection criteria and should weed out those without the relevant skills.
One of my clients once advertised for a "Reconciliation Coordinator". They were  inundated by people from financial backgrounds with experience in balance sheet reconciliation. They were actually a charity that supported work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Line Manager

According to countless studies, the main reason for people leaving a job is because of the person that they work for. According to Gallup's Chief Scientist, James Harter, 75% of people leave a company due to factors that their line manager is directly responsible for.
A lot of this is due to the "Imposter Syndrome". This situation is so common they've even given it its own name! People can get a promotion but then the fear of being outed as incompetent starts to manifest itself. 
This often materialises as the line-manager needing to take control of everything. They are dismissive of their team's suggestions; they need to double check everyone's work; or they feel threatened by competent subordinates. They are typical in taking the credit and passing on the blame - even when it's not warranted. A mature leader gives credit to the team and falls on their own sword when things go wrong. 

The Leadership Team

A common cause for staff discontent is the leaking of the leadership team's private discussions into the public domain. How are leaders meant to explore the various scenarios in the boardroom or around the senior leadership team that are affecting the organisation if those discussions leak to the staff?
This then causes uncertainty. If employees feel that there is disarray at the top, they will start to look for more secure work. 

What's the solution

The solution is simple - communication!

In every scenario above, if the communication process was clear and strategic from the start, then the right staff would be hired in the first place; managers would respect the diversity of ideas from their team; and the leadership team would be able to discuss all options without panicking staff. 
A closed organisation will breed suspicion; too open an organisation will breed uncertainty. The right place to be is in what astronomers call the Goldilocks Zone - not too hot; not too cold; but just right.
As experts in human capital and team cohesion, First Train is well placed to help you sort out your staff turnover. With a free consultation, we can provide an organisational or team review and make recommendations to stop the haemorrhaging of staff and boost employee engagement.
As Richard Branson says, "Look after your staff and the staff will look after your customers". That means more income and less expenses - what is there not to love!

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