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How to find a recruiter

Recruiters are key business personnel, because the quality of your entire organization depends on their ability to find and attract the best possible candidates. Competition for top recruiters is intense, but here are five tips on how to find a recruiter that will put you ahead of your competition:

Use an executive recruiting organization

If your company is large enough to need a specialized recruiter, it’s large enough to consider the option of hiring an outside recruiting organization. Investing in third-party expertise can have far-reaching benefits for the future of your company, since a top-notch HR hire will then go on to fill your ranks with equally excellent employees. If you decide to take this option, look for an executive search consultant or team that specifically outlines their background in sourcing HR talent.

Screen for key characteristics

When you publicize your company’s need for a new recruiter, you’ll encounter an assortment of candidate profiles. If you keep in mind the primary qualities of your ideal recruiter, you can build your selection process to screen for those specific qualities. According to Concordia University, the primary characteristics that you should look for in a recruiter are: organizational ability, ethics, communication skills, problem-solving acumen, leadership talent, and experience in the field.

Post the job in HR trade publications

To find professionals in any field, you go to the specialized online forums where they network with each other. Human resources professionals are consummate networkers, and a focused HR job board on their favorite trade publication is likely to be the first place they’ll look for new opportunities. Two examples are HR Jobs at the Society for Human Resource Management and the Career Center at Workforce HR Jobs.

Take a team approach to hiring

Whether you’re adding to an already-existing HR department or hiring your first dedicated recruiter, the decision is too important to rest solely on one person’s opinion. It’s a good idea to interview potential HR candidates at least twice, and invite other managers to sit in on at least one of the interviews.

Present an updated view of HR’s function

The function of the recruiter within a company is currently undergoing a radical shift. In order to attract the top HR talent, you have to demonstrate your understanding of the new role that human resources leaders play in today’s organizations. Recruiting and hiring is no longer merely an administrative role; instead, HR professionals are key members in the company’s management team, helping build core strategy for the future.

Finding and attracting good recruiters requires a significant investment of resources, but this investment is one that will return abundant benefits in social and financial realms.

Characteristics of a good manager

You’ve heard the expression “born leader” before. Is there such a thing? And if being a good manager is due to inborn traits, is there value in all the leadership training programs currently available? The truth, as you probably suspected, is a combination of both. Here’s a look at some of the inherent qualities that contribute to effective leadership, together with an exploration of the ones that can be taught:

Inherent leadership qualities

According to Psychology Today, about one third of leadership ability springs from a person’s innate tendencies. These include the following:

  • Extraversion: A good leader often has to deal with other people all day long, so it’s better to be energized rather than drained by the experience.
  • Social intelligence: Managers don’t necessarily need the kind of intelligence that allows people to solve calculus problems, but they need a quick understanding of the structure of social interactions.
  • Assertiveness: Obviously a leader must be willing to put their message out in clear terms.
  • Willingness to take risks: Leaders must be capable of taking calculated risks without being timid or foolhardy.
  • Empathy: Good leaders have the capacity to see the world through the eyes of those whom they direct.

Leadership qualities that are teachable

In one study, managers who took a leadership course saw improvement in many of the characteristics of a good manager as long as they started with one key quality: employee motivation. University of Notre Dame, which offers leadership training, identifies business course topics that contribute to the development of skilled leaders. These topics include:

  • Good communication skills: A person’s extroversion is only beneficial if it is backed up by skillful speaking and writing abilities.
  • Team building ability: Leading depends on building effective working groups and bringing stakeholders together. This is the learned skill that extends social intelligence into measurable progress.
  • Recognition of the need for change: Taking bold steps to enact change when it’s necessary can feel risky, but a good manager is ready to step outside their safety zone and try something completely different.
  • Vision and goal setting: A persuasive manager develops visions and goals interactively through an empathetic understanding of subordinates’ needs.

Tips on training your managers

Leadership author Erika Anderson points out that the central leadership quality of self-awareness can be developed by inviting feedback from direct reports and encouraging managers to listen carefully. Instituting organizational channels for two-way communication between managers and their teams is good way to nurture self-awareness.

Rudy Giuliani is quoted as having said, “Leadership does not simply happen. It can be taught, learned, developed.” With training opportunities available to develop their innate abilities, your managers can prove his point.

Employee Incentive Programs

Many companies consider wellness programs to be a nice extra — an optional perk to keep employees engaged. The evidence, however, demonstrates that workplace wellness programs have far-reaching economic benefits for the companies that put them in place. Harvard Business Review notes that Johnson & Johnson saved $250 million on employee health care costs as a result of their long-running emphasis on worker wellness. This works out to a return of $2.71 for every dollar they invested. Here’s a quick look at how you can help your employees improve their level of wellness.

Incentives are essential

The Wall Street Journal reports “Nearly 90 percent of employers offer wellness incentives or financial rewards or prizes to employees who work toward getting healthier.” This percentage represents a substantial increase from earlier years, as organizations have come to recognize two things: first, they will benefit financially from a healthier workforce, and second, employees aren’t good at following through with new health habits in the absence of incentives. The fact that people have trouble sticking with health resolutions is well-known, so organizations and workers alike can benefit from well-organized programs.

Diverse approaches to employee incentive programs

Employee incentive programs can be structured around several models, and you may want to draw from each one in order to suit the diversity of personal styles among your staff:

  • Personalized interventions: These reward individual employees for taking specified personal health steps, such as completing a health risk assessment, reaching a target weight, or getting a cancer screening. Individual incentives don’t invite team effort or competition, but people who prefer to make such efforts privately will appreciate receiving an individual bonus.
  • Employee competitions: Some people are motivated by the recognition they will achieve by coming out on top of a friendly competition. The contest model can be applied to such actions as quitting smoking, attending a certain number of exercise classes, or walking the greatest number of steps in a given period. Incentives for winning such competitions can be gift cards, vacation days, and/or public presentation of prizes.
  • Collaboration: The third model for creating employee incentive programs is a collaborative one. Lunchtime walking groups or gym clubs use a supportive camaraderie to encourage employees to remain disciplined. Incentives here can also be cash, gift cards, or peer-to-peer recognition.

Letting your employees know you care about their health and wellbeing will build a sense of loyalty in your organization and contribute to a stable, productive economic future as well.

Team Morale

When employees are laid off or fired, it can damage the morale of the team members who remain. The dismissal of a colleague can also erode the trust and loyalty that your employees feel toward you, even if you had excellent reasons for making your decision. Here are three tips for helping your department maintain high team morale in the aftermath of layoffs or firings:

Acknowledge the situation

There’s no way to have a comfortable conversation when you’re talking about workers who you’ve had to let go. Unfortunately, there is also no good way to avoid having that conversation. Simma Lieberman, a California management consultant says, “One of the worst actions management can take during this time is to not acknowledge the situation and the impact it is having on employees. This only makes the situation worse.” Being proactive in initiating a discussion of these events allows you to address employee anxiety and clear up misperceptions. Worker trust can only be rebuilt within a climate of transparency.

Present a continuity plan

Your employees will have two big questions in their minds following layoffs or firings, and a continuity plan is necessary to address both of these questions. The first question is: Is my job safe? To renew a sense of engagement within your company, you need to lay out a clear plan to show your workers why you need them and how their contribution is crucial to your mission. The second question you’ll hear is: Who’s going to cover the extra work? This should be clearly addressed with specifics and you should also be open to feedback from those employees whom you expect to shoulder the extra burden.

Head off further turnover

It might seem as though the workers who still have jobs after a round of layoffs or firings would breathe a sigh of relief. In fact, however, research published in Harvard Business Review notes that companies typically see “a substantial increase in voluntary departures after layoffs, even if the downsizing was small.” Watching a colleague lose their source of livelihood is disturbing for the whole team, and uncertainty and discouragement run rampant in the wake of that disruption. The Harvard research warns that your highest performers are the likeliest to quit after losing members of their team. As a manager, you’ll need to direct some specifically encouraging energy to these capable employees, emphasizing to them that the downsizing has opened up new doors to advancement for them.

It’s never easy to let workers go, and dealing with the aftermath can be tricky. Handled correctly, though, team morale can be maintained and productivity protected.

 

Company Culture

Having a positive company culture is an essential part of fostering engagement among employees, and it also directly influences a company’s “productivity, creativity, value and growth rates,” according to Columbia Business School professor Shiva Rajgopal. Although the essential value of company culture is undisputed, the question remains of who should initiate it: Should it come from top executives and trickle down? Should it be determined by HR professionals who roll out “culture” activities? Or should it be a grassroots effort by employees who live the culture every day?

Leadership gets the ball rolling

“Someone in a leadership position in your organization needs to make the initial decision that cultural change is a priority,” according to culture change consultant Micah Solomon. He points out that, while employee input may identify problem areas, management has the power to implement necessary structural changes throughout the organization. These changes are going to affect every department, and may include new HR hiring priorities and procedures, new evaluation metrics for managers, and new standards for line workers.

All employees bring company culture to life

It’s not enough to simply dictate cultural change from the top down, however. As Solomon puts it, “If employees are only doing things right because you spelled out every little thing, even if you do so very, very elegantly, you haven’t created a culture, and you haven’t created an approach that is sustainable.” To transform company culture from mere words into a living force that permeates the whole organization, you will need to ensure that everyone’s needs are being met. “Culture-driven companies explicitly put their people first,” states Forbes culture consultant Josh Bersin.

Everyone benefits from a positive culture

A high-quality corporate culture has direct impact on a company’s value, with some industry analysts now studying Glassdoor ratings as part of their valuation process. Furthermore, the “culture winners” are drawing top talent, as is evident in the overlap between Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For and LinkedIn’s list of The World’s Most In-Demand Employers.

Want to learn more about how company culture impacts employee engagement? Download our latest whitepaper, All for one and one for all. 

accepting_praise

by Iain Ferreira, Proposal Writer

In the rapidly growing, highly competitive corporate world, most people work hard to stand out from the rest of their colleagues through productivity and performance. However, when praised for the contributions they have made, most will respond with a sheepish smile and humbly try to deflect the praise elsewhere. While humility is an admirable quality, consistently deflecting praise can have numerous negative effects, including:

You could receive less recognition: Your managers and peers could be less inclined to offer positive reinforcement if they feel they are making you uncomfortable. Some might even feel as if you are questioning their judgement by recognizing you in the first place.

You might indirectly lessen the impact you made: The reason you’re being praised is you’ve had a tremendous impact on a particular facet of the business. If you downplay your contributions, it might make higher-ups view your role as less than the actual amount of effort you put in.

You could limit the visibility of your efforts: Promotions and management opportunities are often given to employees that create the most value. By accepting an award at a company-wide function or having your manager sing your praises on a conference call with top executives, your value to the company reaches those that might not work in your department.

With companies putting greater emphasis on employee recognition, accepting a compliment in an appropriate manner can go a long way to furthering your career goals. Here are some ways to better accept compliments in the workplace:

Accept the recognition: Don’t deflect attention elsewhere. A manager is complimenting you because your work compelled them to do so.

Be mindful of body language: Don’t shrug your shoulders or look away when being praised. Maintain eye contact with the recognizer and respond with a smile. The subtle reinforcement of positive body language can go a long way in ensuring that you are recognized again.

Thank the person complimenting you: A succinct, sincere “thank you” is more than enough indication that you appreciate being complimented. If you feel it necessary, thanking someone is a good place to reinforce your accomplishment, “Thank you so much, it was a huge project but thanks to some quick thinking, we completed it without a hitch” or include others, assuming management hasn’t already thanked your colleagues for their work, “Thank you, if not for (insert name here), this could have been a disaster.”

Return the favor: If someone complimenting you has played a role in whatever success you’re being recognized for, receiving a compliment is an excellent opportunity to return the favor and compliment them back. “Thank you so much for recognizing my effort on project X. Truth be told, I couldn’t have done it without your help.”

These are just some of the ways you can show gratitude for recognition. Ultimately, how you interact in the workplace is defined on the individual level and can be influenced by your company’s culture as well. As such, recognition doesn’t have to be limited to an in-person compliment— greeting cards, gifts, group email recognitions, or a post on a company-wide recognition platform are just a few ways to give and receive praise in the workplace.

Iain FerreiraIain Ferreira is a Proposal Writer at Achievers. He lives in San Francisco.

 

Employee Health and Fitness Month

May is Global Employee Health & Fitness Month (GEHFM), so it’s a great opportunity for you to inject some new energy into your employee wellness programs and introduce new measures for improving employee wellbeing. Healthy, well employees are more likely to be productive, happy, and engaged. Here are some ways you can help your employees achieve higher levels of health and physical fitness, based on suggestions made by the nonprofit sponsors of this special awareness month.

Healthy moments

Improving employee health doesn’t have to mean substantial investments of time, energy, and resources. GEHFM reminds everyone that modest one-at-a-time measures can add up to big improvements over time. You can facilitate healthy moments at your workplace by providing nutritious snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables as an alternative to sweet, starchy office treats. Encourage your employees to get more exercise by subsidizing gym memberships or providing incentives for walking or biking to work. Bringing in a massage therapist to offer shoulder rubs during high-pressure projects is another fun and cost-effective idea.

Healthy groups

Peer companionship can make the difference between success and failure in sticking to healthy new habits. For that reason, GEHFM’s second set of recommendations revolve around forming groups for sharing sustainable healthy activities that will continue on past this one month. You can facilitate such groups by hiring trainers to offer free on-site fitness classes in yoga or other forms of exercise. You can also help employees organize cycling groups, lunchtime walking groups, or after-work activity clubs.

Company-wide projects

To achieve a sense of alignment in the concept of wellness throughout your entire organization, GEHFM encourages you to initiate a company-wide health-related project this month. Here are a few options for creating “culminating projects” that every employee can be invited to join:

  • Hold a step competition using digital apps to track steps and see who took the most steps during a given period.
  • Sponsor a company 5K race to raise funds for a cause selected by the workers.
  • Plan a fun fitness event for workers and their families.
  • Transform a piece of company property into a volunteer-tended vegetable garden.

Global Employee Health & Fitness Month is a good opportunity to get creative and seek input from all your workers. Almost everyone spends time thinking about how they can improve their fitness, and your organization will benefit from the synergy of everyone joining together to lead healthier lives.

Managing Remote Teams

Now that technology has made it easier than ever to telecommute, companies are relying more and more on teams of remote employees. However, these long-distance workers can pose unique challenges for the managers who supervise them. Without the traditional trappings of an office, coffee breaks, and face-to-face communication, managers need to find new ways to coach and connect. Here are three best-practice tips that are proving successful in managing remote teams:

  1. Focus on outcomes

Are you accustomed to judging your employees’ productivity according to whether they show up on time and look like they’re busy? If so, managing a team of people you can’t see will force you to find other evaluation methods and rely more on employee accountability. Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, points out that, “It’s much harder to fake productivity when you work remotely, as long as managers are focusing on goals and outcomes for their employees and teams.” She notes that successful managers set “granular tasks,” with weekly and possibly even daily milestones. If your employee is hitting all their productivity marks, you don’t need to worry about how many hours they’re actually at their desk, or whether they take a break to move their laundry.

  1. Encourage multi-function communication

Staying in touch with your remote workforce means using a range of communication channels. Regular phone conversations are important, as are emails and texting. Collaboration platforms allow remote team members to share projects at a distance, and teleconferencing software lets you gather your team together in one virtual location. In addition to these formal communication channels, Harvard Business Review recommends the use of technology to “create water cooler moments.” Impromptu conversations between colleagues are one of the most valuable aspects of in-person work, and setting up an open video link between offices is the best way to reproduce this casual team-building friendliness.

  1. Develop a strong onboarding process

Traditional onboarding involves setting up an employee’s workspace and showing them around, so it may seem less relevant to your remote workers. In fact, a carefully thought-out onboarding process is essential for building your remote team. The underlying purpose of onboarding isn’t merely to introduce logistical details; its real value lies in aligning new hires with company culture and helping them feel like part of the team. Eric Siu, CEO of San Francisco marketing company Single Grain, has set up an internal wiki using Hackpad for sharing logistical information, but he also reminds managers “Don’t skimp on face time.” Personal connections, especially at the beginning of employment, are vital to laying the foundation for employee loyalty.

Managing remote teams effectively doesn’t mean you have to develop an entirely new set of skills. If you rely on your professional instincts and simply adjust a few of your methods, you’ll find yourself leading a productive, engaged team.

 

Bad Bosses

If you’re entering a leadership role after your team has suffered the ill effects of a bad boss, you’ve got a list of important tasks ahead of you to repair the damage. You may find your employees discouraged and unproductive in the wake of poor management, and you will need to introduce an entirely new climate for team operations. While this is a tricky task, it’s an important one, because you’ll be making the workplace a much more pleasant and productive place for everyone.

Encourage employee feedback

There are different kinds of bad bosses, from the micromanagers to the inept, to the disconnected and the downright mean. Find out what kind of damage control you need to do by asking employees to submit anonymous, written responses to a few questions. The anonymity will provide a sense of safety and encourage people to be honest, and open-ended questions such as, “What changes would you like to see in our operations?” allow the real problems to surface. Follow up this input with face-to-face meetings dedicated to creating a new team atmosphere. On an ongoing basis, make clear that feedback in your organization goes in both directions: Explain that supervisors and managers will continue to seek feedback from direct reports.

Build positive team relationships

You and your direct reports can set the tone for a productive workplace environment by using a multi-pronged approach:

  • Transparency: Share department goals and strategy openly with all members of your staff so that everyone feels that they have a share in working toward those goals.
  • Employee Wellness: Encourage workers to take their vacation days and get plenty of exercise, so they can recharge their energy.
  • Better Work-Life Balance: Introduce options for flexible scheduling and working from home, to ease pressure on employees with family caregiving responsibilities.
  • Employee Recognition: Give workers a boost by recognizing them when they put in extra effort on a project. Noticing and rewarding individuals who show dedication is an essential part of building employee loyalty.

“Chase the vision, not the money.” This quote, from Zappo’s uber-successful CEO Tony Hsieh, points out that the most important element to long-term success is building an organization where people love to work. It’s not easy to alleviate the disruption and disillusionment that bad bosses create within a team, but with focused effort, it’s very possible. The outcome is happier workers in the short term and a stronger department in the years to come.