How to stop your staff from leaving

Stop your staff from leaving

´╗┐By: Lucy Chesterton

Quitting your job is hard enough, but telling the boss the truth about why you are going can be impossible.

Retaining staff means businesses save money on recruiting and training employees, says director of Exit Info Lenore Lambert, and identifying the real reason someone is leaving can help stop others following. But Ms Lambert warns workplace bullying or harassment can stop some employees from being honest about why they are leaving.

"Most exit interviews are conducted internally, so it can be hard for businesses to get an accurate reading on the reason someone is leaving," she said.

"It helps to get an external organisation to do it who can genuinely give the (employee) safety that if they don’t want their personal information disclosed we will not disclose it."

According to a study by the Australian Human Resources Institute, turnover rates rose five per cent to 18.5 per cent across Australian businesses between 2007 and 2008. And over half of those surveyed believed staff retention was a problem for their business.

An honest exit interview system can mean companies can identify why staff are walking out the door and then address the problems before others reach the point of leaving.

"When they get the reports, companies can identify, ‘OK, if we put our time and resources into this, it will have the single biggest impact on staff turnover than anything we could have done,’" Ms Lambert said.

She estimates that every staff member who resigns costs their employer the equivalent of a year’s salary for the vacated role, with most money going towards finding and training a replacement.

"Attracting and retaining talent is among the top three, if not the top issue, and it costs hideous amounts of money," she said.

To get accurate responses, Ms Lambert said her firm would only give a company the results from exit interviews after the respondent’s final day on the job.

The restriction also helps secure trust and prevents a backlash from negative feedback affecting references.

Chris Limberg, 27, quit his job at a funds management company in Sydney this month after being offered a job he couldn’t refuse.

Mr Limberg said he was only able to be honest about leaving because of his excellent relationship with his manager.

"I was in the fortunate situation where I got on really well with my manager, so I was able to be open about why I was leaving," he said.

"But it was very difficult. If there was another way of doing it I would (go to an outside organisation for an interview) because it’s pretty hard.

"If you can give them feedback on ways they can improve their roles, that’s probably a great option."

Ms Lambert claims honest feedback can mean better staff retention rates and the chance to save big bucks.

"There’s a pretty good chance that what businesses think their top reasons for leaving are probably not right," she says.

"So they are probably putting their energy, time and resources into initiatives that might have some benefits, but they are not actually going to reduce staff turnover."


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