Employee retention: why staff leave

by Hudson
Midsection Of Businessman Carrying Cardboard Box

Employee retention: what managers need to know about why staff leave

Employers beware: data shows that many new staff members leave before they even finish settling in.

Every manager shares the same goal with new hires: that the hire will not only fill a key gap in the team but slide neatly into the broader workplace culture where they will work productively and be happy to stay for a reasonable period of time.

But Hudson data shows that for many managers a shock may be in store: one in five employees in Australia have left a new job within three months of starting.

It’s a trend that has obvious costs, but may also be hitting business in less obvious ways.

In addition to the direct cost of recruitment or advertising, there’s also the indirect cost of the time, effort and opportunity cost of having managers sit through four, five or more hours of interviews.

Hiring managers aren’t the only ones who pay. Getting new starters up and running is often the job of the broader team. When new hires repeatedly leave after a short time it can have a detrimental impact on the team as a whole, both in terms of
time wasted and as a hit to morale. Existing team members may not be as enthusiastic about putting as much effort in the next time round.

Solution? Clearly define the role

So where do companies go wrong? Data shows that the majority of respondents who have left a job within the first three months say it’s because the role was not what they expected.

Top 3 reasons for leaving a job within the first three months
1. The role was not what I expected 57%
2. My manager was not what I had hoped 32%
3. Received another job offer 27%

Sometimes the role hasn’t been defined clearly enough internally before it goes to market, but in many cases it’s simply a matter of employers failing to accurately portray the role.

If you oversell a position the new hire goes in and finds they aren’t challenged – and before you know it, they are starting to look elsewhere. Underplaying a role’s challenges is not likely to result in positive outcomes either.

The key to getting it right is being very clear from the planning stage about what the opportunity really involves. Then, managers need to interview skillfully and effectively.

What is needed is a style of interviewing that draws out specific examples from candidates that are relevant to the role, perhaps asking when they’ve worked under similar levels of pressure, or met tight deadlines. And of course managers need to
interview for cultural and motivational fit to find hires who will stay – and perform – for the longer term.

Don’t ignore the downsides

To ensure new employees know what they’re walking into, it’s also important to discuss potential challenges while in the interview stage: a worthwhile exercise despite the fact that hiring managers don’t usually want to dwell on the
negatives of the role they’re trying to fill.

This will at least give potential hires the opportunity to go away and reflect and assess for themselves if it’s the right role for them. A well-informed candidate who accepts the role is one who is likely to stay – making everyone a winner.