Dealing with retention, turnover and absenteeism | S5 E7

First published: 12 March, 2024

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Engaging Internal Comms Series 5
Engaging Internal Comms Series 5
Dealing with retention, turnover and absenteeism | S5 E7

Navigating the Complexities of Employee Retention: Insights from the Front Lines

In one of our most insightful episodes to date, we tackled the challenges of retention, turnover, and absenteeism—a trifecta of concerns that continue to vex companies across the globe. We share the rich insights and practical advice we uncovered in a conversation with Douglas Brown, a renowned expert in reducing employee turnover and absenteeism, and another guest who brought a unique perspective on non-financial elements of employee retention.

The Current Landscape of Employee Retention

In our discussion, Douglas Brown shed light on the current state of employee retention and turnover. Despite a decline in turnover rates, these issues remain a significant challenge for organisations. Douglas pointed out that businesses must remain vigilant and proactive, especially as new factors such as remote work, work-life balance, and mental health concerns come into play.

The Hidden Costs of High Turnover

One of the most striking points of our conversation was the revelation of the hidden costs associated with high turnover. These include detrimental impacts on company brand, employee morale, loss of institutional knowledge, customer relationships, and overall productivity. Douglas emphasised that these indirect costs can be substantial, often surpassing the direct costs of hiring and training new employees.

Beyond Financial Incentives: The Power of Recognition

Our unidentified guest highlighted a critical gap in many organisations’ retention strategies: the lack of comprehensive employee recognition programs that extend beyond financial rewards. A survey conducted in collaboration with an international HR platform revealed this shortfall. Douglas stressed the importance of understanding employees’ unique expectations, goals, and needs, and the necessity of building trust, relationships, and a strong employee experience to bolster retention.

Non-Financial Drivers of Employee Retention

During our conversation, we delved into the various non-financial factors that contribute to employee retention. Autonomy, appreciation, teamwork, and opportunities for growth were among the key drivers mentioned. We discussed how different employees might prioritise different aspects of their work environment, underscoring the individual nature of these factors.

Emotions and Decision-Making

We also explored the role of emotions in decision-making. Major life decisions, including those related to careers, are often influenced by feelings and emotions rather than purely logical considerations. This insight is crucial for employers, as it highlights the need to address employees’ emotional needs to prevent negative sentiments about their careers and work environments.

Industry-Specific Turnover and the Role of Line Managers

The impact of industry-specific factors on turnover was another topic we touched upon. Certain industries face higher turnover rates due to commoditised labor markets or limited career advancement opportunities. We also discussed the evolving nature of the workforce, noting that younger generations may be more open to job changes if the right opportunities arise.

The role of line managers in employee satisfaction and commitment cannot be overstated. Douglas emphasised the profound influence managers have on the twenty identified retention drivers and the necessity for senior leaders to prioritise retention, equipping managers with the support and resources needed to foster employee retention.

Tools for Tackling Turnover

Douglas introduced us to tools such as the retention risk analyser and the business case calculator. These resources can help organisations assess workforce satisfaction, pinpoint areas for improvement, and understand the potential return on investment in retention strategies.

Conclusion: A Multifaceted Approach to Retention

The insights from our podcast episode underscore the multifaceted nature of employee retention. It’s clear that while financial incentives are important, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Non-financial factors, emotional considerations, industry-specific challenges, and the pivotal role of line managers all intertwine to shape the employee experience. By leveraging tools and adopting a comprehensive approach to recognition, organisations can address retention challenges and enhance employee satisfaction and commitment.

As we wrapped up our conversation, it was evident that the journey to improving retention is ongoing and complex. But with the right strategies and an understanding of the diverse factors at play, organisations can create a more stable, engaged, and productive workforce.

Guest profile

Douglas Brown is an expert in reducing employee turnover and absenteeism. Managing a workforce in today’s economic and social climate is not always easy. Douglas equips business owners and senior executives with the tools to identify key retention risks, understand the impact of high turnover rates, and implement effective solutions.

LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglas-brown-b3740825a/

Other useful links:

Website: www.manage2retain.com

State of Employee Retention Survey Results: https://reporting.alchemer.com/r/529365_64ac13a28fbdc5.92597125

Manage2Retain Assessment tools (Retention Risk Analyser and Business Case Calculator): https://manage2retain.com/assessment-tools/

Episode links

Link to a relevant episode of the podcast: https://thebigpicturepeople.co.uk/blog/podcast/motivational-intelligence-s1-e25/

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