Turnover Tsunami

4 August 2021

The phrase “Turnover Tsunami” is becoming slightly overused, but it is accurate - and there is no doubt it is happening.

I was speaking with a CEO yesterday about why he is experiencing such high staff turnover rates, even at senior level– and by that I mean voluntary departures and resignations.

But why?

  • Economic uncertainty: there was reticence about changing jobs during a shut-down.
  • Disengagement: Many believe that they’ve lost an entire year’s worth of progress in their careers.
  • Burnout: Most people worked longer hours and have a degree of pandemic burnout.
  • Disconnect: For some, working from home left people feeling undervalued and adrift from company culture and values.
  • Work / Life balance: opportunities to work remotely and even relocate to a more desirable place to live.

Turnover is costly

Recruiting, hiring, and training is expensive -  not to mention the time spent behind each phase of onboarding. More than that though, companies are potentially losing a valuable resource - someone with years of institutional knowledge.

What can you do?

Embrace the idea that business strategy and workforce planning will look different post-pandemic and to get started on identifying the talent, skills and roles that will be necessary to prosper once the health crisis passes.

  • Actively listen: to stem a turnover tsunami find out what your people need - and, depending on the size of your organization, coaching and consulting firms can provide the expertise necessary to retain your staff.
  • Upskill: We see too many clients defaulting to recruiting exactly the same skill sets that were previously successful in that role. We encourage our clients to identify and cultivate new skills because people should feel excited to stay within a company and see growth.
  • Retain top performers: focus on their career growth and be more transparent about career progression.
  • Create a culture of recognition: this is proven to be effective in decreasing turnover, as well as boosting productivity and engagement.
  • Remuneration: Sit down with your team and re-evaluate whether your benefits packages are equitable, competitive, and honest. Identify the shortcomings and come up with actionable steps to remain the most attractive option.
  • Get honest feedback: You may want to think about the power dynamics at play during these exit interviews and internal surveys. How comfortable do employees feel sharing their true disappointments and frustrations with you? Interviews and conversations conducted by third parties can provide your workers with a safe space in which to share serious underlying issues within the team and give you valuable feedback.

Lorri Lowe, Partner


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