Tackling Attrition

British business faces a bill of £38 billion per year on staff turnover, at a cost of £8-10,000 per employee wasted on recruitment and the loss of productivity.  Therefore strategic motivation is at the heart of lowering attrition and companies need to sell themselves to staff before selling to the public to effectively achieve buy-in of any brand.

Retaining and developing staff will be among the highest costs for any business. However many organisations lack the structure, mechanics and communication channels to successfully maintain an ongoing motivation or ‘staff development’ programme.  There are basic steps that any organisation can employ whether it means hiring a specialist agency or putting the necessary structure into practice themselves.

From an employer’s perspective, a strategic motivation programme’s core objective is to produce profitability, brand reputation and growth.  This is primarily achieved through staff proficiency.

According to research* an average of 30% of staff leave a job within 12 months, at which time they have only achieved around 25 % proficiency.  Only at 36 months are employees proven to reach the 90% proficiency mark.  Employers need to cross this hurdle by starting with the basics as to why staff leave.

It’s vitally important for companies to find out what staff think and feel about their organisation.  A two-way communication channel between a company and its staff is key to improving staff churn rates and reducing absenteeism.

One of the primary steps in achieving this is to implement regular staff feedback exercises.  The mechanics of this can be simple.  Operated under a broader campaign banner, staff questionnaires can be downloaded from the campaign site or handed out in printed form.  Incentives may need to be offered for completing the questionnaire and thus ensuring a higher response rate.  It’s then imperative that staff surveys are thoroughly analysed and feedback is provided to staff, and more importantly, management follows up with the appropriate action.

With this key employee feedback in hand companies can focus on the business of motivation.   Not surprisingly this should begin with the strategic objectives and direction for the business. There needs to be synergy between how customers and staff see the business. It is no secret that those businesses that have strong strategic direction and leadership in their core marketplace tend to be more successful as employers too. The real magic comes from engaging employees in that vision and making them a central part of the success of the organisation.

Salary and value based remuneration is fundamental. If employees believe that their basic needs are not being met, any incentive scheme to drive motivation will only be seen as a smoke screen.  Once a fair and equitable remuneration scheme is in place, there are much richer pickings for an organisation by tapping in to the emotive and less rational drivers that we all have inside ourselves.

With the strategic direction clearly defined and the basic remuneration and benefits package in place, companies can start to use classic motivation techniques to engage employees in the ongoing success of the business. In broad terms, this involves breaking down the strategic objectives so that individuals can understand the part they play in the future of the business.  It involves a clear definition of what ‘successful’ looks like.   This process comprises measurement and monitoring of performance and it involves reward and recognition for those who achieve and exceed their goals.  But more than anything else it requires a good understanding of motivational techniques and how to effectively communicate the proposition.

For many years now businesses have understood that there are major benefits in marketing their product proposition to customers rather than simply trading on price.  The same is now true in the employment market.  Employers must learn how to create and market an added value employment proposition to their employees and prospective employees. This crossover of HR management, marketing and communications technology is creating a whole new and interesting discipline.  Getting it right has clear bottom line benefits for the employer.

Looking ahead, the motivation industry will continue to adopt appropriate strategies and technology to maximise the delivery of this discipline.  The major change will be the increasing awareness of how important the people related marketing discipline is in achieving success at the bottom line.

* (Source: Telecom Users Association)

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