There is no longer such a thing as a job for life. Younger workers, in particular, see chopping and changing jobs as a reality of working life and a necessity if they are to get to where they want to be. According to research by life insurance firm LV, a UK worker switches jobs every five years on average, leading to employee turnover rates in some industries of up to 15 percent.

The reasons for the rise in job-hopping are clear. Employer-provided job security is a thing of the past, so there’s little benefit in staying put. By switching jobs more regularly, workers tend to receive higher compensation and develop a broader base of skills than if they stayed with the same firm for a longer period of time.

The cost of high staff turnover

Having a high staff turnover adds to the costs of a business dramatically. The investment made hiring and training the outgoing employee immediately vanishes, leaving the employer to pay the same costs all over again. However, the negatives in terms of the costs and the performance of your business don’t stop there. There’s also a knock-on effect on daily task management, team morale, company image, team dynamics and productivity and continuity.

With staff turnover rates in the UK tech sector currently among the highest of any industry at 13.2 percent, it’s hardly surprising that keeping staff happy and reducing staff turnover are priorities for so many firms. But what steps can you take to reduce staff turnover rates?

1. Recognise that retention starts with recruitment

The road to reducing staff turnover starts right at the beginning of the recruitment process, from screening applications to choosing who to interview. Identifying the aspects of your culture and strategy that are important and seeking that out in your candidates greatly increases your chances of hiring employees who are completely engaged with and will become part of the company’s success over the long-term.

As well as finding candidates that are a good match for the company’s culture, you should also try to identify those that are more likely to stay the course. Look at the length of time candidates were at their previous roles. If they have worked at a company for five or more years then that suggests loyalty, perseverance and engagement are traits they may have. Someone who plays team sports outside of work or is really invested in a cause also shows they have the mindset to stick with something they care about.

2. Invest in digital skills

Data collected by the ValueMyCV tool found that of 22,000 CVs, one in ten millennials had the word ‘digital’ on their CV, compared to just 6 baby boomers. Equally, just 3 baby boomers listed social media as a skill compared to nearly 1,300 millennials. Clearly, digital skills are something millennials value heavily. With millennials expected to account for up to 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, investing in their digital skills could be a sure way to keep staff happy.

Despite the huge demand for digital skills, skill levels are staggeringly low. In fact, when tested on their digital competence, figures from the Digital Marketing Institute show that marketers across Ireland and the UK scored an average of just 38 percent. Those same marketers acknowledged that their digital marketing skills needed to improve (86 percent in Ireland, 69 percent in the UK) if they were to remain competent in their roles.

3. Provide a clear path to advancement and ongoing development

Can you really expect a candidate who is talented, ambitious and has in-demand skills to stay in a job if there’s very little opportunity for progression? Realistically, no. Promoting from within and providing a clear path to greater compensation and responsibility is central to reducing employee turnover.

Career advancement goes hand-in-hand with employee development and ongoing training. Furthering your employees’ development with the acquisition of new skills, new processes and new technologies will make them feel valued by the company and provide a powerful incentive to make them stay.

According to research by the Consumer Technology Association, in the digital world, high-skills training (80 percent) and professional development programmes to hone soft skills (74 percent) are considered among the top benefits to retain employees over the next five years.

4. Be transparent and build trust

The latest research from Bupa UK confirms that trust is a major factor in whether employees choose to stay with a company. In fact, nearly a quarter of UK workers have admitted to leaving a company due to trust issues. But how do you build trust among your team?

A big part of that is creating honest and open communication between employees and management. Regular meetings where employees have the chance to ask questions and open-door policies that encourage employees to speak frankly with their managers can play an important role in reducing staff turnover, but only if they feel their input is listened to and valued.

5. Create a strong team ethic

The people you work with and the relationships you build are an extremely strong factor in employee retention. Colleagues frequently come out on top when employees are asked why they love their jobs, with 70 percent of people saying work friendships were the most crucial element in a happy working life. How do you create an environment that supports the building of workplace friendships? It starts with workplace culture.

Developing a culture of mutual respect and appreciation, starting at the top down, is essential. You should also create physical areas within the organisation to support collaboration and work to promote a sense of psychological safety and support, where all ideas are heard, considered and never ridiculed. It should also be made very clear that interacting with co-workers is not ‘against the rules’.

Take steps towards becoming a great place to work

Every organisation understands the importance of keeping staff happy and reducing staff turnover, but not every business does something about it. Any of these strategies has the potential to improve your employee retention rates, and importantly, you don’t have to succeed with every initiative, but you do have to show you’re trying.

Boost the digital skills of your team

At Digital Kitchen, we have a range of digital training courses that give your employees access to the skills they crave. Take a look at our beginner and advanced SEO, PPC, Social Media and CRO courses and get in touch today.

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