To start, you need to ask the tough question and push for an honest answer.
Why did they leave? Was it the team? Have they been mismanaged? Were they disillusioned with their pay, benefits, or working hours? Was their career progression path evident and aligned with their expectations? Perhaps their personal development had plateaued.
Accurately identifying the reason for an employee’s departure is the most valuable piece of information a company can obtain from someone exiting the business. This is no time to be faint-hearted, nor to let personal judgements interfere with your interpretation of what you hear. You’re asking this person to expose themselves; do them the courtesy of listening objectively to what they have to say.
Look to your competitors
Assessing vacancies from competing brands and comparing these to your own can be revealing. How do they stack up? Could more innovative and creative job ads be causing your employees eyes to wander?
It helps to know in advance how far you are prepared to go to retain someone valuable. Establishing a predetermined policy here will guard against knee-jerk reactions that can unbalance your workforce.
How does your employer brand shape up? Are your compensation packages competitive? Are your investments in training and personal development as well communicated in the market as your rivals? Money is almost never the sole driver of an employee’s departure.
With this in mind, it is good practice for management and HR to work together to identify individual motivations in their employees. This knowledge can be used to personalise their employment, which can also reduce their likelihood of departure.
Identifying talented individuals and introducing measures to nurture their development is imperative. A clearly defined structure will help here, formalising feedback from buddy schemes, for example, can help ID issues before they become problems.
Fast-track schemes for high achievers can help all employees raise their game and derive greater satisfaction through their heightened achievements.
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