Bad communication real culprit of high staff turnover

9th Jun 2010
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Although many employers are blaming the recession for increased levels of staff turnover, in reality as many as a third should look to their own poor communication and unsupportive company culture as the main culprits.

Nigel Watson, managing director of performance management specialists Q4 Solutions, claimed that many businesses were simply "burying their heads in the sand" on the issue, but it was nonetheless a key challenge for between 20 and 30% of UK organisations.
"With the proliferation of internet job agency sites such as, employees are now more aware than ever of what other opportunities exist and with what benefits and they are, therefore, more expectant of their employer than ever before," he said.
While staff were unlikely to get every job they applied for, the problem was that once they started looking, they effectively "put themselves on the subs bench" and it was only a matter of time before they left, Watson added.
His statement came only a week after a survey of more than 4,000 employees undertaken by market research company GfK NOP revealed that one in four workers were currently disengaged and planning to leave their current employer.
The research found that 13% of workers intended to quit as soon as possible, while a further 11% hoped to do so within the next 12 months. Much of the unhappiness was caused by the measures that employers had taken to cut costs during difficult economic time. About 26% of those questioned said that their companies had introduced recruitment freezes, while 21% pointed to across-the-board pay freezes.
Among those organisations still taking cost containment action, some 13% of respondents said they were being offered reduced training opportunities, while 18% were still being affected by reorganisation moves.
As a result, nearly a quarter of workers indicated that their job satisfaction levels were lower than last year, with only 18% saying it was higher. About three in ten also said that morale was worse than a year ago, with public sector staff being worst affected (37%).

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18th Jun 2010 09:27

 There is no doubt that the recession brought about change and will continue to do so. Ask any one that has had to move a car parking space or a desk at which they work at and they will tell you how uncomfortable it feels. What follows such a simple, yet to the individual, a meaningful change is dependent on how they were involved in the change discussions at an early stage. Too often I believe change is discussed behind closed doors and reaches an advanced stage before people who it will impact on are involved. In doing so opportunities are missed, for example the creative process works best when under challenge. Challenging people can release a wealth of creative ideas to overcome problems and shape changes that may be needed. It also has the advantage of improving communication, first hand communication not the second or third type involved in rumour and speculation that grows to fill the first. 

You may be right when you say that once a person starts looking they effectively side line themselves. This can result in a "distancing effect", no longer feeling part of the team and feelings of being undervalued and certainly it is not good for the company. What is often picked up by the employer is a believe that the person no longer has anything to offer and that then leads to further exclusion and so the cycle continues. What needs to happen in this case is the employer needs to read the signals, remind themselves of why they appointed the person in the first place and then have a hard think about what initiated the change in attitude or behaviour.  It is not a case of finger pointing it is just good management to take the time to reflect. 

I believe that you can get the best out of somebody who is looking for their next job, but only if you support the person. A feeling of being included, of being supported brings with it respect and loyalty. When the person moves on they take these feelings with them and what better advert for your company is there? Consider your profile when recruiting - how do you want to be thought of and how will you attract the best applicants. 

Here at Schola we are working to change attitudes, we are a young company with a great deal of experience. Let me close by saying there is another way. See us at

Kevin Hewitson

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