When it comes to recruiting young staff to your workplace, unless you are recruiting for fixed term temporary positions, your hope will be that those staff stick around in their jobs. Indeed, even if you are recruiting temporary summer staff or Christmas stuff, for example, it can save you a lot of time and money if those same people return each season to do their job.
A high staff turnover is really not what any firm wants to deal with. It is costly, time consuming and, in the end, not good for your reputation as an employer.
Attracting the best graduates to your graduate programmes, students to part time jobs or the best Apprentices to your Apprenticeship programmes is only part of the battle. The rest of the battle is keeping hold of that top talent so that you don’t lose them to other competitors within your sector.
So, why is it that staff leave their positions for pastures new and what actions could you take to prevent it?
Reasons Employees Give For Leaving Their Job
First of all, let’s take a look at some of the reasons employees give as to why they have left a job.
Not feeling valued
We have written in the past that most millenials do not consider salary to be the main factor when being attracted to jobs. Young people are looking for much more in the workplace and, if they don’t feel valued, then there is a strong chance you are going to lose them to a company where they feel they will be appreciated.
Of course, a financial boost is always going to be appreciated by an employee as a demonstration that you value them but there are also other, less costly ways to show staff you value their efforts. Apprentices, graduates and other young people are looking for an acknowledgement of their efforts so that they can feel appreciated. This can be something as simple as saying thank you to them.
Leadership – either your own or that of team leaders and other managers – can be a difficult thing to get right in a workplace. Young staff might choose to leave because they are struggling to relate to, or communicate with, some senior staff.
This could be an outright personality clash and, if that is the case, then there may be little a company can do to rectify that problem. However, if you are finding that staff turnover is high in one area of your company where a particular manager or management team is in place, then you may have to address the fact that there is a bigger problem.
Lack of progression or promotion opportunities
Young people want to progress and develop their skills and experience. Whilst this could be in the form of promotion, there are also other ways you can help graduates and Apprentices to develop their skills once their programmes are completed.
This could be further courses and training opportunities, for example, or making them team leader on some one off projects. Progression could also be programme where you give younger staff the opportunity for moves into other departments so that they learn more about the functions of the company as a whole. This experience can prepare them for more senior positions in the future.
If young staff feel they have hit the ceiling and there is nowhere else for them to go then they might feel they are in a dead end job with no opportunity for new challenges. They are likely to look elsewhere at companies that have more room for manoeuvre.
Lack of respect for work/life balance
Again, young people are looking for job satisfaction and part of that is a good work/life balance – and a boss who acknowledges that staff aren’t there to work themselves into the ground, doing as many hours as possible.
Yes, some roles will demand longer hours and sometimes extra hours. Staff in these types of roles know that that is what the job requires of them. But, young staff also want a leadership that acknowledges the benefits of staff taking a break. This can be lunch breaks and holiday entitlements – a workplace culture where they don’t feel guilty for taking their time off.
If other companies in your sector have a reputation for being innovative and creative when it comes to creating opportunities for time off – time off for major sporting events, for example – young people are likely to be more attracted to these types of workplaces.
Unclear about where they fit into the company
Whoever you employ – whether they are graduates, Apprentices, students or other young school leavers – whilst they might be good at doing their job, they might not have any idea about why their job is necessary for the success of the company. This can lead them to feel that they are not a valued part of the company.
It is important that young people know how their role fits in with the business goals of the company so that they feel they belong and they are making a contribution.
Management not acting on promises
Did your job ad promise something to your new young recruit? This could be one of the factors that attracted them to the job they applied for. If this then goes unfulfilled, it could leave recruits wondering what else will go unfulfilled in the future.
If you promise something in appraisals or meetings, make sure you act on that promise and make sure your young recruits know you are doing so.
Clashes with workmates
Whilst we all know the importance of teamwork in the workplace, this does not necessarily mean that all of your team are going to be best friends. Regular communications with your staff and an open door policy may be able to prevent members of staff from leaving their role because disagreements with colleagues have gone too far or are happening too regularly.
Finding out the cause of the clashes can help with this. If you lose a young member of staff because they feel they are working harder than a colleague and not getting the recognition for it, then you could lose some great future talent and be left with the member of staff who isn’t pulling their weight.
Not feeling included
Inclusivity in the workplace is an issue we have addressed previously. A negative workplace culture where members of your team of staff don’t feel included for whatever reason can result in you losing out on top talent when they leave their post. Staff members might not feel incşused because they feel other staff don’t take them seriously because they are young, for example.
When you employ new, young staff, it might be tempting for team leaders to micromanage them. This can be a tricky balancing act. Young people, especially if they have little or no previous work experience, will need guidance in the workplace but they also need room to grow and work independently. If they feel constantly watched and stifled, your new young recruits may go elsewhere to grow professionally.
Whilst money is not the top reason a young person might leave their role, adequate financial reward for their efforts is still a factor. How do your wages and salaries compare to those of other firms within your sector?
Improving Your Staff Retention
Staff retention is what this is all about. Once you have hooked that young talent, you don’t want to lose it to competitors and have to begin the recruitment process all over again. A good management team will manage staff as well as managing aspects of the business such as targets and finances.
- Where does you inclusion policy sit in your workplace? If it’s hidden in a file with all the other policies then this is not effective. It is just a piece of paper. Make sure your inclusion policy is made known to all staff and make it a part of the workplace so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
- Keep an eye on the mood in your workplace. Do any staff seem tense or unhappy? Are there bits of unpleasant gossip flying around that you have perhaps caught wind of? These are the types of issues that you need to address as early as possible before any members of staff are knocking on your door to hand in their notice. Have an open door policy and be approachable so that staff feel they can come to you and discuss any unpleasantness before it gets out of hand.
- Show staff you value them – this can be public praise or done in private. Show you are grateful for their hard work and recognise the commitment they give to the role. This is completely free of charge and a polite thing to do. It’s also a win win situation. Staff are happier and more productive and you are more likely to keep them.
- Is there a particular place in the company where staff turnover is higher than in other departments? Find out why staff are leaving that department. Management or team leaders may need more training, for example, to be more effective.
- Create a culture where staff feel comfortable offering feedback about how the company operates. This can give a feeling of belonging and that their opinions matter.
- Hold meetings about staff development and ask your staff about which training they feel they need to get them to where they want to be. Ask them about where they want to be. Show your staff that you have a vision for them as well as a vision for the business by listening to this and acting upon it.
- Offer mentors to younger staff or graduates so that they have a go to person when they need guidance. This could be directly related to their job or it can be chats about how they are settling into work life.
- Make sure staff know the value of their role and how it fits in with the progress of the company. If an employee knows why their job role is so important, they can be a more effective team member.
- Trust your employees to get on with their job and projects. A catch up meeting every so often to discuss progress and any issues is enough.
If you are looking to recruit young people to your workplace, take a look at our audience and advertise your vacancies with E4S. You could soon have some of the UK’s top young talent as part of your team.