Five Alternative Ways To Reduce Staff Turnover – And Save Money

VacancyMany of you will be aware of the headlines this week about the recent rise in staff turnover. It would seem that businesses are now paying the price for the long period of time that employees, fearful of losing their jobs, have put up with wage restraints, lack of bonuses and some pretty tough management decisions that have been made during the economic downturn.

According to research it costs on average around £30,000 to replace a member of your staff that leaves. This figure includes the cost of employing a new member of staff and lost productivity whilst bringing your new employee up to speed in their role. That’s a big expenditure and if turnover suddenly accelerates, your organisation can find itself  in a very tight corner operationally and financially. So your organisation needs to make sure it retain’s key talent and keeps employees motivated and productive. And remember that retaining great employees isn’t always about hiking pay.

Here are 5 alternative ways that can help keep staff engaged, motivated and productive:

  • Create connections through self-service

As more people perform day-to-day activities such as shopping, reading the news, paying bills, and socialising with friends online, they want the same flexibility and instant access to up-to-date information on the job. For example, why would an employee prefer to wait days for the busy HR department to process a handwritten leave request, when he or she can submit it online in seconds using self-service? As more employees leverage self-service technology in their personal lives, they are increasingly willing to adopt it in the workplace too.

  • Let employees participate in the scheduling process

Scheduling automation also helps organisations find last-minute replacements so they can meet demand. When an employee calls in sick, some scheduling systems can automatically recommend replacement workers, prioritising them by wage, seniority, skills, or other company-defined criteria. Some scheduling systems can even notify qualified replacements via email, text, or a manager call list to speed the process and further minimise impact on production and fellow employees.

  • Empower employees to take ownership of performance

Workforce management systems can help your organisation gain control over processes such as compensation cycles and performance reviews by automatically letting managers know when preliminary budgets and employee evaluations are due. Automated alerts help organisations keep their compensation planning and performance review processes on schedule, so employees receive feedback and rewards in a timely manner

  • Foster career development and professional growth

Workforce management systems can also help organisations track employee certifications and licenses — automatically notifying managers when those critical qualifications are about to expire — to minimise compliance risk and maximise workforce safety.

  • Increase employee engagement — and the bottom line

Workforce management technology can help organisations increase employee engagement. By providing employee self-service applications and automating processes such as time and attendance tracking, scheduling, human resources, and labour analytics, organisations can empower employees to take a more active role in HR and scheduling activities, take advantage of training and professional development opportunities, and get the continuous feedback on performance required to motivate and encourage innovation. For organisations looking to control costs and increase productivity, increasing employee engagement through the effective use of workforce management technology may be the answer.

Find out more and download the full white paper ‘Employee Engagement as a Competitive Differentiator’


Monitoring Absence At Work Does Not Increase It

AbsenceThere has been a lot of coverage recently about getting sick people back to work. It is a big issue for most businesses – and the Government takes the loss of productivity caused by absence, particularly long-term absence, very seriously. Around 960,000 workers in Britain were on sick leave for more than a month each year between October 2010 and September 2013. To address this issue The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are launching a scheme where workers will be referred for health assessments if they are sick for more than four weeks in an effort to address the issue. It is planned that the assessments will be carried out by occupational specialists who will draw up a plan and timetable to get the patient back to work quickly. The DWP believes the scheme will save employers £70 million a year and cut the time people spend off work by 20% to 40%.

While this is good news for employers – I know from many years of discussing HR and workforce management with a wide variety of businesses that many employers really don’t know the extent of sickness absence in their organisation. Of course if it is a long term absence someone is usually missed, but believe it or not, occasionally that’s not the case and employees  are paid long after they have left the company or even this earth!  Short term, unscheduled absence is, however, frequently missed or not captured and costs employers dear in lost productivity, overtime payments and employee engagement.

When I speak to employers about tracking their absence it always surprises me that they often think real-time capture of attendance raises unscheduled absence rates.  But if they think about it – what it actually reveals is that they were unaware how bad it was in the first place!

If you don’t know to what extent absence is affecting your business and managers aren’t able to spot absence trends amongst their employees, it makes it almost impossible for them to take steps to reduce it – after all you can’t manage what you don’t measure. So next time you notice one of your employees is not at their post – ask yourself this – if you knew the true cost of employee absence to your organisation – what would you do differently?

Here’s the popular list of the Top 10 Tips to Reduce Absence

Merry Christmas And Thank You

Simon MacphersonI would like to take the opportunity to wish all my blog readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Productive New Year and thank you for taking the time to read Staff Central.

I look forward to writing more about things workforce management related once I am back from my holiday break. If you have any ideas about interesting topics or would like to contribute a guest post I’d be happy to hear from you.



Top Strategies for Best in Class Employee Engagement

Happy EmployeeAccording to a recent Aberdeen Group report fewer than 23% of organisations that were surveyed have a defined, organisation-wide employee engagement strategy in place, despite the fact that employee engagement is at an all time low.

The link between employee engagement and productivity has been firmly established but many organisations have struggled to align their employee needs and desires with organisational goals as the economic downturn has bitten.  The focus on productivity and profitability has pushed employee engagement down the strategic ladder.  According to reports, the numbers of employees who have said they are looking to change jobs over the next 12 months is rising sharply and this will impact employee costs and could mean organisations lose their best talent. A robust employee engagement strategy will help attract and retain the best people and make the most of every opportunity to improve productivity and meet organisational objectives for growth.

Unsurprisingly, when asked what the key elements of employee engagement were, these elements came out top in the report and are what best in breed organisations focus on when it comes to engagement:

  • Employee recognition
  • The cultural values of an organisation
  • Relationship and interaction with direct managers
  • Work-life balance

And what strategies work for successful organisations according to the report?

Great communication. Communication needs to be frequent, consistent and two-way. Organisations must be happy to receive communications and feedback from employees, stakeholders, leavers and job candidates.

Rewards and Recognition Programmes.   By demonstrating appreciation for employee contributions and rewarding positive behaviours, individuals will feel motivated to stay with employers and feel motivated to perform.

Process & Technology. It is important to have processes in place that enable organisations to gauge the success, or not, of their employee engagement strategies. In order to get senior buy-in, which can be challenging, the gains must be measurable. Technology can help both implement and measure engagement strategy and its effects on the organisation. In best of breed organisations technology goes beyond the usual employee survey and can include solutions that measure productivity as well as talent management solutions and employee self-service portals.

The low state of morale and engagement among UK employees was highlighted in a recent report, The Forgotten Workforce, commissioned by Kronos which was carried out to explore employee attitudes, across a variety of industries, to existing workforce management practices, and identify how companies need to focus their attention to engage their front line staff in a way that maximises productivity and business agility without undermining job satisfaction.

Further Reading:

Download the Aberdeen Report here:

Download The Forgotten Workforce Study here:

New Survey Finds 85% Experienced An Increase In Productivity Due To Flexible Working

I wonder how many of you got a chance to review the recent online survey carried out by BakkerElkhuizen among HR professionals in Germany, England, Belgium and the Netherlands on the theme ‘Flexible Working’.  What made it particularly interesting to me was that UK came out top of the table when it came to organisations that had already implemented flexible working.  



Here are some of the findings I found particularly noteworthy:

The motivation for organisations to implement flexible working: The survey found that in the UK, 85% of HR professionals saw a rise in productivity and generally in the UK, Germany and Belgium, the main argument for flexible working was “higher staff satisfaction”, the exception was in the Netherlands where cost-savings on buildings and workstations was more compelling.

 The top 3 most important reasons why flexible working has not yet been implemented:

  • Companies are still looking into the possibilities of flexible working
  • Staff are tied to a fixed place and time because of their specific duties
  • The organisation feels that the presence of staff is necessary.

The main reason given not to implement flexible working: When an organisation did not see any advantages in flexible working, they gave the reason that it is not possible for all staff to work at varying times and/or places and that they wish to treat all staff equally. At most organisations flexible working is not possible across all members of the workforce.

Infrastructure and support for flexible working: Unsurprisingly, ICT infrastructure was seen as the most essential tool for flexible working by half of the respondents in England, the Netherlands and Belgium.

My organisation does have the infrastructure available to manage a remote workforce and experience has shown that it is an important requirement is for flexible workers to have all the information and security they would find in an office environment available at home or on the move. Also important is the ability to track and monitor employee productivity and hours worked and a modern workforce management solution makes this much easier.

You can download the full survey report here and why not take a look at this free white paper: Reaping the Rewards Of Flexible Working to learn more about flexible working.