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The Impact of Staff Attrition on Business

4 April 2016

Research has indicated that the cost of staff turnover for businesses throughout the UK reaches in excess of £4 billion each year, with the primary contributory factor being the time taken for a new employee to reach optimum productivity levels. It has been reported that professionals within the Legal and Accountancy sector are the most expensive to replace in this respect, taking on average 32 weeks to reach optimum productivity levels, followed closely by those in the IT & Tech space (with an average of 29 weeks to reach optimum productivity levels).

With the increasing demand for experienced professionals across all these sectors, the ‘time to hire’ a replacement is increasingly lengthy, further exacerbating the impact on the business in the following ways;

Increased workload on existing team

When an employee leaves, work is typically redistributed among the existing team until a replacement individual is recruited. While this may be accepted in the short term, any delays in the recruitment process can lead to co-workers feeling under pressure resulting in low morale, quality of work and productivity levels falling, and very often increased sickness levels, all of which add to the hidden costs of attrition on the business.

Knowledge Drain

While companies increasingly aim to de-risk their organisations by ensuring that business critical knowledge is shared or documented to enable continuity of service/delivery if a key member of staff exits the business, inevitably when an experienced individual leaves, they take with them a wealth of knowledge (such as the nuances of a specific client account, or operating procedures for a system etc.) which will then have to be re-learned (often through trial and error, again impacting on productivity and/or service delivery).

Management Time

One also has to factor in the hidden management costs incurred. This includes the cost to the business of a senior manager having to provide operational support during the ‘hire period’, in addition to time taken to complete the recruitment and selection process.

With this in mind, it is critical to the business that when it comes to recruiting a replacement hire, you take action quickly and get it right first time! One should consider the following factors:

Recruitment Objectives: It is important to complete a job analysis when considering a replacement hire. Are you looking for an exact match (in terms of role/responsibilities/skills set etc.) to the individual that has left, or has the role and business evolved therefore requiring a review of the job description and person specification?

Recruitment Process: Again, when recruiting a new hire, it is important to consider the right ‘fit’ as this will reduce attrition going forward and result in increased productivity across the team. You may want to include technical tests (to assess skills) as well as a range of psychometric assessments (to assess preferred working styles) all of which will add value to the recruitment process.

Employer Branding: With the continued war on talent for experienced professionals across all sectors, it is critical to any employers that they consider their ‘employer brand’ throughout the recruitment exercise. Do your brand values accurately reflect the business ethos, and do they connect with the individuals you are hoping to attract? Are you seen as an employer of choice for professionals in your sector? Are you reinforcing this brand message at all stages of the recruitment process? Getting this right can significantly increase levels of interest in the opportunity and reduce the time to hire.



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