Staff turnover in an SME – Problem or Opportunity?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Problem or opportunity?

Staff turnover can be an issue within established business’, putting time and effort into someone for them ultimately to leave can be costly, irritating and potentially incredibly disruptive for a small business owner. As an evolving business, many SME should see this as a positive and a force for change, and perhaps an opportunity to bring a different emphasis, an opportunity to import new skills and not focus on the potential negative effects of leavers.

There have been numerous blogs and articles written about employee turnover… the simple fact is that although it is important to be aware of your staff turnover numbers and analyse if there is a problem, realistically these numbers will appear high if you have a small team and may not represent the real issues you face as an agile fast-moving and growing business.


Employee turnover isn’t always a bad thing – if the person leaving wasn’t the right fit for the role, you may find you get someone far more suitable through the door to take their place. But this can be expensive and doesn’t always feel positive at the time.

When rehiring, or hiring for the first time, be mindful of the following issues:

High workloads  

Having too much work to do can be a major demotivating factor for anyone.

According to one study, 70% of employees feel there aren’t enough hours to do their job and many quit for a better work/life balance.

Make sure you’re encouraging your people to take their full holiday allowance, allow them to work flexibly and if you notice they’re overworked, consider bringing in more staff or freelancers to help cope. You can monitor holidays via Breathe, a cost-effective HR information system we can help you to set up. As Gold partners of Breathe, we are very experienced in how to help you get the best out of an HR system, we offer a full set up and training service.

Offer competitive salaries.

Being offered a bigger salary is another major reason people leave.

If you can match what they’re being offered, then you might be able to persuade them to stay, but if the quality of their work or productivity doesn’t match the rise in pay, it may not be the best decision for the business.

But, with the amount it costs to replace workers, you’re better off reviewing their pay annually and giving them regular pay rises, or incentive them another way with option schemes, or non-contributory pension schemes, if you want them to stay.

Salary surveys are a great way to benchmark your pay rates, we can help provide this data, and help you to devise bonus schemes that pay out as and when  you win the business rather than having an expensive salary overhead when there is low or irregular income to the business.

Company culture

Cultural fit is important and an area that is sometimes overlooked.

But if your company culture is negative rather than positive, then expect to see a high turnover rate.

If your employees are happy, the environment is good and they feel valued, they’re more likely to stay put.

If you’re not sure how your employees feel, anonymous satisfaction surveys can be a great way to find out how people really feel and get to the heart of issues quickly. Once you know where the issues with your culture lie, you can take steps to improve them. We partner with WeThrive to provide these surveys, call us for more information about how these can help.

A great way to commit to your company culture is by joining the Breathe Culture Pledge, regular lunches, discussions, bowls of fruit and lots of gratitude for a job well done – you can do this via the kudos getting managers to say thank you, Breathe’s Kudos tool was designed for exactly that – giving praise and recognising a job well done.

Offering monthly rewards or even giving them a shout out on social media when they go above and beyond can all foster a better and more attractive working atmosphere. A ‘Thank You’ can go a long way!

Offer development opportunities

Salary is important, but it’s not the only reason people leave. If there’s no opportunity for progression, they will also find alternative and potentially more challenging prospects with a new employer.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 32% cited a lack of promotional opportunities as one of the main reasons for leaving.

Employees want to develop professionally, gain more skills and progress. Ensure that you provide your team with variety and opportunities to have an input to some of the areas of the business that interest them. The right people will see this as rewarding, you do not have to offer fancy managerial job titles, pot plants and a corner office to ensure job satisfaction.

They don’t get on with their boss

Apparently around 75% of people quit their jobs because of clashes with their boss. As a SME owner, you probably are the boss! Hire the right people, with a combination of the right skill set, the right attitude and aptitude; you invariably will be spending a lot of time with your team. Do as much as you can to ensure that they are the right fit.

Use processes to mentor, train and inspire your team rather than micromanaging them and demotivating them.

Hiring and retaining your team can be time-consuming, disruptive and costly when you get it wrong! Here at HRCentral we offer you HR advice and big business solutions on a small scale to suit the needs of SME business owners. Call us for a no-obligation discussion as to how we can help you with your outsourced HR requirements.

Share this post with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on linkedin

Connect With HRCentral

Sign up today to receive legal updates in April & October.

When you sign up to our newsletter, you will receive periodic (approximately 2 times a year) newsletter-style emails from us with important and informative legal information. We will never share your email address with a third-party. VIEW OUR PRIVACY NOTICE