Employers are expecting their turnover rates to soar by 57 per cent in 2018, according to a new survey, suggesting that as many as 1.8 million Australians will abandon their current job in search of greener pastures.
The astounding figures are based on a survey of 460 hiring managers from businesses Australia wide by recruitment firm Robert Half.
In addition to the alarming expectations for the current year, these hiring managers also reported an increase in staff turnover of 70 per cent over the last three years.
That is despite the virtually unanimous presence of employee retention strategies in place among those businesses.
If those figures were replicated in all Australian workplaces, that would equate to 1.8 million Australians handing in their notice by year’s end.
“Staff turnover can cause significant setbacks for a business through not just lost productivity and revenue, but also low staff morale,” said Andrew Brushfield, director of Robert Half Australia.
“Companies need to not only secure a steady pipeline of skilled talent, but also make employee retention policies a crucial business priority.”
Mr Brushfield suggested that rising turnover rates are indicative of retention strategies being ineffective, and he urged business leaders to take a more proactive approach to talent retention to stem the loss of key people and the skills and experience they possess.
“In such a competitive environment and with employees now preferring more flexible ways of working and being rewarded, it is important that businesses take a close look at their retention strategies to ensure they are suitable and attractive for their specific industry, company culture and team.
“One-size-fits-all retention strategies are no longer effective in today’s workplaces — employees in one business may be motivated to remain there when offered more annual leave entitlements, whereas in another business having a rigorous training program may be more motivating.”
According to the survey, half of all businesses have some form of “employee appreciation initiatives” in place, and 47 per cent have wellness programs and professional development programs.
Surprisingly, though, very few actually seek to find out why their workers decide to leave, with just 12 per cent of employers conducting exit interviews with outgoing staff members.
A separate survey by HR thinktank Reventure earlier this year found that unfulfilling work is a primary cause of job change — even when people are performing well and have a good relationship with their managers.
“Our research has found that jobs need to be crafted around employees not the other way around,” Reventure’s Dr Lindsay McMillan said at the time.
“Job crafting reimagines roles according to employees’ strengths and what they are passionate about, which increases the level of purpose and meaning they feel at work.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.