An epidemic of dissatisfaction: Why your staff are jumping ship, and how to stop them

standing out crowded market

The Commons co-founder and chief executive officer Cliff Ho. Source: Supplied.

Staff retention can be a pain point for many businesses, no matter the size or stage it is at. With a high turnover rate being every employer’s worst nightmare, there is a number of steps that can be put in place to help avoid this. 

A 2018 survey discovered more than half of millennial-aged employees (57%) leave their employer each year

It seems that, despite 63% of respondents claiming their ideal turnover rate to be 1-10%, the reported turnover of employees in the 26-35 age bracket is, in fact, about 37%. Those outside of this bracket were, according to the study, less inclined to jump from one job to the next in quick succession. 

So, why is there such an epidemic of dissatisfaction in the workplace? 

Why are staff leaving? 

With the competitive nature of Australia’s career landscape evolving further, it begs the question of why some employees are risking their reputability by constantly moving about. 

Fundamentally, this often has to do with the environment in their workplace, rather than the nature of the work itself. 

Early attrition is often symptomatic of work overload and a lack of focus on staff wellbeing. As the most important asset to a business, employees need to be treated like customers. Their needs should be fulfilled in the same capacity that organisations seek to satisfy our clientele, financial requirements and other varying factors.

Poor employee wellbeing and mental health need to be seen as a solvable issue, rather than an inextricable inevitability. 

A 2013 report shows the average number of sick days per employee is 7.8 days every year. Plus, almost half of those questioned had attended work while suffering from some kind of physical or mental health problem. 

If staff welfare isn’t tackled on a large scale, then the problem is only going to exacerbate itself. 

What does it mean for businesses? 

Research also shows staff turnover in the first year of employment in Australia is costing $3.8 billion in lost productivity, with a further $385 million down the drain representing potentially avoidable recruitment outgoings.

According to an article featured in the  Journal of Applied Psychology, “organisations must recognise that when turnover rates rise, their workforce and financial performance are at risk. They should search for strategies to mitigate and eliminate turnover, recognising that lower turnover is always better”.

What can be done about it? 

So, what can be done about the apparent crisis businesses are facing in their efforts to inspire their employees? 

There are many dubious modern solutions to staff dissatisfaction, but throwing a few ping pong tables at the problem isn’t quite going to cut it. Strengthening a robust community culture requires more than simply the to-ing and fro-ing of paddle and ball. 

Flexibility when it comes to location and work hours are both essential for gratifying the needs of your staff. You wouldn’t expect a customer to drive to an inconvenient location at an infeasible time, when they could profit the business in exactly the same way at a more convenient place and time, would you? Catering to the inconveniences of staff is a logical solution to their dissatisfaction. 

Providing employees with the room and support to grow both vocationally and as a person is invaluable. Approximately one-third of adult life is spent at work, so it’s essential we feel appreciated for what we do. Even yoga in the sun can’t replace the feeling of being a valued and cherished cog in the work-family wheel. 

This can be achieved through nourishing the assets of individuals, and allowing them to have an input in the direction and nature of their workload ⁠— their routine tasks should be mutually agreed in a respectful conversation. Further, providing opportunities to upskill and advance their current skills works to nurture employee relations. 

The most vital thing to remember when it comes to cultivating an effective workplace culture is appreciation. If opportunities arise to travel, attend events, gain training or progress in any capacity, they should be utilised in order to make staff feel appreciated and encouraged. 

Once measures are in place to care for the mental health of staff and enrich that chunky third of their life, that’s when it’s time to play ping pong.

NOW READ: Death to the ping pong table: The Aussie startups breaking the mould with employee perks

NOW READ: There’s only one way to attract and retain millennial talent — but it’ll cost you a few bricks


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John Hutchinson
John Hutchinson
2 years ago

Look at the grass roots of recruiting… It is a double edged deception. The Company, wanting to attract the best of best, overinflate the benefits of working for them whilst the Applicant does there level best to overinflate their skills and abilities on a Resume in the hope of getting a job. In the end company is the same as every other employer and the new Employee is great at Fictional Resume writing and comes over well in an Interview, but cannot do the job in question for quids…leaving both well short of the intended outcome.

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