Workforce Planning for Staff Retention



The purpose of workforce planning is to align a company’s workforce objectives with the strategic objectives and priorities of the organization as a whole. It identifies current and future workforce capabilities and provides solutions to meet any deficiencies. An essential component in the workforce plan must be retention policies that target turnover.

Retention Should Be a Higher Priority than Recruitment

Critical turnover refers to the loss of employees that demonstrate the highest potential value to the company. Typical turnover costs are more than twice an employee’s salary, but far higher when the organization loses its most motivated and productive contributors. This is why retention of high value employees should take priority over policies and programs to recruit new talent.

Discuss Misconceptions about Turnover and Retention

During a discussion of retention policies, it is helpful to clear up preconceived notions about turnover and its causes:

  • An employee’s pay level is not usually the primary reason for them leaving. People more often quit because they have problems with their manager or the organization as a whole.
  • Examining the reasons people leave is necessary, but it is equally important to evaluate why employees, especially the most valued among them, choose to stay.
  • Most exit interviews provide scant insight into turnover causes. Departing employees are worried about job references or burning bridges back to the company. Thus, they supply interviewers with non-confrontational half truths about why they are leaving.
  • There must be a distinction made between turnover in general and critical turnover. Retaining the highest performers is far more productive to the bottom line than trying to make everyone happy. Turnover of less productive workers is not always undesirable.

Retention Is a Team Effort

To be successful, it must be pointed out that retention strategies are not the sole burden of the HR department. They must be developed and practiced with the close involvement of management. Managers should be provided opportunities to sharpen their communication and coaching skills and trained to detect signs that good employees are thinking of moving on.