Some projects have a large turnover of employees with people continually leaving and new employees taking their place. Unfortunately, some managers have an attitude that it’s ‘good riddance’ and if someone wants to leave they should – and the sooner the better. However, this churn of people can be disruptive and expensive for the project.
The costs of high employee turnover:
A high employee turnover rate:
- Causes the project to lose a skill which has to be replaced, which could take some time. Without the skill, certain tasks may not be able to be done. Others might have to fill in for the missing person.
- Can cause a problem when there’s a shortage of skills to replace the person leaving, and the person may not be able to be replaced.
- The absence of a vital skill such as a crane operator may mean that others can’t do their tasks until there’s a replacement operator.
- Means each time a new employee arrives on site they have to learn the project rules and processes, which may take time before they become effective, resulting in lost productivity.
- Increases recruitment costs. Often there are advertising costs, recruitment fees and management time required to interview potential recruits.
- Creates additional employment expenses, such as; medicals, inductions and personal protective clothing.
- Sometimes requires the replacement comes at a higher salary.
- Often sees the best employees leave first.
- Results in other employees having to shoulder more responsibility and do more work in the absence of the person that’s gone.
- Can impact morale since those left behind find the continuous churn disruptive and disconcerting and they start to consider if they should also be leaving.
- When those in management leave there’s often a knowledge gap and the new person has to understand the project, the team, the client and what’s been done and what they have to pick up. Often vital information can be lost especially pertaining to variation claims. Sometimes tasks fall between a gap and are left undone until they eventually become a problem and a delay.
- Often employees considering leaving the project are less productive than they should be. They are disinterested in the task at hand and consumed with making arrangements for their next job. They may be actively engaging other workers and spreading their discontent with the project. Employees working their notice time can be particularly disruptive with no interest in the project at all.
- When we employ someone new there is always the risk they’ll be unsuitable – no matter how carefully we check their credentials. Sometimes it is the case of ‘better the devil you know, than the one you don’t’. It sometimes takes time to uncover the new person’s strengths, weaknesses, and foibles.
If the project has an excessively high rate of employee turnover it’s important to ascertain the possible reasons for this. There are many reasons why people resign, and sometimes the problem is simple and easy to remedy for example:
- It may be due to a particular staff member being abusive.
- Sometimes employees resign because there are more attractive working opportunities elsewhere, and you may not be able to do much, but it could be worthwhile to investigate what changes can be made to make the project conditions more attractive.
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