It is often said a “job for life” doesn’t exist anymore. In the past it was common for people to enter into a job straight out of university and stay there till retirement. Whereas, nowadays workers in the UK change employer every 5 years on average.


This stat is even lower in the US with employees changing jobs every 4 years. In recruitment and HR, employees that are likely to leave are known as a “flight risk.”


Flight risk employees can be a danger to a company. This is because they cost money. When an employee leaves a job, the hiring process to select a new candidate can be very expensive. Furthermore, if the departing employee was highly skilled, they are walking out the door with a lot of invaluable knowledge stored in their head. It’s difficult to quantify exactly how much revenue is lost due to this, but it’s likely to be a significant sum.


There are many different reasons why an employee might choose to leave their job. Some of these reasons are unavoidable, such a moving home, a change in family circumstances, and ill health. However, there are many other factors that can increase an employee’s flight risk that employers do have control over.


The trick is to spot the reasons why employees are leaving their jobs and adapting to try and retain them. We have compiled a list of some of 6 key factors that increase employee flight risk and ways to avoid them:  


Competitive wages


Money really does make the world go round. For a lot of people money is their main motivation to show up at work each day. Therefore, if they feel their wages are too low they are very likely become a potential flight risk. If there is no clear route to a pay rise, employees normally begin to seek out a vacancies with higher wages and then begin sending out applications.


A good way to combat this flight risk is to offer incentive schemes to your employees. Create a system in which employees and their manager create a set of goals for the following quarter and if those goals are met they may earn a raise or a bonus. Offering your employees incentives makes them more committed to doing their best work and makes them less likely to leave their current position. If they know exactly what they need to do to get what they want, it provides much much needed clarity and reassurance.


Clear routes for progression


More often than not employees can get frustrated when their job seems to be going nowhere. They feel like no matter how well they do they can’t progress any further within their company. This feeling of frustration can turn employees into a flight risk.


The best way to counteract this frustration is to communicate effectively with your employees. Ask them what their career aspirations are and assist them in achieving these goals. Let them know the targets they must meet and the experience they must get in order to progress and get a promotion. Again, transparency is key.


Minimise stress


Workplace stress is one of the top reasons that people choose to leave their job. One survey indicated that 40% of people were very or extremely stressed at work. Also, 25% of respondents said that their job was the main source of stress in their lives.


With this level of stress employees are far more likely to become a flight risk. People are even willing to take jobs with a lower salary if they perceive the stress to be unbearable. A little bit of stress is necessary to meet deadlines and produce high quality. However, when stress is continuous at work it becomes a problem. If employees constantly feel stressed something is going to give.


Employees often feel stressed because their workload is too much. A way to combat this is to get employees to tackle bigger tasks as a team instead of working individually. It’s best to let them decide amongst themselves how best to divide up the work as this also help great more autonomy. Many hands make light work.


Another reason employees feel stressed is because they feel like they don’t have the experience needed to carry out their work. A way to counteract this is to pay for your employees to go on relevant training courses/days so they feel prepared to handle the demands of their role.


Training managers


You don’t have to be friends with your manager but you need to get along with them. For some people a poor relationship with their manager is the number one reason they leave their job. There are many different reasons why people don’t get along with their manager. For instance, failing to recognise an employee’s quality of work, undermining the employees work performance, and toxic communication.


The best way to improve employee-manager relationships and thus reduce employee flight risk is to retrain bosses and managers. Encourage managers to give their teams constructive feedback instead of feedback that is purely negative. Focus on how managers can help their teams achieve the best work they can, instead of employing them to act as task masters.


Prevent boredom setting in


Starting a new job is often an exciting and nerve-wracking time. Because everything is new to the person starting the job there is rarely time to be bored. However, as the months roll by and

the worker finds themselves doing the same things day in and day out, boredom starts to set in. Under stimulated employees fast become flight risks.


If your employee joined your company there was clearly a reason that they joined in their first place. A way to combat workplace boredom is trying to help your employee find their passion again. This can take many forms such as taking on new responsibilities or retraining for a new position.


Strengthen your company culture


An easy way to lose your employees is to fail to create a caring corporate culture. Every company is only as strong as its employees. So, a company should do everything in its power to look after them. However, creating a corporate culture is not an easy task.


Many guides have been created to help companies decide how to build their company culture. However, the first step should always be to define what your company values are. Then the next step is trying to adapt your company to fit those values.


This can take on many forms such as promoting a family atmosphere amongst employees through team building exercises. Alternatively it could involve offering employees better job security or satisfying health plans.