As an employer, that decision to employ a new member of staff is not taken lightly. You will recognise and allow for the time it takes to train that staff member, the added costs associated with their employment (including recruitment fees) and the possible disruption it may cause to your other staff members. You hope that this will be far outweighed by the positive benefits that come from employing the perfect person and the energy they will bring.
If you are a few months down the line and your new employee has got to know your clients and are finally earning their keep – you will be devastated if they suddenly hand in their notice and decide to leave for pastures green after less than one year. You question what went wrong and more importantly, what you can do to prevent this happening in the future. After all, keeping tax staff staff is incredibly important to the success of your business.
There are several reasons why an employee may leave their job after a relatively short period of time and for the most part they are easy to overcome for the employer.
They simply find a better job
The tax market in the UK is currently an improving one. There are an increasing number of available jobs and many of them are starting to offer rising salaries and have great perks. Your employee may simply have been head-hunted and offered a job of their dreams that pays more.
What you can do: Make sure that your advertised job sits well within your sector in terms of pay and perks. Review this often and take the advice of your recruitment agency to ensure that the job pays enough. Competition is tough – so try to be the best employer.
They don't feel valued
In much the same way that you as an employer will feel that you have invested your time and money into your new employee, they will also feel they have invested their time and effort. If they feel they are under-valued or not appreciated for this, they may very well start to question if they should continue wasting their time.
What you can do: Once your employee has started ensure they receive regular feedback on their work and more importantly, goals to work towards. This way you get the most from them and they feel appreciated and valued for their hard work. Offer rewards for jobs well done such as days out, Friday afternoon beers or bonuses.
The job isn't what they expected
If your new tax expert was expecting to have interesting clients with high level issues to deal with before they accepted the job and yet they are still (after several months) dealing with small clients with dull issues – you can expect that they will feel that the job was misrepresented to them. They may have left something much more interesting with high hopes that have not materialised.
What you can do: Work closely with your recruitment company to have accurate outlines of the work expected and what the role entails. Never make promises you cannot keep either in the job description or during interviews and try to include detail of how the role will progress in time.
The just don't get on with their colleagues or the culture
If the office culture, the people they work with or the clients they have to deal with are making them feel uncomfortable or not welcomed, your employee will not last long. Specific personality clashes, bullying or workplace arguments are a sure recipe for marginalising your employees and can lead to multiple people leaving their roles.
What you can do: Encourage a culture of inclusion and friendliness within your office. While a hierarchy will exist, it does not mean that any employee should feel put upon or bullied. Deal with all reported incidents promptly and fairly and encourage people to come forward with any issues. If these are dealt with at the bud stage they will not develop into larger problems. Larger companies should have a reporting procedure for complaints – usually involving the HR department.
They can't see a future
Most employees are happy to wait for that promotion or for the promised wage increase, but if after several months, these advancements have not been mentioned they will start to get itchy feet. Additionally, they will look around them at how quickly other people in the office are advancing and will question if they too will be languishing at the bottom for many years.
What you can do: Have a clear structure for employee advancement and be consistent about it. Base it on their abilities, their workload and how successful they have been and if promotion is not possible, be very clear about the reasons and what can be done to improve future chances. Training and courses should also be offered where appropriate. You don’t have to be a high flyer to be interested in advancement – don’t assume.
If your staff are leaving shortly after they are employed, you need to have a long think about where you are going wrong. Talk to them and see how things can be improved, because a good tax professional is hard to find (never mind retain) and you should do all you can to hold on to them.