The ATOD sector  needs to improve retention to ensure:

  • Sufficient mentors and supervisors for less experienced staff
  • The organisation receives the benefit of its investment in the training of its workers
  • Work groups and teams are cohesive
  • The workforce is skilled and effective


Turnover and retention are influenced by

  • Pay rates and other benefits
  • Career development opportunities
  • Work related pressures


Turnover costs

The loss of desirable workers costs the organisation in terms of

  • Direct costs of recruiting and replacing staff
  • Time spent on the recruitment process
  • Productivity and reduction in service delivery levels while a new worker is recruited and is on their learning curve
  • Additional workload on other workers
  • Decreased morale


The estimates of the cost of staff turnover vary from 30% to 400% of annual salary.


However, retaining disengaged workers is counterproductive.


Strategies to enhance worker retention

  • Keep supervisor – employee relationships good and keep effective communication channels open at all times
  • Ensure workers have appropriate, professional development opportunities
  • Provide the level of autonomy, challenge and variety individual workers need
  • Encourage and support creativity and innovation
  • Ensure adequate clinical supervision
  • Recognise  and reward good work
  • Support workers with their work/life balance
  • Communicate realistic expectations to new workers
  • Utilise information from exit interviews to improve organisational culture


Remember that demonstrating to your staff that you care for them more than you expect them to care for their clients, is the greatest impetus to staff engagement!


For more information about retention, download NCETA’s Theory into Practice:  Retention




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