Hay Group: Poor job descriptions drive staff turnover

07 July 2015 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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Poorly aligned job descriptions are causing a considerable headache to mid-sized businesses across the UK, a recent Hay Group report highlights. Of the respondent, half believe that poorly thought out job descriptions create false expectations for the over or under qualified new employee. This can result in staff leaving, which, according to the consulting firm, comes with considerable costs for the company.

Hay Group recently released a report that explores the effect of the negative effects that poor job descriptions have on the retention of staff. To develop an accurate picture the HR consulting firm approached 253 managers or above, working in HR, in a wide cross-section of companies in terms of size in the UK.

The results of the study show that 51% managers believe that poorly worded and unclear job descriptions create false expectations on incoming staff that then find themselves a poor fit for the position, with as a result that they come to leave. In addition, 68% state that badly thought out job descriptions result in a pool of candidates that weakly fit the requisite role, with as a consequence increased incidence of poorly fitting candidates. As a result of this, more than half (60%) say this results in the ‘wasting of time’ of the HR department and hiring manager, and potentially money.

Hay Group: Poor job descriptions drive staff turnover

When the description matched the position, 86% of respondents agree that there is a likelihood of getting at least one good quality candidate for the advertised position. However, 79% of respondents say that getting such a description out of the manager of the functional area in which there is a deficit is time consuming, while 42% believe that in their organisation job description drafts are often poorly constructed.

Sectorial differences
Different sectors are affected differently by the consequences of poorly considered employment propositions. The problem appears to affect both the technical professions, like engineering and legal sector, as well as the more broad retail sector. In retail particularly, slightly more than two thirds of respondents indicate that a poor description is correlated with staff becoming disengaged and leaving. In the engineering sector, 60% of respondents see a poorly worded employment proposition correlated with inconsistency in quality across the wider business. The consequence in the legal profession is even more dramatic, with 83% saying that a new employee that is not fitting in has a ripple effect on already vested staff.

Human Resources

One of the key consequences is that many organisations are not getting the staff required, with a third of organisations seeing a turnover rate of 21% each year. This can come at not an insignificant cost to employers as the under or over qualified staff members that leave will cost a mid-sized company (100-249 employees) more than £138,000 per year.

Commenting on the results, Adam Burden, Consultant at Hay Group, says: “The lack of clarity is demotivating for individuals, and affects engagement and loyalty to the organisation. This has a knock on effect for teams, which are much more likely to perform when each member has an accurate picture of their role. Get job descriptions wrong and there’s a risk you’ll recruit the wrong people. Get them right, however, and you can attract the best candidates, who know what to expect from the role and how to make an impact.”