An analysis of staff turnover in the optometric industry
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This study is an analysis of staff turnover rates in the optometric industry, with particular focus on independent optometric practices. The reason for this focus is that these optometrists and other interested parties, such as staff recruitment agencies and training consultants that operate within the industry, perceive staff turnover to be high. When frontline staff resign, optometrists usually cannot pinpoint the reasons for the resignations as no formal exit interviews are performed. Additionally, since practices operate independently, to date no collective effort has been made to find specific reasons for the perceived high staff turnover. As a result, no data on staff turnover figures and reasons for staff turnover in the industry are available. Consequently, the optometrists cannot assess the risks and costs involved when employees leave. This study begins with an assessment of the staff turnover rates over a five year period in the optometric industry, and evaluates whether these turnover rates are in fact high. Thereafter, it sets out to determine if there are any common reasons for the staff turnover and whether or not a gap exists between management's perception and the actual reasons for staff leaving the optometric practice. Lastly, recommendations are given on an appropriate retention strategy that will be appropriate for the optometric industry. In order to attain the objectives of the study, an initial literature review was undertaken on the general concept of staff turnover, the costs of staff turnover, the calculation thereof, the reasons for employees leaving an organisation and the reasons for employees choosing to remain with an organisation. A second literature review was done on the importance of staff retention, as well as the responsibility for managing the retention of staff. This literature review was done to serve as a basis for recommending an effective retention strategy for optometrists who are struggling with high staff turnover rates. In addition, the literature review was used to develop two questionnaires, which were sent to optometrists and frontline staff within the optometric industry. The data extracted from the two questionnaires revealed that there is in fact a high staff turnover rate in the optometric industry, for which there are three common reasons. The three common reasons are salaries, a desire to take on a new challenge and a lack of opportunity for advancement. A consideration of these reasons forms the foundation for recommending an effective retention strategy suitable to the optometric industry.