Staff turnover is highest in January. Act now to stop it


As we approach the end of the year, it’s tempting for recruitment teams to slow down the hiring process. After all, many industries enter a lull in the last two weeks of December and first week of January, as both sales and operations activity drops (retail and hospitality are notable exceptions).


However, for high-volume, medium skilled roles- especially in call centre, manufacturing, retail and transport, there is often a sharp spike in employee attrition during the month of January. This can vary in reason- from employees looking for new opportunities in the New Year, to migrant workers who go home for the December holidays and decide to stay for a while longer. The impact, however, is the same- a sharp drop in staff numbers and resulting pressure to increase recruitment reactively.


We spoke to some of our biggest customers to understand what techniques they use to manage the ‘Christmas Churn’ phenomenon, and here are some of the key methods they use.



  1. Create incentives for employees to return to work in January

Preventing employee attrition in the first place is often the most desirable option- high performing employees that stay add more value over their tenure. Companies can offer a bonus for workers who return to work in January- either in the form of cash or non-financial incentives such as airtime or food vouchers (which can work well, since many employees are out of pocket after the festive break).


  1. Measure the performance of temporary workers and make the best ones permanent

Most retailers will have dimensioned their workforce by adding temporary workers during the festive period. However, most temps will be dropped after the peak season is over, resulting in the unintentional loss of talent. Several high performing companies we spoke to make it a point to measure the performance of temp workers over the festive season and make the best ones permanent. This in turn can compensate for any attrition in the New Year.


  1. Plan ahead and build a large pipeline of candidates before the festive break

Several forward-thinking employers actually model the expected January attrition and recruit in advance to prepare for it. By building a large pipeline of new recruits in November or early December, these companies mitigate the January attrition and ensure continuity of staff levels. Paradoxically, this means that recruitment teams have to actually increase recruitment activities in November and December rather than reduce it.


  1. Recruit aggressively in January

For employers that have not been able to forsee or mitigate staff turnover in January, the best option is to ramp up recruitment efforts aggressively in the first two weeks of the New Year. This means that new recruits can be operational by the end of January, by which time sales and operations teams are back to their usual productivity


Which of these techniques have you tried and which work best for you? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us here.


About Giraffe


Giraffe is a fully-automated, mobile recruitment service that enables businesses to recruit medium skilled workers faster and more affordably than any other way. Giraffe has over half a million candidates across South Africa and is working with the biggest names in retail, transport, manufacturing and call centre to streamline the bulk recruitment process.


For more info on how Giraffe can assist with high volume recruitment in a very short timeframe, head over to


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