Lately, employee turnover is a subject that has been brought up in many circles that my firm encounters so let's take a moment. With a number of years’ experience in management research and dealing with change management at the low-, mid- and high-levels, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the experiences my consulting colleagues have had when it comes to working for a company that is struggling with high employee turnover.
This article will provide value and insight if your business:
- Suffers from high turnover
- Spends a fortune on marketing in an effort to combat negative publicity
- Struggles to achieve sales goals when the leads are ‘hot,’ and/or
- Tries to motivate its employees to perform, to no avail, leading to burn-out
The above four items are symptoms of a deeper problem – a management problem. And this management problem is driving up your employee turnover rate and exposing you to risk. Throughout the business cycle, companies are often faced with a number of decisions that need to be made in order to have a positive effect on issues and operational challenges. The actions that you’ll need to take to solve the deeper problems and symptoms listed above include a number of proven methods, steps and processes.
One of the best methods to solving a problem is to understand the cause; i.e. why are you being plagued with high employee turnover?
- Disrespecting employees (public berating)
- Failure to provide proper training
- Poor grasp on effective management
- Inverted production environment
It should be a no-brainer that management should never disrespect and publicly berate employees. This kind of incivility is catastrophically counterproductive and it has a direct adverse effect on your company’s bottom line since employee disrespect leads to active/passive retaliation, less creative employees and reduced quality of work. Not to mention if your employees serve a customer-facing role - work done by Harvard Business Review writers indicates that berating will lead to negative customers’ perceptions of the employees, organization and brand.
Failure to Provide Proper Training.
Your recruitment methods will often play a factor in your training methodology. Firms (call centers, for example) that recruit from a low-experience talent pool should make onboard training their top priority. All too often, companies elect to fall short on training programs in an effort to save on costs. Again, this will have a cascading effect on employee productivity.
Poor Grasp on Effective Management.
The old adage goes that “you cannot have the blind leading the blind.” It does not make sense to put incompetent management in place if all they’ve been is a technician in your company. They may perform well when it comes to the operational aspects of your company, but if they do not have a solid foundation on effective management, then the net result will offset gains made by technical experience. An effective manager inherently understands people, communication and emotional management.
Inverted Production Environment.
“Coffee is for closers only” (Glengarry Glen Ross, 1992) – I know all too well the expectations of performance in a sales and production environment. Companies often spend finite precious dollars on leads, and the last thing they can afford is for their sales-force to burn through those leads. So, to increase production statistics, managers often ‘mind-hack’ their employees with high sales goals, positive affirmations and restrictions on negativity. ALL of these hacks are, in-fact, positive – many studies champion the results of having a positive goal-oriented outlook. The issue, however, is that these hacks are utterly useless when you inject negative stress as a result of employee disrespect, lack of proper training and ineffective management.
Solving the Problem
The commitment to solving high turnover will payoff, literally, in the form of happier employees, consumer confidence, lowered onboard costs and high profits. By implementing the proven methods, below, you will be set your business on the fast track by developing high-performing employees.
Take an Asset Management Approach.
Since human capital is an asset, Harvard research suggests that you have a quantitative and measurable method to your human capital strategy. As a business leader, you already know the value and benefits of effective measurements. Employee surveys will provide you with insight into performance management, career development training and benefits programs.
Employee Surveys and Exit Interviews.
Employees will tell you what makes them tick – companies just have to listen. Research has found that companies can effectively gain insights into employee motivations by conducting surveys and exit interviews. This research focused on the results gained from exit interviews from a national financial firm – the results provided the firm with insights into why their top performing people were leaving and which aspects of their employment with which they were most concerned and which were most valued. In this case, it was inadequate pay and heavy workloads.
By offsetting these causes, you will be light-years ahead of your competitive peers and on the way to a reduced turnover rate. Without gathering insights from exiting employees, you may be leaving a vast collection of insight on the table (and lost forever). So, before letting your people go, and costing your business precious dollars in employee turnover, HR research suggests that you take some time to gather information, including how your departing performers needed to be treated.
Give Them A Reason To Stay.
It goes without saying that your employees should be involved in your company for a greater cause, and not solely to earn a paycheck. Career progression is a crucial factor influencing employee morale and satisfaction. Provide performance reviews, development paths, promotion benchmarks and opportunities for mobility and pay growth. Research reviewed a dataset of 160,576 employees and found that this is one of six major areas that have the highest effect on employee satisfaction. As Joseph Folkman puts it, “If a person works hard and gets a paycheck, he has a job. But, if a person works hard, gets a pay check and learns a new skill, he has a career.”
- How a company manages its human capital is one of the few remaining sources of enduring competitive advantages.
- Companies with poor management create the perfect storm which gives rise to disgruntled employees – when the company fails to take action and reverse the trend this exposes the company to unnecessary risks such as theft, procedural leaks and high turnover costs.
- All employees, whether recruited from an experienced talent pool or otherwise, need leaders who inherently know how to properly resource them. Companies need to inspire, motivate, and treat their employees with dignity they deserve in order for them to perform at high rates.
There you have it – a crash course in reducing your high turnover rate. Either you do the above or you don’t, there is no try.
“All employees need leaders who know how to inspire and motivate them, give them opportunities for development, and treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve.” (Folkman, 2012)
- Foley, J. (Director). (1992). (Glengary Glen Ross) [Motion Picture]. United States: Zupnik Enterprises.