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Tackling the Employee Turnover Problem

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Written By:

Andrew C. Jackson, President BravoTECH

A few years ago I wrote about the importance of keeping employee morale high during the lean years as a hedge against high turnover. During a recession, rising stars of the organization can feel neglected because they do not see continuous progress in their careers. Unfortunately, employee turnover can remain a problem after the economy recovers — as employees who now feel secure in their current positions are attracted by offers of better pay or growth opportunities.

Experts say that employee turnover, and the absenteeism that precedes it, can be costly – yet the true financial impact is not well understood by most organizations. In addition to the losses associated with recruiting, onboarding and training an employee who then departs, significant productivity and revenue losses can result from a position that is unfilled for an extended period of time. And the added stress on individuals who must “pick up the slack” can lead to further turnover. Whether business is good or bad at the moment, organizations need to understand the risks of employee turnover and what they can do to minimize it.

If turnover is more than a rare occurrence in your organization, you may want to ask yourself these questions:

  • What is management doing to fuel excitement about who we are as a company, what we do and how we help our clients succeed?
  • How long has it been since you had a team-building activity, gathered offsite for lunch or dinner, or celebrated the achievement of a milestone or corporate goal?
  • Do your employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, and how they can succeed?
  • Do your supervisors have good management skills and do they communicate well with their teams?
  • Are you utilizing the skills of your people to their fullest? Do all employees, especially star performers, feel that they are using their talents to make a valuable contribution to the company’s mission?
  • Do you allow employees to speak freely about their concerns, and do you clearly communicate objectives to them on a regular basis?
  • Do employees have a clear understanding of what they can do to earn a salary increase, bonus or promotion?
  • Is this a fun place to work? What low-cost incentives or activities could be implemented to recognize individuals for their contributions?
  • Do managers have regular one-on-one conversations with employees to understand their goals, personal challenges and concerns – and are the results of these conversations reported to upper management?

While salaries, benefits and perks need to reflect the goals of the company, employees need to see a direct link between their efforts and the rewards they receive. This is a pretty simple idea to understand, but it can be difficult to track on a continued basis – particularly when the business is fast-paced and customer demands take priority over employee concerns.

People work for money, but their motivation and happiness are influenced by many different factors. Sometimes it is the little things that keep a team together. Now that we’ve moved into more profitable times, let’s try to hang on to our most valuable asset – our people.