No self-respecting company is proud of posting a high turnover rate. After all, high turnover signals employee unrest – if not dissatisfaction – and the notion that something is fundamentally wrong with management. Financially, a high turnover rate forces a company to incur training and retraining costs – the dollar value of which varies widely, depending on the company – and disrupts employee morale – an intrinsic corporate value that defies a dollar quotient. Survey after workplace survey shows that people quit their jobs not because of disappointment with their pay and benefits package but because they felt a lack of appreciation and teamwork and basically disliked the way they were treated. To reduce a high turnover rate, a company should get down to and embrace the basics of human relations.
Adopt a positive reinforcement mode. It’s easy to point out when employees make mistakes or could have produced better work. But praising them for impressive efforts and contributions pays greater dividends in terms of buoying their day-to-day attitude about their work.
Create a sense of teamwork – and mean it. It’s one thing for a manager to shout, “There is no ‘I’ in teamwork!”; it’s something else to create a work environment in which people are sincerely encouraged to ask questions, suggest ideas and work together to accomplish goals.
Maintain an open-door policy so that employees feel comfortable approaching managers and convene regular staff meetings. For a change in venue and to develop a sense of employee rapport, hold some of these meetings at a nearby restaurant or lounge.
Provide your employees very specific job descriptions and goals so that they understand what is expected of them. This one small step should breed confidence in your employees and eliminate uncertainties.
Establish priorities among job duties, especially if your company has been forced to ask employees to take on duties that once belonged to others. Employees sometimes struggle unnecessarily when a simple clarification from above could help them better manage their time.
Provide constructive, positive feedback when an employee’s job performance falters, and offer specific suggestions for improvement. Assume that your employees want to do a good job and make a contribution; do not give them the idea that mistakes will not be tolerated. Instead, use them as experiences to learn from.
Recognize your employees formally for good performance, whether it be a token gesture – an employee of the month bulletin board, for example – or a grand one – dinner at an expensive restaurant. Employees will remember the gesture, not the dollar amount or your time expenditure.
Develop a genuine sense of loyalty to and interest in your employees. This is the most difficult notion, but it will lead to the most dividends, because employees tend to repay an employer’s loyalty and dedication tenfold. And this, after all, is the key to employee retention – as well as reducing high turnover.