Reducing turnover essential to increased profits

Keeping good employees is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – challenges in any organization.

It’s especially important during challenging times like these, when it’s the experience and know how of key employees that may be the difference between making a profit and going under.

Turnover is expensive: It slows productivity and requires hiring and training new people. Anything that improves employee retention puts money in the bank. Here are some suggestions for doing just that.

If employees are unhappy, find out why.

Before you can reduce turnover, you have to know why your employees would consider leaving. One way to do this is to conduct exit interviews with all departing employees.

Here are some questions to ask them:

  • What are your reasons for leaving?
  • What could we have done differently to have kept you here?
  • What does your new job offer that this one does not?
  • What is your opinion of the quality of supervision you received? Was your supervisor fair and reasonable?

Find out what your employees need but aren’t getting.

Don’t wait until employees quit to ask questions. Spend some one-on-one time with employees on a regular basis in order to find out how they think the job is going. Ask questions like:

  • What do you like best (and least) about your job?
  • What might make you want to quit and go somewhere else?
  • What can we do to keep you happy and working here?
  • What do you need that you aren’t getting in order to do your job?

Make sure your managers have the right skills.

One of the most frequent reasons employees change jobs is because they don’t like their managers. Look for trends: Do certain managers lose more employees than others? What behaviors or traits do they display that might be contributing to the problem?

Are there certain managers employees want to work for and tend to stay with? What are those managers doing right? What can other managers learn from them?

Many managers rise through the ranks because they are talented at the technical parts of their jobs, but they lack leadership skills. It is important to provide managers with training and coaching to develop any critical skills that they lack.

Make your company culture ‘employee-friendly.’

Work should be fun, not deadly serious. Here, as in most things, managers set the tone. A positive sense of humor is a must.

Recognize and praise employees when they do a good job. Also use bonuses, pay raises and promotions for employee actions you want to encourage. Ask employees for their ideas and opinions, and give them as much freedom as practical in how to do their jobs.

Finally, managers should be flexible with schedules when employees need time off for personal or family issues. If it is inconvenient to have an employee away from the job, think how it will be if they quit.

Turnover is inevitable in all businesses, but you can keep it to a minimum with forward-looking management practices such as these.