Employee Turnover… Is Your Employee Entrance a Revolving Door?

It pays to get a handle on the turnover in your business.

There’s been a lot of press about today’s labor shortage. Applicant flow is down to a trickle in many industries. Business owners and their supervisors are being challenged to make the most of the workers they have. Regretfully, many are not up to the task.

If you don’t have “all the good help,” then somebody else does. They’re out there, and the successful managers aren’t letting them get away. Successful managers are bringing out the best in their people. And while competitors are trying to recruit them away, their employees are staying put. Are you managing employee retention? Or leaving it up to chance

Listen to the “sounds” of turnover:

  • “My hours were changed. I told them I couldn’t work those shifts.”
  • “They never let me make decisions. I’m tired of being told what to do all the time.”
  • “The place was always filthy. Nobody cared anyway.”
  • “Why doesn’t everyone have to play by the rules?”
  • “Our boss is never here. He doesn’t really care. You never know what’s going on around here.”
  • “They hire idiots. And I ended up doing their work! Where are they getting these people?”
  • “They just threw me into the job and expected me to be perfect.”
  • “I’m tired of the boss just ‘going off’ on us.”
  • “The big shots just walk right past you. They never say ‘hi’ or anything.”
  • “Nobody talks to me that way!”

These responses are painful. They’re real. And they don’t need to happen.

In the last two decades, American management gurus have long sought to develop the right “fix” for enhancing commitment and productivity among employees. Remember Ken Blanchard’s “One-Minute Manager?” How about TQM? Then came Covey and his Seven Habits, followed by self-directed work teams. Each had their own tricks. They all worked pretty well-until the next creative concept came along.

If you’ve been out of touch the last 20 years, or perhaps just starting in a supervisory role, save yourself a few dollars in seminar fees and memorize the bottom line on all these high-profile management philosophies:

There is no substitute for courtesy, respect and clear, unwavering expectations as the guiding principles for successful management.

So, are you managing retention? Are you on your game? Consider the following questions to help you assess where you stand:

Why would someone want to work for your company?

Do you get excited when you answer this question? Are you the buyer or the seller when you interview applicants? Your reply is projected loud and clear to your applicants and employees, whether you verbalize it or not. You need to get this one nailed before moving to the next question.

Why would someone want to work for you?

Because of your charm, good humor and generosity, right? But will your staff give you the same answer? Ask them. Go ahead. Don’t be afraid. Listen.

Can you name the family members of your direct reports?

A great way to see if you’re really in touch. How close are you to your staff? Who’s unhappy on your team, and why? Why are people leaving? Have you asked? Will they tell you?

Can the lowest paid employee in your company explain why your company is in business?

A team must be led. The leader must light the way. The team functions best when all parts are working together. Everyone wants to be part of something big, something successful.

Are the restrooms clean?

Well, are they? Do you care? Do your employees care? What is the condition of your workplace? Don’t overlook this one. You only have one chance at that first impression when new employees come into your organization. The physical workplace is a statement about you. Do you expect excellence? Should your people? Or not?

Before you run that next “help wanted” ad, call that temp agency or visit that college placement office one more time, take a minute and assess where you stand on the aforementioned points. That revolving door is costing you money each time it spins. Pay attention to the back door as well as the front entrance. The perfect employees someone else is seeking are probably standing right outside your door. Don’t let them get away!


Michael Tracy is the owner and Managing Principal of OMNI Employment Management Services, LLC. OMNI is a human resources outsourcing and consulting firm located in Overland Park.