HR Management & Compliance

Reducing Turnover: Some Ideas to Try

The economy is maintaining a steady 2% rate of growth, and unemployment continues to fall. The market is ripe for many employees to seek better employment. As a result, employers are again looking to keep their best employees on board and motivated. This is no easy task. The cost of turnover is reason enough to make a concerted effort to reduce it, and the hit to productivity is something we’d all prefer to avoid. Here are some ideas to consider when looking at ways to reduce employee turnover:

  • Consider the pay and benefits package upon offer. Is the pay and benefits package still in line with the market? What benefits do your employees desire that you’re not already offering? Have you asked them this question recently?
  • What is the working environment like? On this point, be sure to ask employees rather than make assumptions. What aspects of the working environment can be improved? Hours? Conditions? Workload?
  • What type of training is provided (especially at onboarding)? Would all employees agree that the training provided is adequate? What additional training could be beneficial to the employees? What skills gaps exist that could be addressed? Employee development improves retention.
  • How robust is the hiring and screening process? One of the biggest factors in employee retention is getting the right employees in the door in the first place. This is a factor often overlooked in retention discussions—how can we better ensure a good fit for new hires? Remember to give importance to how well the individual will fit with the company culture.
  • How often are employees getting positive and constructive feedback? Lack of constructive feedback as well as lack of praise, acknowledgement, or appreciation are hot-button issues that make employees frustrated. Beyond performance management meetings, are supervisors and managers giving frequent feedback to employees? Are there mechanisms in place to ensure employees get recognition and are shown appreciation for their work?
  • How engaged is the workforce? Have you conducted an annual employee engagement survey? Are engagement levels going up? What can the organization improve on? Is the organization actively addressing all concerns that have been voiced in previous engagement surveys?
  • Are there clear career paths for employees, and are programs in place to assist employees in reaching their development and career goals?
  • What steps are taken to proactively ensure that all managers are fair and consistent? What action is taken when there is a complaint about a manager? Unsurprisingly, “bad bosses” are one of the top complaints from employees, but often this is something that employers tackle reactively rather than proactively. This can quickly affect morale, which hurts productivity and turnover.
  • Do you hold onto problem employees for too long? The sometimes-hidden problem with these employees is the negative effect on employee morale. If one person is causing trouble or, conversely, is not getting in trouble when they probably should, that can quickly erode morale for everyone—making what could have been a small problem into a much larger one.
  • Do your employees feel they have adequate work/life balance? What can be done to improve this balance?

What other aspects of the company culture and working environment have you evaluated when looking to reduce turnover and improve retention? What have you found to be the areas of prime focus to get the best return for your efforts?

*This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.

About Bridget Miller:

Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.