Saturday, December 16

Lower Staff Turnover

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How to lower staff turnover

There are two aspects to dealing with personnel retention: one is weeding out those who cannot or will not perform at the required level and then finding a way to remove them, either through termination or by pushing them to the point where they seek employment elsewhere, and the other is finding a way to retain top performers and try to keep them happy. Turnover is expensive, no matter whether the person that has to be replaced was a nonproductive dud or a star of the enterprise. There is a hole that has to be filled, and hiring and training are expensive processes.

Psychologists learned many years ago that rewards are a more effective way to control behavior than punishments. Some (way too many!) managers must have skipped school the day that lesson was taught. Their sole method for getting employees to perform is to bully, threaten, and punish. Their employees are in a state of perpetual fear. Job performance suffers because people find it difficult to focus on doing their work properly when there is a sword constantly dangling over their heads. When they get a poor evaluation of their performance and have to face the consequences of that, they get depressed and often have even more troubles with doing their job. They live in constant fear of losing their job (which is where the manager thinks he wants them) and a host of problems ensue. They may have trouble sleeping; some will eat too much; some will drink too much; some will turn to drugs, prescribed and/or illegal. Their health will suffer and they will be miserable a lot of the time. Using punishment or the threat of punishment as the primary or only method to manage employees will ensure regular turnover.

Rewards are much more effective than punishments in controlling behavior. Cash bonuses for top performers are good but there are many other options. Some extra time off (with the employee getting to choose when to take it), even if it is unpaid, can make a big difference in employee satisfaction. An extended lunch break or the opportunity to come in late or leave early can be a much-appreciated bonus for employees. Some companies have used such things as “dress up” days to spark employee interest. These are days when everybody is asked to wear something green or maybe wear you ugliest Hawaiian shirt. Simple games with small prizes can also give employees a better outlook on their working conditions.

The best method to reduce staff turnover, of course, is to be selective in hiring. Unless you are in dire straits and need somebody (anybody!) to fill a spot right now, conduct carefully designed interviews to determine whether the applicant is a good fit with the company and the job. Once you have good employees that you want to keep, you must treat them fairly and recognize their value to your organization in a way that is meaningful to them.


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