Friday, November 16, 2007

Dealing with Employee Turnover

It's not secret how the job market is pretty tight. Turnover is greater and it's harder to find qualified people (who want to stick around.) I found a really great article that provided some really good thoughts on Turnover, particularly in the retail industry. You can read the full article by Dr. Charles Handler here at But here are his conclusions and reflections from the article:

  • Even though job duties are standardized and some work environments rely on workers having a core set of traits to carry out these duties well, everyone is still very different and comes to the table with a totally different history and context. This context often has more of an impact on tenure than anything else because it represents a reality that is highly personal and often transcends things like money and time.
  • There are a lot of folks out there who may be seen as overqualified for some jobs but whose life-reality places them in situations where they end up needing the job to make ends meet. This can have both positive and negative impacts depending on the person, the environment, or even things such as the person's relationship with management.
  • The staggering number of options for doing something with oneself and the reality of the opportunities provided to those of us living in the United States often compels people of all ages and races (not just Gen Y or whatever other "Gen") to look at jobs as temporary.
  • In many cases, hiring people for their raw abilities rather than for their experience or technical skills can be a good strategy, especially if one is having trouble getting butts in seats. Someone who is passionate about customer service and can relate to people can probably do well at jobs that require these things, even if they have no experience. This is one of the biggest value propositions for personality and work-values assessments.
  • It is important to be honest about opportunities and what they offer to a job applicant. The reverse also applies; applicants should be encouraged to be honest about their goals for the job. Anything less is going to accelerate things like turnover.
  • Organizations need to understand the demographic from which they hire. It is important to understand trends in how job seekers view employers and to do one's best to adapt hiring practices to account for these things. This also applies to sourcing and even employment branding.
  • Understanding of context should drive creativity. If the cold, hard reality is that a worker isn't expected to stay at the same job long enough to make the hire pay off, seek creative ways to change this equation. This may include offering flex time, telecommuting, or benefits that are of value to the employee.
  • Hire and/or train management to be understanding of the context that each worker brings to the table so that they can relate to that person and understand the value that his or her unique circumstances bring to the table.
  • And, most importantly, tracking the relationship between data collected in the hiring process and objective, measurable outcomes is absolutely critical for understanding the economic impact of the reality that is our workforce. From this information springs the power to justify processes or to understand the need to adapt and change them.

Handler has some interesting thoughts and good ideas on dealing with turnover. Feel free to post your ideas in the comments if you know of any other thoughts or ideas on how to retain employees.

- Rosie Reilman

No comments: