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February 22, 2012
5 More Ways to Reduce Turnover Costs

"As we move from an industrial-based society to a knowledge-based society, human capital is increasingly more important," says Ronald Adler, president and CEO of Laurdan Associates, Inc. Keeping the right people on the job can make all the difference in your increasing your rate of productivity and decreasing your cost of turnover. How can you affect this?

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In a BLR webinar titled "Organizational Leadership for HR and Supervisors: Ten Ways to Stop Turnover and Meet Goals," Ronald Adler and Jennifer Burdick discussed eight methods to improve your workplace and retain employees. In the previous article we covered the first three methods: hiring practices, purpose, and trust. Here are the remaining five.

Critical Method 4: Environment

The work environment contains many facets, including the employee benefit package. The environment you create by paying your chosen wage sends a signal to your team. Environment, however, is not just the salary and benefits, but it also must meet a minimum satisfaction level overall. This includes providing a safe and comfortable work space.

To have an environment employees thrive in, find out what they care about and try to provide it. This can help you to be a company they can be proud of; people like to feel they are working for the best!

The environment you provide has many facets. Another such facet is the idea of differing hours (if possible). If you have the flexibility, you can benefit by recognizing that each person performs best in a variety of ways. Some like a steady 9 – 5 structure, others like a compressed work week – four 10 hour days, some like early morning, and others are night owls. Additionally, some like to focus on one project at a time, while others like to juggle several things at once. As long as each person accomplishes, over time, the same expectations, why not listen to their needs?

You also have to be an ethical person and expect the same of your team members. The minute they question your integrity, you will lose theirs.

Critical Method 5: Flexibility

When we spoke about flexibility in the environment, it’s not just about flexible work schedules, although that is very important to many people, but also about:

  • How the work is accomplished (team, individual, diversity of approaches; there is never just one way)
  • Job assignments (switch jobs in the team to cross train – fresh eyes give fresh ideas)
  • Job sharing
  • Phased or rehearsal retirement

Critical Method 6: Appreciation

You can’t praise too often. For it to be most effective, do it publicly and visibly such as using company newsletters, bulletin boards, e-mails, etc. This is the most critical time in leadership and you can make a difference by looking for the best in everyone. Additionally, don’t ignore the good steady performers while focusing on the difficult employees or your superstars.

Critical Method 7: Work/Life Balance

Employees have lives away from work. For the most employee satisfaction, support them in all aspects of their lives. This may include things like encouraging and allowing employees involvement in charitable activities. Sometimes this may include spending less time actually at the office; you could consider telecommuting for some of your employees.

Critical Method 8: Fun!

The final method to use to reduce the cost of turnover is to remember to have fun. Adler explained that "we’re talking about, as leaders, creating an environment so people can succeed; so they can rise to the level that helps the organization … we’re looking for ways to not only give them direction … to encourage performance and to motivate them. People are motivated in different ways. One of the things that the research shows is that sometimes you just have to take step back and celebrate success."

This can come in different formats. Make your office a place that employees want to come to. You can do this with decorations, parties, by springing for a pizza, etc., every once in awhile to keep the place fun and enjoyable.

For more information on the costs of turnover, order the webinar recording. To register for a future webinar, visit http://catalog.blr.com/audio.

Ronald Adler is the president and CEO of Laurdan Associates, Inc., a veteran-owned human resources management consulting firm specializing in HR audits, employment practices risk management, HR metrics and benchmarking, strategic HR, and unemployment insurance cost management issues.

Jennifer Burdick the president of CMK Associates, LLC, and is a human resources consultant and trainer specializing in customer service, equal employment opportunity compliance, and investigations and training for small, developing companies, non-profit organizations, and human relations commissions.

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