High Employee Turnover: When you can't seem to hold onto the right people.

Many companies, particularly in the retail industry, face a high turnover of staff. In any industry, high employee turnover is a problem, even more so in industries where the majority of employees are on the frontline and deal with customers directly.

High employee turnover comes with a host of issues, reasons, and several solutions. We’ve boiled it down to the basics:

The 2 Big Issues

1. No Consistency for the Customer

Customer service has many facets. One of the elements that help improve customer satisfaction is consistency: people enjoy familiarity. A customer who walks into his or her favourite shoe shop and is greeted by a familiar face – that of a long-time employee – who remembers their preferences and needs is a loyal customer.

In the retail industry, this is tricky; many employees view retail as an entry job – one that will springboard them through some work experience into a ‘real job’. Gone are the days when walking into a small community fashion shop would earn you a personal greeting and a ‘…how did that dress work for your son’s graduation?’. Customers crave that type of personalised interaction – it makes them feel valued – but it is incredibly difficult to give them when high employee turnover is in play; it’s not exactly possible to train new employees in individual customer profiles.

2. Continuous, Inefficient, and often Expensive Training Requirements

With high employee turnover, companies face the issue of having to train newcomers constantly and consistently. As a result, training models are often designed and used without adapting them to changing situations. Why waste time building new models when this batch of employees is just going to leave anyway? In a sense, many businesses give up because they can’t keep up: it becomes more time-efficient to just let new employees use the current, un-personalised training system.

This is where new employees face ancient PowerPoint presentations with outdated information. They see that the company hasn’t invested any time or energy into these training packets and switch off – why should they engage with this material if the company hasn’t? And so the cycle continues.

The 2 Big Reasons behind High Employee Turnover

1. No Engagement and Motivation

We touched on this a little already: if an employee doesn’t feel engaged with a business for whatever reason, they’re going to get bored. Employee loyalty, like customer loyalty, isn’t something that just happens: it has to be earned over time. This means that businesses have to put in the effort to engage and motivate their staff.

2. No Support or Management

One of the biggest reasons why high employee turnover occurs is due to management issues. Management, as most of us know, is an artform. A good manager is worth their weight in gold; a bad one much less so. Bad management, or no management, will send employees packing without a backwards glance. Employees want – and need! – to feel like they are being supported; they don’t want to feel undervalued or overworked. It is a manager’s job to dispense advice, constructive criticisms, and compliments in such a way that is most helpful to the employee.

The Solution

There are several ways in which a business can tackle high employee turnover. What it really boils down to is communication.

Understanding employee expectations, requirements, and issues before they come into play is vital to taking control of any employee relationship. This line of communication goes both ways, of course, allowing for a company to relay its expectations, rules, and goals to its employees so that no one operates blindly.

Several months ago, we discussed the importance of an evolving HR policy. A good HR policy will accurately reflect the needs of both the business and the employee – allowing for a dialogue between the two. This is the main, vital thing to help kerb high employee turnover.

The Inevitable

Sometimes, however, it isn’t possible to manage high employee turnover; sometimes, it’s just a fact of life. It is impossible to control everything. A company can go out of its way to increase employee engagement and motivation, and this will certainly help with the issue, but it might not be possible to stop high turnover completely. This can be due to the nature of the work – perhaps it is a high-stress job that people simply can’t handle for too long; or maybe it’s an easy entry-level job that young adults use to break into the workforce.

It’s not always possible to fix high employee turnover, but even in those cases where it remains an issue, it is possible to work with it rather than despite it.

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  1. […] High employee turnover occurs where there are management issues. Great managers foster loyalty. Bad bosses make employees run for the exits. […]

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