Keeping Morale High When Turnover is High

Both research and anecdotal evidence suggest that high turnover within an organization usually results in decreased productivity and a lower quality of product. Many factors contribute to the turnover rate within a company, but the intangible effects on employee morale and optimism can have very tangible results on a business’ long-term outlook. Fortunately, you can mitigate these negative aspects of a high turnover culture with watchful leadership.

High turnover can add up

When we discuss employee turnover, we’re talking about the percentage of employees who leave a company and are replaced by new employees. An article published by The Academy of Management Review describes the cost of turnover as the sum of how much it costs a company to separate from and replace old employees while training new ones. It’d be crass to say that in some jobs employee turnover is expected, but in organizations and individual positions it isn’t surprising. Customer service positions, specifically those at a call center, notoriously churn through employees.

However, for companies where you should expect stability, high employee turnover often signals a deeper problem. Outlined in a Salesforce blog, this theory states that turnover naturally affects performance because those that leave are often the most experienced staff, “and it naturally takes time to replace that experience.” In a study by Northern Illinois University, offices with low turnover post average profits four times higher than those with high turnover.

Struggling companies don’t just face turnover, though. The rate of voluntary turnover—when the employee chooses to part ways with the company—often rises when a business is doing well. So if you don’t have a plan for engaging your employees and keeping your work environment healthy, turnover can add up quickly.

Best practices for keeping morale high

Given the right attention and focus, companies can actively combat the toxic work environment that creates high turnover. Measures like these calm your employees and show them—not just tell them—that you as a leader are invested in the workforce.

Establish feedback systems—This vaults to the top of Gallup’s list of efforts companies can make to engage with their employees. Why? Because employees at any company feel more respected and appreciated when they feel listened to. This goes further than just managers giving lip service about their “open door policy.” You can start by building a formalized procedure that encourages employees to pass ideas along in a safe space. Just make sure it feels genuine and can effect change if need be.

Make opportunities to learn and grow—Gallup points out that as small companies grow, employees need to stay informed about learning opportunities available to them. Safe to say that same need-to-know extends to companies of every size. Gallup says, “Managers are the key to helping employees develop,” but managers are employees, too! Josh Bersin, a thought leader in the space of employee training, writes:

Being a manager is a tough job. Managers at all levels struggle with selection, hiring, training, coaching, and evaluation. Give them time and tools to learn, a framework for feedback, and a continuous development process so they learn how to become better.

When employees can see that you’re offering them room for improvement, that offers them incentive to stick with your company. And when turnover is high, that can make all the difference.

Assign a mentor—Mentorship programs help employees stick in times of high turnover. Aja Frost writes this at the HCarrers blog, “This mentor will be responsible for showing the new employee around, answering questions, and making him or her feel comfortable. In the long run, the mentor should also serve as a source of advice and inspiration for progressing in the person’s career.” Your employees picture themselves staying with your company and building a career there when you pair them with someone who’s already done it.

Check in—Gallup’s most straightforward suggestion carries the most importance. When engaging with employees and combating a culture of high turnover, Gallup suggests “using this time for uncovering barriers and helping employees to maximize their potential.” Bersin agrees, suggesting that managers and employees “talk about performance regularly and let employees create their own goals on a regular basis. Force managers to provide ongoing feedback and teach them how to have honest conversations.”

What’s core to these recommendations? Management and employees should have regular and genuine contact with each other. A feeling of stability comes from the two-way flow of information. With Lessonly’s automated learning, you can facilitate this interaction, monitor feedback, and engage your team. Sign up today.

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