How to Attack Employee Turnover
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Reprinted from CSP Magazine
Imagine having the happiest and most reliable staff in every one of your stores this year. Imagine no employee turnover in 2003! That alone would make for a great year. But the reality is turnover is one of the biggest and most frustrating expenses you stores incur. However it is one that can and should be addressed.
How many of you know what your turnover cost and percentage is by store? How many store managers and Area Managers know those numbers by store and by month? Unfortunately
many of the folks close to the problem are not aware of the specifics. When we hear the word turnover we think of how hard it is to find employees and how employees quit so feely these days. The word itself projects a feeling of poor me the marketplace is so tough. I agree the marketplace is tough for finding and keeping good employees, but can we do more to reduce that frustration and expense? Absolutely!
The first and easiest step is to simply start tracking it monthly and holding managers accountable. The old phrase “What gets measured gets managed” has never been more applicable than in this situation. If we’re not talking to managers about the specifics at their store then the assumption is it must not be that important. Most organizations track turnover cost at the headquarters level and merely make mention of it at quarterly meetings but that doesn’t result in any change. We do talk to managers monthly about labor hours and overtime and they do feel that pressure. However a great deal of those extra hours are a result of being understaffed. It’s a vicious cycle and the root of the problem is addressed or tracked.
The fact is, store managers have a direct impact on turnover through their relationships with employees. They’re not responsible for all of it but if you conduct exit interviews you would see that their leadership style or the work environment had an impact on why the employee quit. It’s no surprise that some managers jump into a new management style when they fear someone might be quitting. All of a sudden they become more flexible and approachable. Unfortunately it’s a little too late. Perhaps if they knew that every month they were tracked on their turnover numbers they would think differently about how they interact with employees. The relationships they create with the staff and the environment they foster in the store is critical. This is evident in several of the focus groups we’ve conducted with employees over the past few years. Many leave because they don’t feel appreciated or not treated fairly. These are leadership issues, not competitive pay or benefit issues. And when one person leaves it can be contagious. Often they find a happier work environment and they tell some of their old friends still employed with you that seemed to be content until they heard about another option.
Most mangers are awarded a monthly bonus based on store sales, gasoline volume, and mystery shopper scores. If you agree that mangers impact why some employees might quit then why not track them on it? Perhaps you make it part of the current bonus program or develop a separate one on a quarterly basis. In every organization the managers know which of their peer stores sells the most. There’s nothing wrong with some good healthy competition. Start to post and rank which manager has the best and worst turnover and chances are you’ll see some behavior changes and a reduction in turnover.