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Slowing Down Your Employee Turnover

by Chris Miksen

High employee turnover drags down production and causes holes in your workforce, which increases current employee workload and makes customer service suffer. It can also put a large dent in a company's wallet, evidenced by a 2008 study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management that found that the total cost of replacing an employee ranged from 90 to 200 percent of the employee's annual salary. Remedying high turnover may call for sweeping changes to the workplace and a new approach to your hiring process.

Positive Environment

Employees who aren't happy at work because of a negative workplace soon turn into ex-employees. Even with high pay and solid benefits, negativity can make it difficult, if not impossible, to keep turnover low. The atmosphere of a workplace is directly related to its culture, which managers have a hand in sculpting. Infuse your workplace with a positive feeling by taking an employee-oriented management style, acknowledging workers for their achievements, talking with employees daily, soliciting feedback, urging open communication and offering constructive criticism that highlights an employee's strengths alongside their weaknesses.

Morale

Employees who have low morale have little motivation to perform at a high level and often show a lack of focus and interest in their work. Anytime employees are demoralized for a long period of time, they're going to try and find a solution to the problem, and that often means looking for a new job. Low morale can be attributed to a negative environment, low pay, poor benefits, lack of opportunity, little structure or direction, overwhelming workload and micromanagement. Take steps to help employees find meaning in their work and assist them in setting long-term and short-term goals. Avoid throwing piles of projects on them or implementing unrealistic deadlines, and allow them to accomplish tasks on their own without intervention. If you have the authority, promote and grant raises to deserving employees, but note that small raises may not boost morale. "Psychology Today" explains that a study conducted by the University of Northern Iowa found that a pay increase of less than 7 percent was often ineffective at raising morale.

Training

Poor training programs often lead to employees who don't understand how to do their jobs effectively. By not giving your employees the tools to succeed, you're opening the door for them to leave. Choose the right people to conduct new employees. If you're grooming a new manager, for example, take the reins. If you hire a new customer service employee, delegate the training to your customer service supervisor. Whoever provides the training needs to be qualified and communicate the ins and outs of the job to accomplish all tasks associated with the position. The Mind Tools website suggests taking the training process slow by breaking it down into steps, such as basic, intermediate and advanced knowledge.

Hiring the Right Employees

No matter what steps you take to improve employee morale, none of it matters if you don't hire the right people. When recruiting employees, highlight exactly the type of person you're looking for and what they can expect from the company. Offer a comprehensive breakdown of the position, from its responsibilities to its requirements and point out what your company offers, such as flexible schedules, vacation time, or educational assistance. When it comes time for the interview, compare a candidate's strengths, achievements, experiences and employment history to what you need from an employee for the position you're looking to fill. Always call references to confirm the candidate is a top-quality employee. Knowing exactly the type of person you need will make it more likely you hire someone who will succeed and stick around.

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