Why Can’t I Keep My Employees?

Good question. Better question is “What can I do about it?” There are many reasons why employees quit, but the #1 reason across all demographic groups is due to lack of recognition and appreciation. People don’t leave the job nearly as often as they leave their supervisor.

Here are some simple steps you can take to help reduce turnover in your company.

1. Train your supervisors how to be good managers of people. Teach them how to train, delegate tasks, coach performance and show appreciation. Also teach them what not to do, such as doing an employee’s work for him, criticizing one employee in front of another, showing favoritism, stealing an employee’s ideas, yelling at employees when something goes wrong and blaming employees for everything that does go wrong. There’s a lot more to learn here, but you get the idea.

2. Don’t make promises you cannot or don’t intend to keep. Some examples of this include promising “annual” performance evaluations or “annual” pay increases or that terminations will only follow progressive discipline.

3. When someone does leave, conduct an exit interview and find out why they are really leaving. Don’t assume it’s for a better salary. Ask probing questions like what you or the company could have done differently to prevent them from leaving. Keep track of the exit interviews and see if a pattern develops. Once you find out what is really causing people to leave, do something about it!

4. Conduct “Stay Interviews”. Similar to exit interviews, but proactive rather than reactive. Keep it simple. You can ask just 3 questions and find out a ton of information. Ask: What is the company/your supervisor doing now that you want them to STOP doing; What is the company/your supervisor NOT doing now that you want them to START doing; What is the company/your supervisor doing now that you want them to CONTINUE doing?

5. Make sure that your compensation and benefit package are competitive. If you can’t afford traditional group medical insurance, take a look at the many types of alternative plans that are now available. If you can’t afford to pay as much as your competition, consider offering more time off, some continuing education assistance, training opportunities, better tools/equipment/technology.

6. Make your employees feel part of a team. Share your mission, vision and values. Publish them in your handbook; post them on your walls; talk about them at your meetings; offer rewards and recognition to employees who make the effort to model your values. Encourage people to share their ideas and work together. Have rewards for accomplishing team projects.

It’s a lot less expensive to keep your good employees happy than having to replace them. Turnover costs time, effort and money. It affects productivity, morale and profitability. It’s well worth the time and effort to keep turnover under control!