Employee turnover - first, stop the bleeding

As with a medical trauma, the first action to proactively manage your greatest asset is to stop the bleeding. Until you effectively deal with the ROOT CAUSES of your employee turnover – you will continue to throw new employees into a toxic environment. As long as the toxic environment continues – you will continue to have employee turnover.

In most cases, with a medical trauma, there is no debate as to whether the patient is bleeding or not. There is also little debate from where they are bleeding. In determining how the organization is bleeding out – can be much more of a debate. Getting everyone to agree what the root causes of the employee turnover – is not easy.

Discovering the actual root causes of your employee turnover is difficult but ultimately very rewarding in both $$$ and employee engagement. However, most of the discussion will be focused on symptoms because:

  1. Symptoms will be grossly over reported
  2. There will be hidden agendas driving you to address the symptoms
  3. People are not trained/experienced to sift through the symptoms
  4. It is easier to deal with symptoms

The above will create a predisposition in the organization to deal with those symptoms. The employees will be happy you are addressing the symptoms - as it will reward their hidden agendas. In EVERY case, one of the reported symptoms will be COMPENSATION.

Once, when I arrived as the new VP of HR I was told that the pay was so low that it was “CRIMINAL”. After reviewing some research it was clear that we were right in the middle of the pay range. We started by communicating our findings to the employees. We also made some surgical adjustments; but, nothing like what was originally reported.

In another situation one of the root causes was indeed compensation. Not the amount; but rather, the TIMING. The employees did not understand how as their value to the organization went up – their compensation seemed to have little correlation to the increased value. Some surgical adjustments were made in the compensation STRUCTURE. We over communicated what we were doing and why to the employees. The adjustments were well received by the employees and our turnover went down.

You will ALWAYS have a natural negative reaction by the organization when the root causes and the solution options are discussed. The negativity should be expected and can not only be mitigated but can be reversed with over communication. Many times it is not the WHAT but the WHY.

Employee turnover is like every other organizational issue. It has to be managed by someone who has the skill and experience to make a difference.