Out of control employee turnover was the main reason why I was first asked to move from Finance to be the VP of Human Resources. Every time a new company recruited me - it was due to employee turnover threatening the very existence of the organization.

In each case I found a company with employee turnover that was near or over the industry average. More importantly they were resigned to being “where they were”. They did not believe anything could be done to dramatically reduce the turnover.

I would always ask what the employee turnover was of the top three companies in their industry. The answer was always the same: “Oh, THEY don’t have any turnover!!” They did not realize that low turnover is a symptom of an organization having the right strategies and tactics versus high turnover being a symptom of a lack of or ineffective strategies and tactics.

The first company which I worked on employee turnover was literally bleeding out due to turnover of Field Technicians. If the trend continued we would literally stop functioning as an organization. These were the people who were making us money!! Over the next 2-3 years we made innumerable changes; but most importantly we developed a strategy and a plan to reduce employee turnover to as close to ZERO as possible. In the last 4 years I was with that organization our turnover of senior technicians was very close to our goal!

It never ceases to amaze me how manufacturing companies have ZERO TOLERANCE for:

  • Manufacturing rejects
  • Customer Returns
  • Waste - among other things

The company production philosophy demands management of the production line to GET AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to zero. They will manage it every day striving for zero.

However, they have a resigned acceptance of employee turnover as long as it is close to the industry average. Little to no effort or thought is spent on GETTING TO ZERO.

This dichotomy of philosophies does not make sense and costs you a lot of time, effort and money – with a heavy dose of frustration!

What came first? Being one of the top companies in their industry or low turnover? From personal experience – I can tell you that low turnover comes first many times. Striving for zero employee turnover will also help close in on the manufacturing zero goals.

So what needs to change? The company must:

  1. Adopt a philosophy of Zero Employee Turnover
  2. Determine the true roots of Turnover
  3. Develop a strategy to attain Zero Employee Turnover
  4. Determine all of the tactics necessary to close in on Zero
  5. Manage it every day.
  1. have shown they can reduce the problems with rejects, waste, and customer returns by – focusing and managing those problems. By implementing proven strategies and tactics they can make it better – this is equally true with Employee Turnover.