The low hanging fruit of employee turnover


Every employee turnover project I have been involved in has had its’ share of low hanging fruit. Issues which are quickly identified and have solutions implemented immediately or in a short period of time. In each case, the solution costs little to nothing and the benefits were immediate. Many times the benefits of the low hanging fruit solutions exceeded the cost of the entire project to the client.

There are too many examples of what this low hanging fruit could be and the potential solutions. The low hanging fruit is always symptoms – not root causes. These are secondary symptoms that have been created by the root causes, the employees or by the organization incorrectly trying to deal with their employee turnover. Many times these are policies and procedures which have been around for a long time and are “how it has always been done”.

The solutions are generally not earth shattering and are seen as fundamental management.

As a consultant, I was working with a larger service company which had one department with a major problem. The manager woke up every day “in the hole”. Her words – imagine waking up every day “in the hole”. She would wake up in the morning to a number of text messages from employees who were sick, could not come in for various reasons or were quitting and not coming in. She said that she generally started every day being 4-5 people “in the hole”. She told me that the first 3-4 hours a day she and her staff would get on the phones and call people they had on a list to see if they could come in. The best case scenario was one of these people would say yes and they normally would get to the company by 11AM in the morning.

This was a key department in the overall operation of the company and clearly this was a huge problem. She had her staff making phone calls for 2-3 hours to round up the people they needed. I have seen other organizations use temporary agencies and pay a upwards of a 35% premium on the hourly rate to get people. In addition the best situation every day was being down 4-5 people for 4 hours a day. Their day started at 7AM and the first group of called in people would arrive at 11. Obviously, productivity was crashing and burning.

The solution I recommended cost nothing. I changed their process somewhat; but more importantly was the TIMING. The manager woke up fully staffed every day. Her staff could work on other things and every one arrived on time. The employees got a full shift and the manager got not only full productivity but bonus productivity due to her staff not having to spend half a day on an issue that had been solved.

How much low hanging fruit do you have?