The slippery slope into the valley of employee turnover


“You are not going to believe what they have done now!!”

This is what one of our field employees reported about our largest competitor. What he was telling me was they had made yet another major mistake regarding their greatest asset. I was the Vice President of HR and this competitor went through a two year period in which they made one mistake after another as they slid down the slope into devastating employee turnover. Each time the competitor released a new policy, benefits program or procedure it was always tone deaf.

The employees of that company would be very upset with the new policy as it would always be to the detriment of the employees. Our competitors’ employees would then talk to our employees who would pass the new policy onto me. In some cases, I would receive a full copy of the new policy. In the two year period there were five policy changes. However, these five changes resulted in an exponentially damaging result.

Many times our employees would tell the competitors employees what our policy was and how it was dramatically different. Each time the competitor would release a new policy my desk would get covered up with resumes from our competitors employees. Almost always the new employee would come over for the same hourly rate that he was making with the competitor. Our only issue was how his certifiable skills matched up with our compensation plan. The vast majority of the time the compensation difference was insignificant.  

The problems with the policy changes were:

  1. A tone deafness of the acceptability of the new policy
  2. A lack of understanding of how the employees would react
  3. The aggregate effect on their employees of the policies

Have you ever seen a shift from not having a turnover problem to sliding into the valley? In two short years, our competitor had slid into a major employee turnover problem. In their case, it was badly constructed policies. It can be a host of other issues, actions or inactions which are pushing you down the hill or holding you in the valley. The good news is that whatever the issues are, they are correctable.  

 Are you sliding down the hill or have you already made it to the bottom?