What message is your turnover sending your customers and competition?

When you have high employee turnover you are sending an unmistakable message to both groups and it is a VERY negative message. To your customers you are telling them they cannot count on having consistent customer service. Right now, as I write this, I am sitting in a breakfast establishment which I go to almost every Saturday morning. We all have stores we frequent and clearly one of the reasons we go to a particular store are the employees we interact with. Employees who we know, who know us and know our likes and dislikes – the really good ones will remember. This is the bedrock of good customer service. There is one employee who knows what I am going to order, roughly where I am going to sit and that I generally don’t need anything else. Yes, I am that boring. Would I continue to come here if there was a new person every week? Don’t know – but I know one thing – customer service would suffer which would not make me happy. How many times have you been disappointed when an employee “was no longer with us”?

What message is your competition receiving? They know you do not have control of your greatest asset – your employees. They know you are vulnerable to attack. They know they can find out why your employees are leaving. They just have to pull one of your ex-employees in for an interview. I would always pull in no less than 3. During the interview they give the ex-employee permission to “talk freely” and they will learn everything they want to know. Your competition will probably have a better idea of what your problems are then you do. So now they know how to attack and what they have to do to make themselves more attractive to YOUR employees. They will always target your highest value employee who will do them the most good and cause you the most harm. Sound familiar?

When I was the VP of HR of a service company we wanted a very large customer badly. We made zero headway going through a concerted sales effort. Along the way we learned our competitors’ operations supervisor was not happy. We knew why, we knew what he wanted and we knew we had what he wanted - hint: not money. But, there was a snag. He liked working for the customer and the customer knew they could count on him. He would not make the move if he had to go work somewhere else. We started to talk to him and were amazed to learn he could bring his whole crew with him!! Overnight we picked up the entire customer which was a nightmare for our competitor.

Which position are you in now? Which position do you think is more fun?