Employee Turnover

Zero Employee Turnover – an organizational philosophy

Years ago, many manufacturing companies were fighting the cost of rejects, waste, customer returns among others. They were spending lots of money on their production lines. The ideas, systems and processes brought by Constant Improvement, Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma were rejected as being unrealistic. Many people thought about the manufacturing process the same way we think now about employee turnover. “As long as we are close to the industry average we’re okay”.

But something changed, when Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma and Continual Improvement philosophies were engaged. Results could now be measured. People saw a difference and manufacturing organizations recalibrated their thought processes. Those who failed to do this were left behind and became dinosaurs of a previous era.

Quickly, the new goals within the manufacturing process were ZERO. They saved BILLIONS!! Why can’t these same principles be used to reduce employee turnover which is attacking so many organizations today?  

The first problem is in dealing with the prevailing conventional wisdom. The employees and managers I worked with were resigned to our employee turnover being near or over the industry average. They made it clear they did not believe anything could be done to make it better. They pointed out our major competitor had the exact same problem. However, there are always examples of companies which don’t have any employee turnover. Why not?

Our company production philosophy demanded management of the production line to GET AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to zero in multiple areas. They would manage it every day and continuously thought of new ways to strive for zero. However, we also had a resigned acceptance of employee turnover as long as it is close to the industry average. Little to no thought or effort was spent on GETTING TO ZERO.

We need the same attitude regarding employee turnover as we have with waste and rejects

Would the same management fundamentals used in manufacturing convert to employee turnover? The short answer is yes. I have seen it over and over. Taking the basic goal of continuous improvement coupled with fundamental management principles. As in manufacturing, it is not one and done. It is a long-haul process.

Clearly, we had divergent goals within the organization and our current employee turnover philosophy had to be scrapped. The new philosophy would be in line with our friends in manufacturing. The new goal was ZERO EMPLOYEE TURNOVER and we would now manage for that goal.

The backbone of your company should be as close to ZERO as feasible

Other companies are being successful. Why not you!

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