Turnover Myths Part 5 – Is Turnover Always Bad?

Myth # 5– Turnover is always bad. It is disruptive to business. The smaller the business, the more disruptive it is. Turnover has a cost. For all these reasons and more, turnover must be avoided.

Reality – Sometimes change is good because it brings new players. Whether employees are fired, retire, or get another job, turnover can be an opportunity for employers to develop new employees who are excited about the company. Some turnover is actually good for the company especially in the case of those overpaid, under-performing workers.

Turnover is a symptom of what’s going on in the organization. As such, a focus on turnover and a simple assumption that low turnover is well, or high turnover is catastrophic won’t serve your organization.

What is a better bet? Develop a culture that retains employees for the right reasons and generate high results. Easier said than done for sure, but there are some pointers.

Countless studies have shown that companies who intentionally manage their culture significantly outperform those that don’t. Why? Energy spent on the creation of a healthy corporate culture is always energy well spent.

So what do we mean by “company culture”? Culture is similar to the company personality. It is the way work gets done in an organization. Culture touches everything from how employee communication is delivered to decision-making, who gets hired, who gets fired, who gets promoted, how and how much employees are compensated, how conflict is handled, the style of leadership, the quality of the organization’s good or services, and how employees relate to each other and to customers. Think about the feeling you get from walking into a Starbucks café versus a “Hole in the Wall” truck stop. They will both serve you a beverage of your choice but the experience will be different because the culture is different.

Unfortunately, leaders often spend energy on activities that don’t address what’s really preventing employees from doing their best work. Most workers leave because they are dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor, not the company. Frontline managers are critical to developing the culture you want and retain the workers you need. By making sure your frontline managers have the strong supervisory skills, know how to handle tough employee situations, the legal framework and can dish out discipline when appropriate. Frontline managers, new and experienced ones, should hone their communication skills and engage their workers in daily interactions.

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This is the final installment of a 5-part article co-authored with Kelly Allmon HR manager at Jefferson Labs.