How to Reduce Employee Turnover

One of the keys to business success is maintaining a dedicated staff that you can trust and rely on. But good workers—at least the kind who stay with a company for the long term—seem to be a vanishing breed. And finding replacements can result in additional costs for hiring and training, lower productivity and negative morale.

So what can you do to slow down employee turnover? You could start by improving the general work environment. For example, you might address some of the common concerns of your employees each Friday afternoon in a brainstorming session. As an alternative, you can try to schedule regular one-on-one meetings on a monthly or quarterly basis. Get feedback from the staff and listen to it.

Potential result: Some of the revelations resulting from these meetings may surprise you. You may find that an employee is bored by the day-to-day routine of a job. Perhaps the level of compensation is an issue. Or maybe you need to spell out better guidelines for job performance. Finally, others may have special problems relating to child care or other family obligations.

Keeping that in mind, here are several other practical suggestions for business owners to consider if turnover is a problem.

  • Provide new challenges. No one wants to stay in a rut. To avoid this problem, you may be able to emphasize an employee’s strengths by creating new tasks. For instance, an innovative employee may be asked to look into new product development. This may require the transfer of a worker to a different department or group.
  • Sharpen the skills of employees through training seminars. These seminars allow workers to expand their duties and identify how their particular talents can best be utilized. If you don’t have the resources for in-house sessions, you may be able to arrange for private seminars or courses at a local university.
  • Set flexible compensation standards. Obviously, it’s easier to retain key employees if you pay them what they are worth. The problem often is rooted in an inflexible company policy. For instance, an employee who puts in extra hours may feel frustrated by being tied to the same salary structure as those who work strictly from 9 to 5. Result: An employer may have to throw out “the book” on compensation levels.
  • Consider other forms of compensation. If the salary structure cannot be amended, your company may use other methods of compensation to retain valuable employees. A few examples are deferred compensation packages, stock options, bonuses, additional vacation pay or time off.
  • Tell employees what you expect of them. Of course, a business manager must be able to recognize and appraise the work an employee does. But his or her responsibilities don’t end there. Case in point: Employees should know what is expected of them and what constitutes satisfactory or excellent performance. It may be necessary to write out practical guidelines and discuss them periodically with your people.

Develop an ongoing process that encourages communication between all parties. Caveat: The entire procedure may be a waste of time if employees do not receive any feedback from your discussions.