Inevitable Turnover?

15 May
by Bridget DiCello

If you find yourself continually hiring and firing, your turnover may be higher than it needs to be. There will always be people who leave a job – to move up in their field, to pursue another field, they move geographically – and there is little you can do to prevent these. However, there are also several reasons that significant turnover occurs, which can be prevented:

1.  You hired the wrong person. Companies large and small have some ineffective hiring processes. Some of the most common mistakes:

  1. You hold only one interview.
  2. You talk more than the candidate in the interview.
  3. You hire them because you like them.
  4. You ignore warning signs instead of purposefully looking for them in each candidate.
  5. You ask interviewing questions that ask what they ‘would’ do, or how they ‘would’ handle a situation.

What to do?

Review your interviewing process. Create deliberate, multi-interview steps, and use effective behavioral interviewing questions. Train your interviewers to be effective.

2.  You hire a transitional type of employee. Those businesses who hire students, for example, or employees in lower level positions, can expect to see turnover as these employees move up to higher positions, or complete their training and get a job in their field of study.   Restaurants are often in this category, but there are other industries where the turnover rate is high for the industry. If you are wondering if this is you, check with your industry association and get your statistics.

What to do?

Set up a process that is not an incredible burden to hire. If you know you experience high turnover and have a good interviewing process and a great place to work, accept the fact that hiring is part of your routine work. Just a few ideas: use applications/resumes and phone interviews to screen candidates to save you time of in-person interviews, involve multiple people in the process, schedule a brief first in-person interview to prevent you from spending a lot of time on the wrong person, and use references to learn more about the person.

3.  You have an unpleasant place to work. Your turnover may occur because people don’t want to stay and do what you have hired them to do. This may occur because:

  1. You never clearly stated expectations of the job tasks and they didn’t know what they were getting into.
  2. The team is hostile and unfriendly.
  3. The managers are not effective in orienting, training, coaching, holding people accountable and developing people to bring out their best. You may end up firing a lot of people for this same reason.

What to do?

Management (processes, metrics and accountability) and leadership (set goals, inspire others, create the team) skills are very often assumed to be present in someone as soon as they assume a role with a manager title.   Although there are some who are natural leaders or managers, most must learn the skills and may destroy some teams in the process, or create a lot more work for an owner who must enable them to learn on the job. Send them to classes, have them read The Leadership Challenge, Opportunity Space and other great leadership books, hire them a coach, and purposefully mentor your leaders.