Where are they going?
Turnover has become more of a concern for some companies. It is not new to track workplace turnover. It can be voluntary (employees leave on their own) or involuntary (employees are laid off or let go). It is the reasons for the turnover that can affect organizational effectiveness.
Whether you’ve lost a few senior people or a large number of support staff, it’s evident that your employees are setting off their own alarm, of sorts. Clearly, they’re trying to tell you that some condition – or combination of conditions – has made it untenable for them to continue working for your company.
The short-term costs of employee turnover are well known: The cost of recruiting, interviewing and training one new employee equals about one-third of an employee’s annual salary – a sum that grows exponentially with multiple employee resignations.
The so-called “soft” costs of employee turnover are more difficult to calculate but can lead to some hard realities: more work for the employees who must pick up the slack (and possible overtime expenses to compensate them for their time), reduced employee morale and, fair or not, the perception that your company is out of touch with its most valuable commodity.
Rather than view your employee turnover dilemma strictly as a crisis, try to shift the paradigm to that of an opportunity to improve your organizational effectiveness. After you determine the root cause (or causes) of employee turnover, you can begin to fortify and strengthen your organization in profound ways. Then, perhaps, your employees will be tempted to set an alarm of a different kind: one of gratitude for working for a proactive, responsive company — if not a model of organizational effectiveness.
Seek to Understand
In his book, “The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It’s Too Late,” Leigh Branham contends that the root causes of turnover usually “hide in plain sight.”
Moreover, he makes the point that the proper question to ask during exit interviews is not “Why are you leaving?” but “What caused you to first entertain the idea of leaving?” Tweaking the question can help managers apply the lessons learned from “disengaged” employees, or those who have mentally “checked out” of their jobs but continue to hang on anyway. Branham’s seven reasons include two that you can address before you even hire the employee. The other five have more to do with management/leaders and the culture of the workplace. No surprises there since most employees leave their jobs because of their perspective of issues with their direct manager.
There are many factors that can affect each of the seven that Branham points out. In addition, there are many different ways to be more proactive in addressing each one. Most of them boil down to communication and clarity of expectations – for the employee, for the manager and the flexibility of the culture.
Where To Start
Turnover is a symptom of other conditions in the workplace that affect Organizational Effectiveness. Using Branham’s seven reasons is a good start to uncover the causes. However, if leaders want to know the causes of their workplace turnover and how best to make a change that will matter and last, some type of evaluation of the organization is needed. There are a multitude of diagnostics and assessments available. Two that stand out for evaluating turnover is an employee engagement survey and an organizational network analysis (ONA).
An engagement survey can offer a method to hear directly from all employees about their personal experience, attitude and commitment to the organization. They can also offer comments and suggestions for improvement. Done correctly, the organization can measure engagement and evaluate what conditions are supporting or detracting from engagement. Specifically to address turnover, you can even include questions to evaluate whether employees are considering leaving your organization and why.
Organizational network analysis can also provide a diagnostic of the organization from a macro and micro perspective. ONA offers a ‘picture’ of the organization, how information flows, where there might be communication issues and many other factors about the organization that might be impacting turnover. Use both the engagement survey and the ONA together and leaders can find solutions and take action that will specifically address the causes, not just the symptoms of what is affecting the effectiveness of the organization. Turnover will likely be positively affected, over time, by taking these actions.
Related Post: Transform your company with organizational network analysis
Resource: To increase your organizational effectiveness, contact us for a free consultation.