Business Leaders: Are you having a hard time retaining good employees? If so, take the following quiz. Remember to answer honestly; you are the only one watching.

  • Can you remember the last time you thanked an employee for a “job well done”? YES NO NOT SURE
  • Can you remember the last time you asked an employee’s opinion on a work matter? YES NO NOT SURE
  • Are your pay levels competitive? YES NO NOT SURE
  • Do your employees know what is expected of them in their jobs?
    YES NO NOT SURE (Do you really know this or are you guessing?)
  • Have your supervisors been trained or coached on how to have frank and productive performance discussions with their staff?
  • Do YOU feel comfortable having frank, productive performance discussions with your staff? YES NO NOT SURE
  • Do most employees seem to be an appropriate fit for their jobs?
  • Do employees know what to do to “get ahead” at the company?
  • Would you say that at any given time, most of your employees appear to be engaged in their jobs? YES NO NOT SURE

If you answered NO or NOT SURE to more than 3 of these questions, it may be time to step back and take a fresh look at your work environment.

Turnover costs money. Each year firms spend billions of dollars recruiting and replacing their employees. To replace an hourly employee costs anywhere from $2,000-$11,000 and up to $40,000 for a manager. In addition, losing good employees can negatively impact the rest of the workforce’s morale and productivity, a consequence often not factored into the cost of turnover.

Some of the reasons good people voluntarily leave, such as a change in their personal circumstances, cannot be prevented. It can also be tough to compete with employers that provide higher pay scales and benefits.

However, most employees desire more than a good paycheck. Leading causes of high turnover are often related to employees experiencing inequities in the workplace, poor working conditions, feelings of not being appreciated and inappropriate job fit. As leaders, these conditions are within your control and can be remedied.
In the past 20 years, a significant amount of research has identified the characteristics of a “winning workplace” – companies with low turnover and high employee engagement and productivity. These six fundamental characteristics, or as we call them, “Building Blocks,” include:

1. Trust, Respect & Fairness

In winning workplaces, employees are respected, both as employees and as human beings; there is a sense of trust between management and staff; and workers are treated fairly and consistently.

2. Open Communications

There is open and honest communication within the organization, from management to employees, from employees to management and across different work units of the organization.

3. Rewards & Recognition

Employees are sufficiently rewarded and recognized, in monetary and non-monetary ways, for their contributions and accomplishments.

4. Learning & Development

There are opportunities for employees to develop new skills, and to advance in the organization as their performance and desire dictates.

5. Teamwork & Involvement

There is a sense of teamwork and collaboration within the organization, with employees feeling that they have the opportunity to contribute directly to the organization’s success, and to the larger community.

6. Work/Life Balance

The organization’s policies, practices and culture affirmatively help employees balance the competing demands of work and family.

Creating a stable and collaborative workplace happens over time, does not have to cost a lot of money and, most importantly, helps you maintain your competitive edge. Take care to resist the quick fixes or the “next great consulting fad.” The key ingredient is you and your leadership: your sincere desire to improve the work culture, your willingness to “roll up your sleeves” to drive the process and your role modeling of constructive communication and behavior.

For more information on how to decrease unnecessary turnover and build a winning workplace, call Diane Stoneman, Winning Workplaces’ Director of Consulting and Training, at (847) 328-2819.