September 4, 2014

How to Deal with Staff Turnover

This is the second article in a two-part series on turnover. With turnover, there is always a positive with a negative. Focusing on the positive and mitigating the negative is our goal.


We approach each case with compassion and care about the employees as persons, assure them their opinion counts and are generous with praise as we work our way through. We also keep everyone in the loop within legal limits.   We say, “This is what is happening. We need your help,” and ask staff for input on hiring, skill set, and best fit.

Do you really need to replace that headcount or can you streamline and redistribute?

From top to bottom, we think out of the box to create the best result for the company. We ask questions – some simple some difficult – like is it time to search for new software or technology? Are any/all processes necessary? Is there someone internally who can be challenged and move up? Can we adjust the job duties and roles to fit a new, model “right” fit? My very first employee is retiring next year. She knows that the file cabinet in the corner was our first piece of furniture. How to you account for that knowledge? How do you capture it?

Do you choose to “celebrate” or “carry-on” depending on your culture?

Celebrations are reserved for those relocating (leaving the geographic area), leaving the workforce (being a stay-at-home parent), retiring (having a new beginning) or other non-competitive scenarios. If they are going into a competitive position, we do not celebrate. As I said in the first article, I take things personally as CEO because I know they are working for THE BEST company right now. Something organic like a potluck may develop, which may or may not be supported by management on a case-by-case situation.

For those who separate from our organization on an involuntary basis, it is uncomfortable sometimes. We may appear as if we simply carry on, but we don’t. We review what we do, how we do it and determine if there is a better way.

What matters the most

Turnover can be gut wrenching, a time of reflection, a great time to change the direction of the company and an opportunity to make it a great place to work. Focus your time and energy on keeping the right people versus worrying about the cost numbers. Once you get your turnover in control, the flip side has it’s benefits! An engaged workforce has 27 percent less absenteeism, provides 12 percent higher customer satisfaction; 18 percent higher productivity; and is 12 percent more profitable. Now those are the “positive numbers” you want.

Written by Jim Annis, President/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Tom Miller, and Suzanne Chennault, Applied’s division directors, contributed to this article.

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