Hiring & Retention in a High Turnover Workplace

High Turnover Limits Business Success

High turnover can cost a company time and money. A revolving door of employees makes it difficult to achieve consistency in service, inhibits growth and directs resources to hiring and training new employees that could be used elsewhere. Employees have more options for a new job outside the company now that unemployment is going down and more companies are hiring. So, how does HR help improve retention in a high turnover workplace?

See Employees as More Than Expendable Drones

Employee retention can be a big problem in low-wage jobs. Industries like retail and food service are known for high turnover rates, which leads to a constant cycle of hiring and training new employees. When I worked in HR at a manufacturing and distribution company, we had a problem with high turnover. The starting wage for most jobs in production and the warehouse was minimum wage, and the attitude from upper management was that employees were expendable. If you don’t like it here, someone else is out there and ready to take your job.

If we treat employees like they are expendable, then employees are going to act like they are. Rather than sending the message that a worker could easily be replaced, focus on creating a positive work environment where workers are respected. Focus on positive feedback and recognizing good work. Regardless of whether someone is packing boxes and shipping out orders or if they are CEO, they add value to the company. Accepting this is a big step toward creating an environment where employees want to stay.

Provide Training & Room for Growth

One big reason that employees leave is because they have found a better job. If this is a common occurrence at your company, work on developing training and improving opportunities for growth within the company. Offer computer training or classes for other skills necessary for higher level jobs in your company. Consider an educational benefit that pays part of the cost for classes that will help advance an employee at the company. When management training is offered, give non-managers a chance to sign up. This will give you a good idea of employees who aspire to management, and you can then focus on developing those employees.

Do not forget about new employee orientation and training for new hires. New employees need to feel comfortable in a job, and simply throwing them on the line with the instruction to learn by doing is not enough to improve retention. Develop a plan for the employees first few weeks. Include orientation, assigning a trainer to the employee, what the employee will be trained on and how their progress will be measured. Doing so will lay a good foundation for the employee’s personal growth within the company.

Offer Good Pay & Benefits

Pay and benefits also help with retention. How many times have you heard an employee say they left a job for better pay or benefits? Even though pay and benefits are not the only things that contribute to a positive work environment, they are a motivating factor for staying at or leaving a job. Figure out where you can afford to improve compensation and benefits, and make those changes.

Incentive programs are a good way to recognize employees and can often be done on a limited budget. The key here is that employees see that their work and contributions are being recognized.

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Stephanie Hammerwold

Stephanie Hammerwold

Stephanie Hammerwold, is the founder and director of Pacific Reentry Career Services, a Southern California nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated women find and maintain employment. She also blogs on a variety of HR topics as the HR Hammer. When not volunteering for her nonprofit, Stephanie has a day job in HR at a tech startup in Irvine, CA.

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  1. […] I have worked at places where onboarding is little more than filling out a stack of paperwork. New hire training and orientation are a matter of being thrown in the midst of things and trying to figure out what to do. Such a welcome to a new job can leave an employee feeling like their new employer cares little for their success. Regardless of the size of your company, creating a plan for onboarding and new employee orientation is important to employee retention. […]

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