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If Your Turnover Is Too High, Look at Your Workplace Culture

Does your business experience high turnover, i.e., the percentage of all full-time positions that have to be refilled each year? Some turnover is to be expected, of course, particularly in low-skill, low-pay jobs. But is your turnover so high that it is affecting your company’s productivity and financials? Have you even had people walk off the job without notice and not return?

If you answered “yes” to more than one of the above questions, and your pay and benefits are competitive, you may have hypothesized that it is a societal problem, that “nobody wants to work anymore.” In FlexiCorps’ experience, that is not true. There are people who do want to work, to learn, and to do a good job.

Rather, the problem could lie in your workplace culture, in the way new employees are trained and treated by both management and co-workers.

Workplace culture issues can hurt not only retention but also your hiring efforts. Career websites like Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com make it easy for both current and former employees to anonymously post their opinions about what it is like to work at a company. Low ratings can cause potential candidates to refuse job offers and even interviews.

How to Tell If Your Workplace Culture Could Be Hurting Your Hiring and Retention

Here are three questions that can help you determine if your workplace culture, particularly your treatment of new employees, might need improvement.

  1. Are you giving new employees the tools and training they need to feel successful quickly?

No one wants to feel like a failure at work. A new employee training program should provide the right information and tools that will enable a new hire to feel successful at the end of one day, one week, one month, and so on.

To clarify, when we talk about employee training, we don’t mean that hour or two people spend filling out HR paperwork and reviewing basic company policies. We mean training on how to do specific job tasks correctly, efficiently, and safely. A solid training program will not only help new hires be successful quickly but also improve employee retention.

  1. Are your existing employees incented to help new hires be successful?

Existing employees may be working so hard at their own jobs that they have no time and no incentive to help a new hire. In other cases, they may simply be unhelpful because of internalized attitudes like “They can figure it out on their own like I did.” We have even experienced cases where existing staff discouraged new people on purpose in order to get more overtime pay for themselves.

One way to solve for this is to assign an existing employee the job of training a new hire and reward them if the new hire lasts for a specific period of time. You can also reward experienced employees for telling a new person about any unwritten rules and offering the tips and tricks that have enabled them to succeed.

A great example of this can be seen by watching the Waste Management episode of Undercover Boss. At minute 6:00, you can see an example of an employee being helpful to a new hire. At minute 11:30, you can see a contrasting example of an employee not being helpful to a new hire.

  1. Are you setting appropriate expectations for new employees and giving them specific feedback that lets them know when they are meeting or exceeding expectations?

When employees are not given clear expectations, you are setting them up to fail. An employee should not be made to guess about SOPs, best practices, or management expectations.

Consider this scenario: A manager meets with a new employee and sets specific expectations for deliverables or accomplishments in the first week and first month. The employee then receives frequent feedback on what they are doing right and what they need to fix in order to be on track to meet or exceed expectations. In this scenario, an employee will feel confident in knowing what they are expected to do and will be motivated to meet or exceed expectations.

If you aren’t comfortable with your answers to these questions, this could be a sign that your new hire training procedures and workplace culture could use improvement. Getting new hires off to a stronger start can be an important factor in attracting better job candidates and in reducing worker turnover.

To learn more about how FlexiCorps can help you improve your light industrial staffing practices, contact us at 630-485-4401.

FlexiCorps is one of the premier staffing firms in the Chicago suburbs, Tampa Bay, Detroit & Dallas, specializing in direct hire and long-term-temporary assignments that can turn into direct hires.

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