Unsung Causes of Employee Turnover

Unsung Causes of Employee Turnover
by Corey McCaster | October 9, 2019

In the current marketplace, business owners are struggling to find good, valuable and loyal employees. When they do find one, they may find it hard to retain them and may not realize why.

In this climate, it takes more than wages and benefits to incentivize employees to stay. Employees need training. They need to know that their voices are being heard. Now more than ever, they need to know that they are valued by the company they work for.

Though many reasons encourage employees to leave, here are three that tend to be overlooked, but are very preventable.

Lack of Proper Training

Employees tend to experience a process of frustration when a company does not provide training when they are hired. Of course, if they have previous experience in the field, they try to figure things out as they go. However, not all companies and expectations are created equal. So they do the best they can. Oftentimes there comes a point where they become frustrated because they’re being held accountable for something that they may not know how to do, or when they make a mistake, they may not know how to correct it. And if there is no plan or process in place, they may continue to do tasks incorrectly.

It can be an ongoing process of frustration and they assume they will never get it right. Ultimately it leads to people walking away from the job or moving on to do something else. It may not even be the employee that is doing it the wrong way. An employee not doing their job correctly, also impacts their co-workers.

Other employees are not only responsible for their position, but also correcting and picking up the slack of the untrained employees. Not to mention if there is a high turnover for the same position, those employees are left picking up the slack and doing the work of two employees. This is frustrating and will eventually lead to them leaving as well. So now not only are you going through a revolving door of untrained employees, but you are also losing valuable, hardworking employees.

Implementing a thorough training program in the beginning allows an employee to understand what is expected of them, understand how to get back on track if they fall off track, and know who to communicate problems with. Training should not only cover roles and duties, but also the quality of work that is expected in that position.

Employees Unable to Evaluate Performance of Supervisor

Most business owners understand the importance of evaluating all employees annually. However, they may not realize the importance of employees evaluating their co-workers and their supervisors’ performance. Providing an outlet for employees to speak freely and anonymously will allow business owners to improve on areas they may not know are issues.

Jack Welch, former CEO of GE and author of the book, “Straight from the Gut,” once told the story of an employee who was with the company for 30 years. At the employee’s retirement party, Welch was having a conversation with him and asked what can GE improved on. The employee went on and on about all of the bad situations he found himself in over the years and how the company could improve. Welch was surprised and asked him why he didn’t say anything sooner, and the employee responded with a simple, “You never asked.”

Most employees are conditioned to come to work, keep their heads down, and do the job to the best of their abilities. Though they may run into snags, they may not want to bring up issues because they don’t want to be seen as a complainer for fear there may be repercussions for them speaking up.

Providing an avenue for employees to do a thorough, anonymous evaluation of the company, coworkers, and supervisors helps alleviate the frustration of not being heard. Working with many types of small businesses, I have seen companies that implement these types of evaluations. There is a sense that there’s a family dynamic give and take of information. In these businesses, employees stick around for 20 or 30 years.

However, I have seen the opposite as well. I have noticed a higher turnover in companies that do not exhibit an open-door policy or a lack of communication. If these business owners would just open it up, and take a thorough look into the company, they will be able to fix any dormant issues before they lose valuable employees.

Unmanaged Workloads

There was a point in time that every employee was a specialist in one particular thing. They understood that one thing and they did it well. However, in this modern era, more employees are expected to be a jack-of-all-trades.

There are many upsides to this new expectation. For one, there is less down-time for employees to slack off, which saves the company money. However, there are a few downsides.

In today’s climate, there may be managers who have essentially become taskmasters. They tend to push tasks out, but may rarely monitor what the employee’s workload capacity is. This may lead to an employee becoming overworked and not able to take on yet another task.

We are all humans. We are not robots and there is a limit in terms of what an individual can produce. Of course, as a good worker, they will tend to say, “Okay boss,” however, at the end of the day, it’s an unrealistic ask. A good leader would understand and try to figure out what the employee’s capacity is and make provisions for it.

Just being able to understand and communicate value to the employee by saying, “I understand your workload. I understand you’re at capacity and we’re looking into getting you more help,” will go a long way in retaining employees.

A business’s longevity is directly related to how well business owners take care of people that work for them. Those businesses that have been around a long time tend to treat their employees in a more humanistic kind of way and tend to express that they are valued, that they’re part of a team or part of a family; that they are doing what they can to avoid turnover. Working on these unsung elements of turnover will go a long way in helping a company become one of those long-term companies that sticks around for generations, and whose employees stick by them as well.

  • Corey McCaster

    Florida SBDC at USF, Hillsborough County

    Specialty: Business Planning, Financial Analysis, Marketing and Sales, Loan Packaging, Strategic Planning

    Corey McCaster brings more than 20 years of experience to the Tampa Bay small business community. McCaster specializes in small business accounting and finance, quality improvement and strategic business planning. His experience while “in the trenches” managing his own small businesses, and serving in Tallahassee at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, allows him to deliver a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge to clients. McCaster is charged with helping small to medium sized existing businesses find new market opportunities, hidden profits and innovative ways to create sustainable growth, which includes hiring the right employees. His background in workforce development assists him in guiding business owners in attracting and retaining top talent. McCaster is a University of South Florida business school graduate and holds certifications in both project management and workforce development.

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