I wrote an article entitled “Is Staff Turnover Keeping you Poor…Costs and Affordable Solutions”. The article identified eight simple tips to reduce turnover and related expenses. The tips detailed:
1. Involving staff in turnover reduction planning
2. Evaluating your hiring process
3. Addressing communication issues
4. Recognition and praise
5. Staff training and development
6. Positive relations among staff
7. Starting the campaign with successful actions
8. Tracking actions

Business and human service leaders everywhere understand the importance of reducing turnover. Clearly, turnover is an expense as well as a threat to the maintenance of quality products and services. Can we manage this problem or is it just part of the cost of doing business? Unfortunately there is very little data to substantiate what works. But experience and employee surveys tell much about the roots of job dissatisfaction. Staff retention is related to two factors:

 Wages at market rate or above.·
 Employers who treat their employees
· very well!

This article examines organizational operations in seven areas. In each area we will identify practices that speak to hiring and retaining qualified and dedicated staff. How many of these practices does your organization have in place?

1. Hiring Process
 A marketing oriented statement spelling out why a
· candidate would want to work for you.
 A hiring process that eliminates
· bottlenecks or proceeds so slow that candidates are lost.
 Clear
· descriptions of the requirements of your ideal candidate.
 Don’t “settle” by
· hiring someone who doesn’t really meet your needs, just to get the position filled.
 Look for candidates with flexibility; today’s job requirements may
· change.
 Encourage in-house referrals; you will get them if your employees
· like working for you.
 Have candidates observe the work environment…to see
· what is working and what isn’t.
 Give candidates the opportunity to interact
· with current staff and consumers of service.

2. Supervision
 Hold high performance standards with a low tolerance for
· inadequate performance; stress continuous improvement.
 Each employee should
· regularly receive at least one hour of private supervision.
 The results of
· supervisory conferences should be recapped while together. Any assignments and progress against goals and objectives should be identified and memorialized.
 Provide specialized training and development for
· supervisors.
 Ensure that supervisors carry out their role in a professional
· manner.

Supervisors should:
o Follow-up on commitments made to supervisees
o Give supervisees honest, constructive feedback about their performance.
o Ensure confidentiality of the supervisory relationship
o Take responsibility for their own errors in judgment or behavior.

3. Respect for Staff
 Listen and respond to staff suggestions; don’t just
· tell staff what to do.
 When developing new operational procedures give
· special weight to staff that will be heavily impacted by the change.

4. Staff Training and Development
 Invest in the development and training
· of staff.
 The development plan for each employee should consider what each
· staff person wants to achieve personally.

5. Diversity
 Make sure your employees reflect the demographics of the
· community you serve.
 Recognize that diversity involves more than race,
· culture and gender factors.
 Use a professional measure to identify employee
· styles and temperaments.
 Celebrate diversity and use it to strengthen the
· organization.
 Help staff to understand that true cooperation and team work
· results when issues can be openly discussed and not seen as personal attacks.

6. Communication
 Regularly survey staff to find out what they are
· thinking about the organization…positive and negative.
 Follow-up on
· employee suggestions so that employees know their input is valued and used.
· Hold exit interviews with all departing employees and regularly review the data that comes from these interviews.
 Hold staying interviews to discover
· issues before turnover ramps up.
 Gather employee input anonymously through
· surveys, focus groups, suggestion boxes.
 Use technology to keep staff
· updated on organizational events and concerns.

7. Hardware and Equipment
 Is your facility clean, safe, attractive and
· well-maintained?
 Do all the toilets work properly?
·
 Do vehicles operate
· properly and safely?

What would your score look like? Review the seven areas with other concerned staff. Pick out the areas where your retention program can be strengthened. Set a few goals for the year.

The alternative to implementing a measurable and effective staff retention program is to roll along, accepting turnover as a (rising) cost of doing business. The “do-nothing” strategy results in:
 Employees leaving and
· taking their knowledge with them…maybe to a competitor.
 Diminished
· workforce competency and lower client satisfaction scores.
 Lower service
· levels and lost revenue.
 A drop in employee morale resulting overburdening
· remaining employees with additional duties.
 Increased costs for recruitment
· and training. Is there really a choice?

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