Creating a Low-Turnover Culture
Friday November 24th, 2017
Sick of high turnover? You should be; the potential costs of losing and replacing an employee are enormous.
There isn’t one cure-all panacea to fix turnover, and this article won’t be prescribing any such turnover miracle medicine. However, PerkNow believes that issues with a company’s culture is one of the biggest determining factor in any employee’s decision to leave. Here are some basic tips on improving your company culture; rate yourself against them and come up with an action plan for change. It’s not easy to immediately overcome the root causes of high turnover, but we promise that these principles are a great start!
You Try to Create a Personal, Powerful Experience for Your Customers; Start Doing That With Your Employees!
We live in an age of “customer happiness” rather than “customer service”. Companies win loyalty and multiple repeat purchases when they make personal, powerful connections with customers, even if those connections cost more to create than typical “customer service”. It’s a simple but powerful principle: why spend money on marketing to new customers if I can, by offering truly remarkable service, get repeat purchases from my existing customers?
Newsflash: the same principles of establishing personal connections apply to your employees! You have a choice in how you approach employee perks, benefits, and work environment: are you going to scrimp and save every penny possible, or are you going to fork out a little extra time, effort, and money to create a one-of-a-kind, powerful personal connection with each employee?
The decision to pay more for a robust perk suite will cost you some money. However, when implemented correctly, it becomes an investment with a perpetually increasing ROI.
Either Buy Into Perks & Generosity or Don’t; You Can’t Be On the Fence
You may be looking closer into the advantages of perks. However, you may still be feeling skeptical about the decision that you made. You may feel tentative about trusting employees to not abuse the perks, or feel dubious about the bottom-line improvements that such perks can make.
It’s fine to feel skeptical! However, a word of warning: when it comes to providing generous employee perks, you’re either in or out. Skepticism about offering perks is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if they detect even the faintest whiff of corporate consternation over their redeeming of perks, they won’t use said perks. Even worse, they might begin to resent the company; it feels disingenuous to be offered perks but subtly encouraged not to use them.
One of our founders worked at a company that decided to get onboard the “generous, empowering culture” train. The company decided to begin subsidizing 80% of lunches that employees take with other employees, reasoning that any money spent encouraging employees to spend time together would lead to more positive cross-pollination between departments and thus more innovation.
That idea has merit! However, within a week, the company began to fully grasp the costs. The subsidy dropped to 40%, then to 25%. Managers would reject subsidy requests on small technicalities. Soon, employees began to realize that the company was sending mixed messages: they were offered a subsidy, but it was obvious that the company didn’t want them to make use of it. Employees stopped taking subsidized lunches, which saved the company some money. However, the entire experience left a sour taste in employees’ mouths; the company would have been better off not offering anything to begin with than to offer something and quickly take it away. When it comes to perks, you’re either a believer or a skeptic. Don’t be caught waffling; no one will win that way!
Your Employees Live Up to Your Positive (or Negative!) Expectations
Douglas McGregor, one of the founders of management theory, describes two assumptions managers can make about their employees:
Theory X: Workers are lazy, dishonest, and work only as a means to fulfill their most basic physiological needs.
Theory Y: Individuals work out of a sincere, innate desire to succeed, prosper, and create. Work is the only avenue by which people can satisfy their need for self-respect and success.
Theory X gives you, as a manager, an easy out; when turnover occurs, you can say “not my fault, they didn’t want to work”, “they just didn’t have what it takes”, or “it just wasn’t the right fit”. Do those excuses sound familiar? If so, we implore you to change how you think! Try to mix in more of Theory Y: as McGregor says, Theory Y challenges management “to innovate, to discover new ways of organizing and directing human effort, even though we recognize that the perfect organization… is practically out of reach”.
You aren’t always culpable for all employee turnover; employees will always leave, no matter how pristine and empowering your company culture is. However, remember that employees will live up to your expectations. If you treat them like their work isn’t deserving of your trust and generosity, they’ll work as if they don’t deserve your trust or generosity. However, if you give them the benefit of the doubt and invest generously in their work experience, you can reap great dividends!