Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

…and yet it seems we’re doing it with greater and greater frequency these days. According to the Department of Labor statistics the average tenure for an employee is just one and a half years – one and a half years! I hear a stat like that and I think of the tremendous cost that creates for businesses. Turnover is expensive, very expensive. Think lost efficiency, recruitment, training…repeat.

So how can you prevent employee turnover? Well, for starters you can’t, unless you are a superhero and are master of the universe. But you can control the things that you, well, can control. First who is your employee, or rather what type of person works for you? Young, old, white collar, blue collar, doesn’t matter, turnover is still expensive. Give some thought to what that person (or group of people) is looking for, after all they are spending more time with you each week than they are with their families.

Yes, employees come to work so that they can collect a paycheck, but its way more than that. Do your employees want to be safe on the job? Well, make sure you address any safety issues. Do they want newer equipment to use? I know a company whose truck drivers stay long term because the company has newer trucks. Do they want to be heard? Ask them for their input and don’t be surprised when they give it (and be prepared to implement it).

Most of all though I think employees want to know what the plan is, what the vision for the company is. They want to know that there is a spot for them in whatever lies ahead if they want it. I remember playing little league, on my team was a kid who (how do I say this charitably?) was not headed for the major leagues. He was, however, very supportive and enthusiastic about the team. Looking back I can see that part of that was just in his nature, but part of it too was that the coach routinely had us huddle up before, during, and after practices and games to tell us what the plan was, what to watch for, how to adjust, and then recapped what worked and what didn’t. That coach worked us hard, but we responded – even won the league championship that year.

At Morrison we’re not perfect, but we do try and share the vision of the future with our team. We meet first thing each Monday to talk about the projects that are going on, what is in the pipeline, and what we see as opportunities for the future. Oh sure there is administrative and housekeeping items in there too, but the point is that we give everyone an opportunity to shape the future of the place where they spend most of their days.

Do we have “behind closed doors” conversations as well? Sure, but I can tell you those conversations usually end with someone saying “Let’s bring it up for next Monday and see what the group thinks”.

Why do we do this? Because I don’t want to have the ‘break-up talk’, for one, two I like who I work with, seriously (ok, Toni Scott, I tolerate you), and three it would be expensive, and finally it’s just not fun.

About the Author

+Geoff Chinnock is a principal with Morrison, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim executive CFO services, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Geoff directly at gchinnock@morrisonco.net or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 204.

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