When this employee retention speaker and employee retention author looks at an organization’s turnover, I like to break down the data. I don’t just like to look at the overall turnover. I like to look at the turnover by department, by shift, by the leaders involved etc. This avoids having problem areas camouflaged by areas that are doing well. To this employee retention trainer, this is pretty simple and logical stuff. So why don’t organization do it? Usually, it’s because it’s a bit more work for someone! If you are on the senior leadership team you need to demand that this be done. Otherwise, you may be missing a key area for improvement.
I have seen breaking the data down work very well as a good first step to improving employee retention. When department heads, shift superintendents and other leaders know that they can’t “hide” behind the numbers there is often more effort put into dealing with a turnover issue. It’s no different than a quality issue or a productivity issue. In those cases, we try to pinpoint as closely as possible where the problem is, so we can take corrective action. When we know where the problem is, we can begin to address it.
Not only should you use the data to drive action, you should make sure that the supervisors, department leaders etc. all know that you are looking at the numbers. When this is the case, those same supervisors and department leaders will tend to pay a lot more attention to their turnover because they know someone is watching. This is NOT micromanaging, it’s using data make better managerial decision. Employee retention has gotten to be such a huge issue that you need to be watching it. It’s a key metric. It’s probably the most important metric there is because if you can’t staff your operation fully, quality and productivity don’t matter!
Lastly, if you are going to hold people accountable, add in the financial element. Make your leaders responsible for their employee retention as part of their bonus plan. If you pay bonuses on productivity, quality, safety etc.; why not on employee retention? As soon as people know their bonus depends on it, they will sit up, take notice and act accordingly.
By attacking employee retention using data, you can pinpoint problem areas, focus attention and drive action that will solve the problem. The key is to use data as part of your problem-solving process. So, if you can’t figure out where your employee turnover is, all you have to do is break down the data!