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HUMAN RESOURCES

5 Reasons Turnover Should Scare You

Not worried about losing your best employees? You should be.

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The economy is still pretty lousy. Unemployment is still high. You have no concerns that your employees will leave you. And if they do happen to leave, it will be no problem whatsoever to replace them.

That seems to be the consensus according to a new survey by the American Management Association. They surveyed nearly 1,000 companies and discovered that most aren't concerned about losing their employees. Here's what they found:

Many employees have expressed their intention to seek a new position. How do you regard such sentiments?

69 percent: It's nothing new for employees to keep an eye out for new opportunities, and I don't regard the present situation as something unusual.  

24 percent: This is a growing mind-set among our employees, and I expect many to seek a new job as soon as they're able. 

7 percent: This has become a prevalent attitude among our employees and an urgent issue our organization needs to address. 

In your opinion, how urgent does your senior management regard the potential or actual turnover situation?

9 percent: Very urgent

30 percent: Somewhat urgent

39 percent: Not so urgent

22 percent: Not at all urgent

The problem is, if you ignore the turnover situation, it will become urgent, and then you will be severely limited in who you can hire. Here are five reasons turnover should scare you and you should be thinking about it.

Talent shortages are real. This seems so counter-intuitive. We know that unemployment is sky high, so doesn't that mean that there are people lined up around the block ready to take whatever job you have to offer? Well, for some jobs, sure. But not for all. The skills that it takes to work in a small business, where employees have to wear many different hats are not often readily available, regardless of the unemployment rate.

If you don't have time to train and develop now, what makes you think you will in the future? The most technically qualified person isn't always the best person for the job. Often, cultural fit and ability to learn new things are more important. But, those people take time to train and develop. If you're not focused on developing and growing your current staff when you are fully staffed, you won't have time to do it when someone quits. You need back-ups.

A bad economy means only the best will find new jobs. When unemployment is high, there is actually a pretty competitive market for the best talent. When your margins are slim, you can only afford to have the best people on staff. The same is true for your competitors. If you're not working hard to make your employees happy, your best ones will find new jobs and leave.

Unhappy employees don't perform as well. You may think everything is just fine because there is nothing better out there for your employees. This may be absolutely true, depending on your industry and location. However, you want your employees to be engaged and high performing. If you are treating them poorly, they'll perform poorly.

The best way to find strong candidates is through networking. When you do need to hire, you'll start by asking your current employees for referrals. They will only give you quality candidates if they feel it's a great place to work. They don't want to be responsible for luring people away from their current jobs to come work under a boss who neglects the staff. You want good candidates in the future? Make sure your current employees are happy.

Not all turnover is bad. In fact, you don't want people to be too complacent. (It's a balance!) New ideas are critical to the success of any company. However, if you ignore the very real possibility that your best employees are looking to leave, you may be very unhappy in the future.

Last updated: Mar 22, 2013

SUZANNE LUCAS spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.
@RealEvilHRLady




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