Author Topic: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?  (Read 3332 times)

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oceanus

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2013, 03:59:55 PM »
After I started the thread I thought about a friend of mine who works for a small company with very low turnover.  The pay and benefits are good, but he said everyone genuinely likes and respects each other.   The people all have unique skill sets which are hard to find due to the nature of the industry.  Also, the company is located in a very picturesque (almost fairy tale) suburb.  Most of the staff lives there and several walk or bike to work.

demarco

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2013, 05:11:14 PM »
When I was interviewing for my first job out of graduate school I interviewed at a place where most of the professional staff had been there forever.  I naively assumed it was because they liked the place and said as much to the boss. His response was that no, they didn't like the place but they were trapped, mainly by family circumstances. 

I was offered a job there and, idiot that I was, I accepted it.  I turned out he was right.  They were stuck and soon so was I. 


Giggity

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2013, 07:27:19 PM »
What do they say when you ask them?
Words mean things.

oceanus

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2013, 07:29:10 PM »
What do they say when you ask them?

I asked a couple people and they simply said they really like their jobs and it's a good company to work for.

Giggity

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2013, 07:34:23 PM »
There you are, then! They are lucky folk.
Words mean things.

oceanus

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2013, 08:40:29 PM »
Well, they didn't go into detail (it was just quick casual conversation).  I felt there was more to it, and also wanted to get opinions from others who might know of similar  (low/no turnover) work environments.

I've always felt high turnover (even if the salaries are high) masks internal problems which are often not discernible during an interview.  At least that's been my experience and I've also heard stories from other people.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 08:42:44 PM by oceanus »

mbbored

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2013, 11:46:49 PM »
My job before going back to school was at a place where most employees had been there 20+ years. The pay was ok, but the benefits were great and the management treated their employees as prized assets. Breaks, lunches, sick leave and vacation were treated as sacred and overtime was generous but was almost always optional. Gossip wasn't tolerated, neither was sexism, which is prominent in a lot of labs in that particular field.

TootsNYC

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2013, 01:26:49 AM »
My intro-to-management class taught me that the No. 1 motivator for people is when they feel that the work they do is important.

When they feel that they influence what the company does and whether it succeeds. Ditto their workgroup.

I've also heard the truism that generally people don't quit jobs; they quit bosses.

cicero

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2013, 06:54:33 AM »
Well, they didn't go into detail (it was just quick casual conversation).  I felt there was more to it, and also wanted to get opinions from others who might know of similar  (low/no turnover) work environments.

I've always felt high turnover (even if the salaries are high) masks internal problems which are often not discernible during an interview.  At least that's been my experience and I've also heard stories from other people.
that's actually not always true, and for sure the opposite (low turnover reflects a wonderful work place) is not always true either.

High turnover can be coincidental, or it can mean that this is a great place to work but little room for promotion. and low turnover can reflect a bad financial climate (in general), an industry with low employment opportunities, or a *bad* place that has other qualities (e.g., telecommunicating which is good for parents of young children, or a good medical plan that someone cannot give up).

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snowflake

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2013, 11:57:59 AM »
I think the most important thing is treating people humanely.  By that I mean keeping in mind that they are living breathing and autonomous beings and understanding that yes, they are there for the paycheck.

The worst place I worked for (average staying time was about 2 months, no joke) was run by a mad woman who had no concept of that. She had learned in business school that the most important thing was that people feel valued and stable.  So she would say: "We value you so much!  What would we ever do without you?  You are doing such a good job!"

BUT she'd throw a fit if it was suggested that maybe they shouldn't pay half of market rate.  Meetings and what she thought of as "fun" projects were unpaid (because we weren't really working.)  She would fire people after lots of positive feedback.  Now I won't lie - the people she fired were not that great, but I thought it was just awful to fire them after telling them how wonderful they were for a month and not actually saying, "I need you to do X instead."  (Not to mention the fact that she had to hire people with very poor references to even keep the place partially staffed.)

So in other words her actions pretty much said, "You aren't worth our money, and I might axe you tomorrow for whatever reason.  So people quit in droves.  The company was actually doing pretty poorly because of that.  She upped the talk and never walked the walk.  Just as an example - the billing clerk made about 40% of what he could get elsewhere and had an insane amount of work.  So the position was filled about 6 months out of the year by accounting students whose other option was to work at McDonalds for the same amount.  Once the students had it on their resume they would get a better job making twice as much with better hours and quit.  It would take forever to find another clerk who would work for low pay.  Oh, and hiring billing clerks who have only worked at McDonalds?  They were never as aggressive as they should have been on outstanding accounts.  It never occurred to her that by being too cheap to pay a couple of thousand for a real billing clerk, she was forgoing hundreds of thousands every month from clients who had no one making them pay up. Seriously, the outstanding A/R was in the seven figures.

Instead The Boss just kept reading books about how to make people feel "valued" and paid the lip service.  I don't think she ever stopped to say, "Well what would a human actually need in life."

Cami

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2013, 12:38:23 PM »
Based upon my experience, low turn over is due to several factors:

1. Good pay/benefits
2. Feeling valued/being treated with dignity
and to a lesser degree:
3. Feeling part of a team in which you have what you think are real relationships with coworkers/bosses/clients.

I recently saw a place go from low turnover to high turnover because TPTB didn't understand why people took and/or stayed at their jobs. The jobs were often difficult and frustrating and TPTB actively discouraged friendships amongst staff. There had been no raises for over 5 years, but people generally did feel that they were doing valuable work. Even without the raises, they were paid pretty well and had great benefits --really awesome benefits. The average length of tenure was 20 years for full-timers and 10 years for part-timers.

A new boss came to town and decided to win points with the big bosses by cutting costs. He summarily cut the benefits, forcing people to contribute huge amounts towards health insurance -- which employees MUST take. The average ful-time employee ended up losing nearly 10% of their take home pay to these new "employee contributions." The average part-time employee was no longer eligible for these benefits at all.  In addition, people felt their years of hard work under difficult and frustrating conditions and accepting no raises were being ignored and unrewarded. They felt that the boss' attitude was, "Peons, be glad you have a job. Now come here and kiss my ring."

Result: ALL of the part-timers quit within 6 months. 75% of the full-timers have quit. They have been unsuccessful in recruiting replacements who stay longer than 3 months.

But the bottom line looks great! So all is wonderfullllllll.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 12:40:39 PM by Cami »

cheyne

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2013, 02:42:25 PM »
The "career sins" people are let go without fanfare before they can ruin the workplace.  Gossip, slacking, habitual tardiness, etc... aren't tolerated in these type of workplaces and the staff know it.  How better to make people feel valued and appreciated than to not force them to work with someone who is not doing their job? 


Cat-Fu

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2013, 03:10:34 PM »
Personally, I don't see low turnover as a good thing. To me, that signals that a company is willing to hold on to dead weight in order to avoid the uncomfortable situation of firing. (Or, perhaps, that management is unwilling to admit that they make hiring mistakes.)

That said, I think a desirable workplace is one with clear goals & standards for employees, with honest, compassionate management that rewards innovation and results.
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pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2013, 04:23:55 PM »
I once worked for a wonderful woman.  She gave us a lot of respect, both in her office with the door shut, and in front of the company in general.  She worked hard, and was positive and upbeat.  To this day, I try to emulate her style, because we loved her and worked ourselves hard to match her example.
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sevenday

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Re: Low (or no) turnover - what's their secret?
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2013, 04:29:29 PM »
NO turnover can be a bad thing, as Cat-fu said, but low? Low is fine.  I view it as a sign that the system is working.  Perhaps not 100%, but working.  People leave for all kinds of reasons.  Moving, retiring, career change, what-have-you.  Low turnover doesn't mean that the company doesn't get rid of the bad eggs.  Maybe they're very good at recruiting/training/molding people into career workers as well.  I only get suspicious when I see very low numbers over a long period of time.