Why Employees Leave (Part 2 of 3): How can businesses maintain low employee turnover?

Why do people leave organizations they work for? Is it because of the pay? The perks—or lack of? Is it because of the culture? Or could it even be because of the business owners themselves?  In this 3 part series, I will explore with you

  • the common factors that cause high employee turnover,
  • the strategies you can use to counter these factors, and finally,
  • focus on how to deal with a factor common to many rapidly growing small businesses: heavy workload.

The first video of the series discussed the following three factors that cause high employee turnover:

  1. No clear track for career development or growth
  2. Toxic company culture
  3. Demanding work schedules

In this second of this three-part series, I will discuss what strategies that small business owners can employ to counter the common causes of high employee turnover.

Strategy 1: Establish mentoring programs.

Several studies have shown that mentoring programs improve productivity. Mentoring does not only teach processes but also involves the transfer of knowledge. It also helps mentees understand career track through the sharing of experience by mentors.

Let’s take the example of Sun Microsystems, a technology company based in California. The company rolled out a mentoring program that paired off employees within the organization. They also studied the effects of mentoring within the organisation in a five-year period. The study concluded that

Mentoring has a positive impact on mentors and mentees, producing employees that are more highly valued by the business.”

In fact, they found that:

  • Mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the program;
  • Mentees were promoted five times more often than those not in the program; and
  • Retention rates were much higher for mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) than for employees who did not participate in the mentoring program (49%).

For small businesses, where regular training can be expensive, mentoring may be a good solution to address career development needs of employees.

Strategy 2: Recognise exceptional work/employees.

A nurturing company culture also means taking care of everyone and making them feel part of the team for the right reasons. Favouritism, on the other hand, negatively impacts morale.

One of the strategies you can employ is to consistently applaud merit and discipline infractions. If you can’t afford financial or even material rewards, verbal recognition can go a long way, particularly to employees who work hard and significantly contribute to the team. Conversely, treat all infractions fairly and equally.  If one is punished for coming to the office late all the time, then everyone who comes in late must be reprimanded, too.

Strategy 3: Have clear processes.

Isn’t it easier to work on a task when you are given clear instructions on what to do? Knowing what to do becomes especially important when task issues arise and things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to. This is why work manuals exist—so that everyone understands what they are supposed to do.

In small businesses, one employee can have overlapping roles and responsibilities. This can result in demanding workloads. You can help employees with their tasks by making sure that your operations run established and well-documented processes. Keeping communication lines open also helps—employees feel more secure when they know they can depend on someone for assistance or guidance.

But what if clear processes aren’t enough to counter a heavy workload? What else can small businesses do? In the next video, the last of the series, I discuss what small business owners can do to handle and deal with heavy workloads.

If you are interested to know more about what a business has to go through when facing exponential growth, you can download the first chapter of the book, ”$20K to $20 Million in 2 Years” absolutely free here. The chapter talks about the differences between a good and a great business and puts out questions that make you consider how you can turn your business from good to great.



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