Understanding Employee Turnover – It Could Be an Opportunity

Understanding Employee Turnover – It Could Be an Opportunity

Once upon a time people entering the workforce and beginning their career with a company looked forward to getting that commemorative wristwatch after twenty-five years on the job, or to rising through the ranks and retiring with years of loyal service to look back on. As we move deeper into the twenty-first century and away from that Wonder Years era it’s becoming ever more clear that those days are long gone. Rather than look on the current state of elevated employee turnover as a sickness in need of a cure, it’s in the interest of companies and managers to realize the potential benefits inherent in the constant churn of workers in and out of an organization.

Navigating the ins and outs of employee turnover with care and purpose can create opportunity for you to regroup, reassess, and replenish your team and move forward poised more purposefully for success.

Embracing the New Normal

Consistent low-level turnover is not an anomaly. In a healthy economy with low unemployment, job opportunities exist across the spectrum and expecting everyone to be perfectly happy and content staying in your organization is counterintuitive. When economic conditions keep people from moving on to other jobs or opportunities it can conceal deeper problems within your own organization that otherwise might be neither noticed nor addressed.

Today’s small business environment is centered around fast-paced growth, seizing opportunity, and attracting creative and innovative employees. Those very employees, by nature, tend to be high energy and not easily satisfied. They constantly seek the next challenge or the next project to tackle which may lead them elsewhere. Just as you have found great employees before just as they found you, more will come along, and with them new, applicable experience.

Find Opportunity in the Unpredictable

The circumstances around how, when, and why your business will grow can be unpredictable. Success and opportunity come in fits and starts and this is reflected in your employees. Turnover can be a chance to reenergize your team and foster the type of environment that will lead to those times of advancement. New blood helps broaden perspective and adds life to your workplace. When people move on and out, bringing on new employees generates a sense of constant opportunity and creates positive motivation for those who remain when the cycle of hiring is seen in a positive light. That very opportunity may be found in doing away with costly poor performers or employees simply looking to punch in and then punch out again for the paycheck and in doing so sap the life out of the rest of your team.

Systematic renewal is a part of life in general just as it is a part of doing business effectively.

Boost Performance, Eliminate Complacency

Standing water festers. A fresh source of new ideas and people coupled with the reality of workers on the way out keeps your employees and the ideas and work they generate from stagnating. An influx of new talent encourages others to perform at a higher level rather than resting on their laurels or last quarter’s numbers. As tough as it may feel from a management perspective, turning over underperformers can go a long way in increasing innovation and avoiding the aversion to risk taking that may permeate the work environment. Seeing the value in rising to the challenge, and the consequences of not meeting them, can instill a drive in your employees that will help you avoid the sentimental tendencies that sink many up and coming outfits.

Sewing Your Outfit’s Wild Oats

A last, oft overlooked positive to the timeless cycle of employee replacement is simply getting people who’ve worked for you out into the world. As is frequently said in the hyper-connected age of business nowadays, it’s not what you know but who you know. Getting your company’s message out there isn’t necessarily limited to the amount of ads you take out in the local papers or the word of mouth you hope to spread from one happy customer to the next; it’s tied to the message you instill in your employees and that same message that they bring with them when they move on to another organization. When your former employees are asked who should take on this next contract or who they should look to for an order or consulting gig or printing job, it’s not a far shot to imagine they’ll bring up your business with a word or two in your favor. The difference truly is made in the connections and networks you’ve cultivated and having former employees out in the great wide open with fond memories of their time under your leadership can be invaluable.

Work With What You Have For What It’s Worth 

People come and people go. As cliché as it sounds, there is value in the realization that there is opportunity to be had in the churn of your everyday employment. Don’t be afraid of losing the talent you’ve come to rely on. From whence it came, it shall come again. The changing of the guard has never heralded the falling of the guard and in that same vein the turnover of your employees will bring new changes and new challenges. It will surely create new opportunities to seize upon. See change for what it is and act accordingly. Your business may not depend on it now, but it will thrive on it later.

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About author

Philip Barry
Philip Barry 20 posts

Philip Barry is a featured contributor to AgeOfTheSmallBusiness.com. After graduating from Fairfield University with a B.A. in French and International Studies he lived in Bordeaux, France for four years before serving with the U.S. Peace Corps in Ethiopia.

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