<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=353110511707231&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

5 Ways to Reduce Turnover in Jobs With Notoriously High Turnover

June 9, 2016

job_turnover.jpgCertain positions across a variety of industries tend to be notorious for high turnover, resulting in a revolving door of employees. The impact that this has on the business can be steep, including frustrated managers and coworkers, poor customer service, and lost productivity – all things that affect a company’s bottom line. Chances are you’ve held a job, at some point, that you considered to be undesirable for one reason or another, and made the decision that it wasn’t worth the aggravation and moved on to greener pastures.

Historically, some positions with the highest industry turnover include:

  • Retail

  • Restaurant

  • Nursing/Personal Care

  • Child Care

  • Customer Service

  • Telemarketing

  • Hospitality

  • Unskilled Laborers

Unfortunately, many of these positions are high-touch positions in that individuals in these roles have a high degree of direct customer contact. Poor service, bad attitudes, or incompetence in these positions can have a widespread effect on an organization’s lifeblood – its customer base. 

While there is no “magic bullet” that will solve all of an organization’s high turnover issues, there are some things that can be done to help hire those individuals who are more likely to stay in the position longer.

1) Identify the minimum requirements needed to do the job

Although at times, especially when you are working short staffed, it may be tempting to hire any breathing body, you must at least assess the minimum requirements for a job. Identifying the bare-bones requirements needed to do the job will, at the very least, ensure that those coming into the position are available for the hours needed (including overtime if applicable), possess a high school diploma (if required to perform successfully in the role), and are the minimum age required to do the job.

2) Recruit in target areas/offer incentive programs for employee referrals

Research and know your demographic applicant pool and where to find them. What type of recruiting has yielded the best employees – social media, job fairs, jobs posted at the place of employment, print, billboard, radio, etc.? Make note of what has worked. Perhaps one of the best means of sourcing candidates for any position is the referral of a current employee. They know the job, the work environment, and have likely already described it in detail – the good, the bad, and the ugly, to the prospective employee. Offering some type of incentive or bonus program for employee referrals who stay is a great way to engage and leverage current employees to help recruit for you.

3) Invest in a Realistic Job Preview (RJP) Video

Building on the point above of sharing the “good, the bad, and the ugly,” with prospective employees, another way to accomplish this is to create an effective RJP video. You can shoot the video in-house and interview current employees to share some insights about the position, show someone actually performing the tasks involved, and what those interested in the job can really expect. Videos of this kind can be very influential in gaining buy-in for the job or helping those who may be on the fence, to deselect themselves from consideration before they get hired and end up not being a good fit.

4) Implement pre-employment testing

Pre-employment testing has often been viewed as too expensive of an investment for employers that have a need to hire for positions with very high turnover rates. However, NOT investing in pre-employment testing will lead to much higher costs in the long run. When an employee turns over, employers risk the loss of time, loss of productivity, and cost of training, among other things.

A pre-employment test can help you determine if a potential employee already has the necessary skills and qualifications needed for the job. Once you’ve determined that the candidate has those skills, it can help you cut down on the training and time invested in getting them ramped up. New hires may even add more value by being able to jump into performing the actual job with less upfront time and training required.

A thorough job analysis will identify what knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) are required to perform the job; once those have been identified, an appropriate selection system can be built around them. Again, the emphasis should be on what the minimum KSAs include, not what’s on an employer’s wish list. Work to manage expectations of the management team as well. For example, if the pre-employment test implemented includes a measure of cognitive ability, which has been linked as the best predictor of on the job performance, just because a candidate scores very high in this area does not mean that they will always be the best candidate for the job.

A candidate with a college degree applying for an entry-level retail job to “get by” until something better comes along, is likely to score higher in a measure of cognitive ability than someone with a high school diploma, but from a job fit perspective, the college grad may be gone and turnover in that position much sooner. Also, whatever pre-employment test is implemented should be closely monitored for any signs of adverse impact.

Consistently applied with a valid and legally defensible screening criteria, the value-add of a simple, and even relatively short test, can make a difference in turnover. It’s important to note that assessments can have a positive impact in reducing turnover, but they shouldn’t be looked to as a “silver bullet” when it comes to turnover. A thorough turnover analysis can pinpoint the causes of turnover within your organization and strategies can be recommended to best address the root of turnover.

5) Focus on what you can change

Oftentimes, many people take the position that “turnover is inevitable given the nature of this specific job.” While that may be true at times, stay focused on what you can change. For example, employees may leave a great paying job if their boss is difficult or overly demanding, demeaning, etc. Do a formal assessment of your management team, make sure that you are providing them with the feedback and tools they need to weather the ups and downs of turnover and how to cope with the stresses of the job.

Identify any potential aspects of the work environment that can be altered to make it more comfortable or appealing. Create an employee reward or incentive program (i.e., employee perks or discounts, shift differential pay for working non-traditional hours). Recognize and reward employees for their accomplishments – feeling valued and appreciated can go a long way and may be something that your competitors don’t do.

While turnover of some degree will always be present, thinking outside of the box, and taking a closer look at the reasons for your organization’s turnover, may not only help reduce costs. It can also boost morale, and build your organization’s reputation as a place someone wants to work and stay.

Want to take a deeper dive into turnover? Click the button below to watch our webinar about the steps you can take to reduce turnover in your organization:

turnover reduction


Connie Gentry Connie Gentry was a Consulting Associate at PSI. Connie’s work experience includes job analyses, validation, assessment design and customization, EEOC analyses, behavioral interview guide and anchored rating scale development, multi-rater tool (360 Feedback), large-scale competency-based selection and competency model design, and executive assessment.