Use the WRITE Idea to Reduce Turnover

employee-turnoverAccording to research gathered by The Wynhurst Group, if an employee quits during his or her first year, the turnover costs for that one employee is approximately 3 times the amount of that employee’s salary.

In his article, “These Employee Turnover Stats Should Scare You to Death,” Bill Cushard points out some financially frightening statistics concerning turnover rates. For instance, he says that over 20% of turnovers happen within the first month and a half of employment. In addition, Cushard points out that almost half of all new hires leave voluntarily within their first year and a half on the job.

What does that mean for you as an employer? It means hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain, not to mention the fact that your productivity will plummet without the right workers on the job.

Why Does Turnover Happen?

There are many factors that lead to increased turnover rates, but in this article I only want to address a few of those. If you are curious about other reasons, I recommend Louis Efron’s article in Forbes or Susan M. Heathfield’s article on About.com.

Some of the major causes of higher turnover rates are as follows:

Boredom and Unclear Expectations
Individuals get hired for a job, but they are only ever given a generic list of job duties. Training, if it happens at all, is minimal, so new hires either sit around doing nothing or they get buried in unrelated tasks.

Feeling Disconnected
A lot of employees choose to leave because they really don’t feel like their work matters. They don’t know the grander scheme of things, they don’t see the end results of their efforts, and they don’t get enough appreciation. In short, they feel undervalued.

No Real Mobility
Employers and employees get hyper-focused on the task at hand, and they neglect to think of long-term planning. As a result, employers don’t establish clear career paths within their own companies. Without a clear path, employees don’t know how to climb the corporate ladder, and they begin to feel stuck and complacent in their jobs.

The WRITE Idea

While there is no magic wand or single answer that will eliminate employee turnover, there are solutions that can help reduce your turnover rates significantly. One of those solutions involves hiring a writer.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes I am a writer for hire, but hear me out on this.

lack of commWhat is the common thread between the three causes of turnover listed above? A lack of communication. Employers are not communicating what they need from their employees. Likewise, employees do not know how to approach employers with questions.

As a writer, I am a professional communicator. I make my living putting words together with various goals in mind. For some clients, I’m trying to sell a product. For other clients, I’m trying to write something instructional. Whatever the purpose, a writer can help you fix your communication problems.

Of course, you might be wondering why you should hire a third party. After all, you have an HR department, plenty of well-trained supervisors, etc., so couldn’t you and your team write your own way out of this turnover mess? It’s possible, true, but do your people really have the time to fix these problems?

When your communication doesn’t work company-wide, you already have problems in addition to your turnover rates. Your productivity rates are no doubt lower than you want them to be, so everyone is already working overtime just to get ahead. Throwing a new project like this into the mix will NOT help solve your communication problems.

The WRITE Idea: How It Works

Now, I’m not going to explain the entire process in detail – a writer has to protect her trade secrets, after all – but I will give you a brief view of what a writer like myself could do to help an organization suffering from too much turnover. In a nutshell, I see three major steps involved in a project like this one.

Step #1 Establish What Your People Do
I would need to know the goals and mission of the organization first, and then I would reference that information as I redesigned the job descriptions of every job title at your organization. I would interview employees and supervisors and find out what they actually do every day. From there I could rewrite job descriptions, identify potential career paths, and map out the relationships between departments.

Step #2 Spread the Information
You have to make this information easy for employees to find, but you can’t just stuff it all in a bunch of binders that are locked up in the HR department. You have to post organization goals in multiple locations, and every department should have individual goals posted as well, so that employees know what they are working toward. Likewise, job descriptions and career paths need to be available in every department, or on an employee website. Bottom line – you can’t have good communication if you don’t communicate by every means necessary.

Step #3 Update As You Change
I’ve had a lot of clients forget about this last step. They hire me to write business documents, and then they think that those documents will last forever. That’s not the case, though. The economy shifts, your business changes direction, companies merge with one another – the list of changes is endless. Therefore, you have to update your information, especially in relationship to your employees. If their job duties change, or if they need different skills, you have to communicate that in a clear and concise format. Updating your information is really nothing more than maintenance. You can do it on a yearly or bi-yearly basis by simply making an arrangement with your writer to update your information as needed.

Get Started on Fixing Your Communication Problems

While these tcommunication-cartoon-2hree steps may make the process seem simple, please do not be deceived. Rebuilding broken communication systems will take extensive work. Even if you have a writer like me to produce all the information you need, all of your efforts will fall flat if you as the employer do not follow through with the implementation process, including both posting and updating your information. Also remember that the initial start-up and research of a project like this will be slow going, but only at first. Once a writer has all the research needed for this project, that writer can easily turn the research into engaging copy that is visually stunning.

As you consider hiring a writer like me for a project like this, keep your eyes focused on the task at hand. You are trying to reduce your turnover. If your high turnover rates are caused by a lack of communication, then isn’t it worth it to invest in the services of a communications specialist? In addition, if you reduce your turnover, the ripple effect translates into increased productivity and a more positive work environment. As long as you keep your employee communication system up and running, your ROI will continue to grow.

Don’t let your turnover rates tear down your company. Hire me, L. Rigdon, as your communications specialist.

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