Good profitable employees are worth keeping. Low turnover rates for productive employees help make us profitable. As always, finding and keeping them is not easy but losing them is costly.
The payoff for gathering and acting on employee feedback is considerable. It is estimated that it costs $7,000 to replace every warehouse worker who quits. To replace a mid-range employee an employer can expect to pay at least $8,000 to $10,000 to replace, assuming they can find a qualified candidate. It is estimated that one in four employees left their jobs in 2018. The turnover costs were around $600 billion. Calculate your annual rate of employee turn-over and the costs will become clear.
As the workforce continues to become increasingly diverse, retaining good employees has never been more challenging. This is especially true as central Ohio is an important cargo transfer point. Many companies in this area have a logistics or distribution component. For them, finding labor to staff their warehouse and distribution centers is an ongoing challenge.
A clear indication of increasing diversity is the number of languages spoken by our client’s employees. For example, can you read አማርኛ (Amharic)? Do you understand नेपाल (Nepalese)? Amharic and Nepalese are just two of the dozen or so languages we have encountered when gatheri
ng employee feedback. In addition, culture and language tend to coincide. This brings the challenges of employee retention into even sharper focus.
How do we get optimal performance when diverse cultures come together in the workplace? One answer is equitable, evenly applied policies covering what is and is not acceptable behavior. The rest of it comes from keeping in close touch with work-life conditions.
Nearly all the companies we encounter have pretty good idea of what matters to their employees. Many of them hold regular meetings to stay in touch with employee concerns, as they should. By necessity, these meetings are short and so can miss some hidden issues. For example, what surprises some clients is learning that employees who grew up speaking American English regard themselves as a minority.
Separating out employee feedback by language group shows what concerns are common to all and which are unique to each group. Information like this helps management identify where to put the focus of their efforts.
The kinds of issues uncovered can be interesting. On one occasion, a significant percentage of a group of male employees reported inappropriate touching in the workplace. In another, the need for training front-line supervisors in how to write performance reviews became all too clear. A production employee, speaking through an interpreter, told me about a poorly trained supervisor whose behavior made work-life needlessly difficult and confusing. Among other things, this supervisor clearly didn’t know how to handle language/cultural barriers. Those in charge were not fully aware of the depth of the problem.
Personally, it is a privilege to have hourly workers come and directly tell me about their work-life experience. Unlike the daily contact between supervisors and employees, one-on-one conversations go into much more depth. Since employees know they are talking to someone outside their organization, we hear things most bosses don’t.
Given the high co
st of employee turn-over and that seventy-seven percent (77%) of it could be prevented. Investing in employee feedback makes good business sense. Find someone with experience in your industry. Yes, there are pre-fab questionnaire templates available. They are generally worth what you pay for them however.
Your prospective emplo
yee feedback provider should visit your place of business. Getting to know you and your unique challenges, is a good place to start. The final step is one only you can take. Once you have the results, make it clear to your employees you are taking positive steps to act on their concerns. Then, your costs will decline and your profits improve.