200304914-001As a kid, did you ever wonder what the name was of that monster hiding in the closet just waiting to jump out and scare you when you least expected it? Well, if you’re a business leader, the monster is still there. Its name is Turnover, and if you don’t put a stop to it, it could jump out and eat your company’s profits.

There are many opinions on when the turnover tsunami is going to hit businesses, but no one is denying the fact that it’s coming either. The thing is, the solution to employee turnover is really fairly simple. Think of it as a basic mathematic equation: Ask Three Questions + Have a Safe Environment + Act On The Answers = Less Turnover. Here’s how it breaks down.

Ask Three Questions

  1. Starting right now, what three things could I do differently that would make you enjoy your job more?
  2. If I were a recruiter, what would I have to offer you to persuade you to change jobs?
  3. What do you like about your job?

If their answers to the first two questions revolve around their job security, opportunities to use their skills, direct supervisors, opportunities for growth, or compensation, then you could be in danger of major turnover. Likewise, if they don’t mention how they appreciate their boss, job responsibilities, pay, job stability, or chances for promotion, there’s definitely a monster in your closet. Those issues are in the top five that affect employees’ jobs satisfaction, according to SHRM’s 2011 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, and they are the primary benefits that help make employees happy and engaged.

Keep It Honest
Now, there’s nothing special about these three questions you should ask your employees. The magic is in asking them in a way that prompts your team to be open and honest. Whether you’re able to accomplish that by face-to-face meetings or an anonymous survey, your employees shouldn’t feel threatened or scared of the consequences of answering your questions.

Take Action
This is the linchpin of the entire equation. There is absolutely no use in asking these three questions if you’re not going to put what you learn to use. You will only get the desired result of lowered turnover if you take action. You may not be able to provide your employees with everything they’re looking for, but by simply addressing their issues and coming up with a plan to help them get where they want to be will increase their engagement and decrease the chances of them leaving.

Yes, it really is that simple. But simple doesn’t mean easy or unimportant. If you want to keep the turnover monster from tearing apart your team, you can’t keep ignoring it.

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