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Job Turnover Can Be Worrisome for Employers

The good news: the “quit rate,” or the percentage of American workers voluntarily leaving their jobs, has risen to its highest level in four years, according to a 2013 article published in the Denver Post.  According to Sophia Koropeckyj, an economist with Moody’s quoted in the article, this rise shows that workers are more confident about finding new jobs.

The bad news: not all employers are really hiring new staff, and if they do, job benefits such as medical insurance or tuition reimbursement are become more and thing scarce.

In its most recently published report, covering November 2013 employment statistics, the U.S.  Bureau of Labor Statistics said the nation’s job turnover rate was 3.1 percent, the same as it was for October, 2013. However, those numbers were a slight improvement from September’s figures, when the job turnover rate was 3.3 percent.

That report also indicated there were approximately four million job openings at the end of November, 2013. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the nation’s unemployment rate recently fell from seven percent in November to 6.7 percent, the lowest since October, 2008. Oddly, the number of people not in the workforce hit an all-time high of 91.8 million Americans. In its January 16, 2014 issue, an article in stated the number of job seekers has hit the levels of those who were seeking employment in 1978.

Preventing employee turnover

While it might seem counterintuitive, not every employee turnover is negative. “Turnover of people who are not going to be great assets to your company going forward is not a bad thing,” says Marc Effron, president of the Talent Strategy Group in New York City. 

Small business owners should do the same things as other business owners when it comes to retaining top talent, says Effron. For example, any company “needs to ensure it is providing the most engaging possible environment for its team members,” he says. 

According to Effron, engagement is typically driven by the same three factors, no matter the size of a company. They are:
- Belief in opportunities for personal development
- Feeling that supervisors and managers care about employee successes
- Pride in the organization for whom the employee works

While oftentimes, communication between management and staff can get bogged down in large companies. However, in small business settings, “it should be very easy to ask employees for their opinions on those three questions. Where you find gaps, take action,” Effron urges.

The reality

While open and honest lines of communication between management and employees is ideal in any size business, it is not always the case, even in small companies. That’s why Kim Slaton, acting CEO of JVS Career Services in Cincinnati suggests employers provide a comment box so any employee can anonymously submit their written opinions about what’s good and bad in the workplace. “It’s important for employees to feel empowered. One way to do that is to let them know their opinions matter. Perhaps as a way to incentivize an honest exchange of information, rather than taking the chance the comment box is being used to spread rumors, employers can offer bonuses when submitted suggestions include the employee’s name,” she says. 

Certainly, however, the suggestions, comments and criticisms offered by employees can’t just stop there. Employers need to act on what they consider the most helpful ideas so staff members feel their opinions matter. “And, if comments indicate some sort of illegal activity, such as bullying or sexual harassment is occurring, management needs to be proactive about investigating the situation and eradicating such negativity from the workplace,” says Slaton. 

Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney also licensed in the state’s two federal districts and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is also an oft-published writer whose byline has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, The Rotarian, Corporate Secretary, The ABA Solo Practitioners newsletter and Ohio Magazine, to name a few. She penned a study guide about filing personal bankruptcy that was published by Quamut, a division of Barnes and Noble, in 2007.

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