Taking the Wind Out of Our Sails…

cost of high turnover employee engagement employee experience employee retention employee satisfaction executive high turnover leadership culture management profit profitability profitability killers return on investment supervision the areas of an organization impacted by turnover turnover Apr 20, 2023
The Areas of an Organization Impacted by Turnover

So imagine you’re overseeing a team of folks with an incredibly high workload to produce for your customer and it seems like all you can get done is interview, hire, and train new employees. Some of the ones coming on board connect with the team and stick around but a high number never stay long enough to really learn their role or reach a reasonable level of productivity. The only option at that point is to start the process over again, then again… As leaders, we’ve got so many other responsibilities to see through that this is pulling us away from. Talk about taking the wind out of our sails, right? I wanted to title this Sucking the Life Out of Us but I thought that may have been a bit much - regardless of how accurate it truly is!

If we’re really going to consider the extended reach of turnover costs, we can’t overlook the impact it has on employee engagement or how that impact on employee engagement can drive even higher turnover! We’ll go into the specific details of just how big of a profitability killer poor employee engagement is soon enough so I’m not going to hash out the data here. What I do need you to consider though is how high turnover begats low employee engagement and low employee engagement begats high turner. Then guess what that begats… Truth be told, I believe this kind of begatting could also cover as many generations as from Adam to Noah! (Start at the beginning of the Book if I’ve lost you with this reference…)

As we looked at who pays the price for high turnover, I emphasized that I’m convinced that it’s everyone connected to the organization - internally or externally! The biggest part of this challenge though often falls squarely in the lap of those of us supervising, managing, or running the business. While we’re certainly not the only ones who feel the effects of the high turnover, it adds to our workload in ways other team members often don’t realize. A while back, I wrote an article on LinkedIn comparing employee happiness, employee satisfaction, and employee engagement and received a comment soon after from someone stating that all of them are almost always fuzzy initiatives driven by someone in human resources that never yield tangible results because the “most CEOs continue to sit on the sidelines and let HR wack away at the problem.” If the leaders in an organization are willing to place complete responsibility for turnover or employee engagement solely on whoever carries a human resources title, then I’d expect it would all likely remain “fuzzy”... And I’d also expect turnover to remain high (even within the human resources department), employee engagement to remain low, and a ton of profitability to be lost. Failing to accept responsibility for tracking tangible results from any initiative is a profitability killer that probably warrants our attention soon too!

Since my goal right now is to point out how the high turnover yielding low engagement yielding high turnover perpetuates itself, I’ll close by challenging you to consider how much this spills over into every single team member around us. As leaders, we’ve prepared ourselves to handle tough times; it’s part of the job… Just imagine how that downward spiral takes the wind out of the sails of a team member who hasn’t yet prepared themselves for things like this and likely isn’t as bought into the organization as we are. As these two things continue begatting each other, the amount of profitability that’s lost compounds and we’ll soon see take a toll on our culture and our values so we’ll look at that next.