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  1. Losing the Losers – Is Employee Turnover Always a Bad Thing?

    September 2, 2014 by Jenna

    Typically, the term ‘employee turnover’ has negative connotations, usually related to cost: the cost to re-hire and the cost to re-train.

    However, is an organisation with low or no turnover really a good thing? Perhaps it is due to one of the following reasons:

    • Lack of employment opportunities within an organisation.
    • Financial constraints preventing employees from moving.
    • Bad company image that keeps recruiters away.
    • A high concentration of older workers reluctant to change jobs later in their career.

    Dr John Sullivan, the internationally known HR thought-leader, writing on, classifies employee departures into desirable, neutral and undesirable outcomes. Below are some of his key points for consideration:

    Desirable Turnover
    Studies show that at least 25% of turnover is desirable. Situations where this may occur include:
    • A low-level performer leaves on their own accord (therefore avoiding the need to terminate them).
    • An average or lower level performer gets replaced by someone that becomes a superior performer (referred to as a talent swap).
    • An employee with key skills working in a non-critical job/business unit transfers to a strategic job/business unit.
    • A lower-level employee is replaced by promoting someone inside that needed more challenge or growth to develop (thus improving the organisation, increasing internal movement).
    • The exiting employee is a retiree who led a fulfilling career and has agreed to consider ‘fill-in’ work during retirement.

    Neutral or OK Turnover
    Such situations include:
    • Turnover of an employee or contractor who was hired to provide short-term coverage.
    • Turnover by an employee who provided sufficient notice, enabling an exceptional replacement to be sourced, hired and trained prior to the employees exit.
    • Turnover by an employee leaving a more generic role with a short learning curve.
    • Turnover of a top performing employee who has a high probability of returning in the future.
    • Turnover of an employee who left as a result of major illness or something that could not be predicted or prevented.

    Critical or Highly Undesirable Turnover
    This is the key area upon which focus retention efforts on. Situations falling under this category include:
    • Turnover of a top performer with little or no advance notice.
    • Turnover of a critical team leader or manager.
    • Turnover of an employee that possesses the only knowledge or experience in a critical field in the organisation.
    • Turnover of an employee in a revenue generating or revenue impact job.
    • Turnover of a top performer or a key individual that goes to a direct competitor.
    • Turnover of a high-potential individual who left due to a lack of development opportunities.
    • Turnover of an employee who subsequently files a credible government or legal complaint against the organisation.

    Labelling turnover ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depends primarily on the business impact caused by the departure of the employee. If employee turnover means losing an individual who is a ‘bad actor’, the impact can be beneficial to your company. For the remaining staff members, the departure of an employee with a negative attitude can seem like a breath of fresh air. For the business owner, it means no longer having to deal with the problems that employee caused. Employee turnover can also have a positive impact if it means replacing a long-term employee who is simply going through the motions or biding their time until retirement.

    By regarding turnover as an opportunity, employers can rest easy knowing that new staff will ultimately bring new life to their businesses, nurturing its growth and development.

  2. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Work Uniforms

    October 5, 2011 by Jenna

    I tell you, one of the highlights of my week is reading through the comments left in our weekly online poll. There is always a marvellous range of responses, from the profound to the very silly indeed.

    Our latest poll asked: “If getting your dream job meant wearing a terrible uniform, would you still take it?” 

    One response was the deeply philosophical “we all wear silly costumes”. Makes you think, eh? 

    And of course, another response was “my dream job involves wearing no uniform” and yes I know who you are … honestly … 

    The results were:

    Yes – 79%

    No – 11%

    Other – 10%

    Overall, people were fully prepared to “suck it up” and wear whatever uniform was required (within reason!) for their dream job. One respondent commented that a uniform can be a blessing in disguise, saving you the daily hassle of selecting something to wear. Good point. 

    And of course, a uniform means that everyone else is wearing it, too, so even if it is ghastly, it’s not as though you’ll be the only one looking like that! Ultimately, if it’s your dream job, you’ll wear anything. As another poll respondent said: “as long as I remained credible in terms of the specific job, and the uniform suited the company’s image, I’d wear a clown suit or whatever was required!” 

    So, why do many companies require their employees to wear uniforms? 

    A key reason is that a uniform conveys a standard image of a company. It is a form of advertising, it can create a sense of team solidarity, and makes it easy for customers to identify company employees. 

    Of course, many employees would prefer to have the opportunity to express their sartorial individuality and see the uniform they are required to wear as an infringement upon their individual rights. I think I would feel quite strange and a bit affronted if my workplace suddenly imposed a work uniform policy. 

    However, if you’re starting a new role at a company that has a clearly stated work uniform requirement, then you’re going into it with your eyes wide open and, really, have no recourse to complain. 

    I also asked a few friends, informally, during the week about their workplace dress policies, and everyone said that whilst there was no official “uniform”, there was, at the very least, an unspoken yet clear dress code in place, which was obvious the moment you walked in. Some work in super corporate environments where suits for men and women are the minimum standard. Others work for companies where a slightly less corporate vibe might be in place, but where certain levels of appropriate dress and presentation were expected and upheld. 

    I would say that most of us, starting a new job, would certainly take our workplace dress cues from those around us, no matter where we were employed, and if that meant feathered headdresses and sequins or gumboots and overalls, that’s what we’d be wearing.

    Are you more productive in a noisy or quiet (office) environment? Tell us in our latest online poll and stay tuned for the results in next week’s ChallengeBlog post …________________________________________

    Challenge Consulting has a Facebook page. Click the FB icon to “Like” us now and stay in touch re our new blog posts, weekly poll, links and more …

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