The Worst Advice Ever Heard About Employee Turnover

05/28/2015 12:39 pm ET | Updated May 26, 2016


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.7 million individuals who quit their job in February, 2015. Surprisingly, the largest increases came in the professional and business services sector and health care and social assistance.

As much as you may not like to admit it, employee turnover is not always the result of a poor work ethic. Many times, poor management techniques are to blame. While it's not always the fault of management, there are certain misconceptions some employers and managers have regarding turnover that lead to low employee retention rates. Here's an example of some of the worst advice we've ever heard regarding employee turnover.

Misconception 1: Employees Need Constant Supervision
The desire to micro-manage each and every employee is common among employers. But, for your own good, resist this urge! Please! We understand it's difficult to not watch every employee movement. Employers and managers often feel that their way is the only way to do things. Sometimes, they're right. That said, there are certainly times when you need to let go and give your employees a chance to shine.

Many good, hardworking employees quit their jobs because they feel being micro managed is disrespectful; it causes them to feel mistrusted. What's more, micro-managing leaves no room for mistakes. While too many mistakes can hurt your business, sometimes mistakes provide the best opportunities for employee training.

Misconception 2: Annual Reviews Work Best
This is one of the most common misconceptions about employee turnover. While you may have official staff reviews once a year to determine job status and raises, it's crucial--I repeat, crucial--to give relevant feedback throughout the year. For instance, if a team member is struggling with an aspect of their job, and is too afraid or embarrassed to talk to management, frequent, honest, and non-judgmental communication sessions allow you and your employee to address concerns before they decide to leave because of frustration with their job performance. (P.S. You may also want to consider what needs to change in your business culture to prevent employees from being afraid and/or embarrassed to speak with management.)

Misconception 3: A Promoted Employee Will Manage Staff Well
Most small businesses promote from within. This is a good thing. However, just because an employee performs their job well, it does not mean they are capable of leading others. So should you promote them, anyway? Yes! If, in fact, they have earned a promotion and they will receive the proper training for the new position.

Implementing a management training program within your company is a great way to continue promoting from within while maintaining an effective management department. Include employee retention strategies in your management training program to keep staff satisfied and combat turnover

Retention will always be a concern in your business--if you don't recognize these common misconceptions and open your mind to alternative thinking. Despite what some business owners believe, there is something that can be done to improve employee retention rates. And, it begins with a strong, effective management team.

Actively manage your employees, rather than passively letting the chips fall where they may. The results will please you. We promise!

Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive. This article first appeared on the MJ Management Solutions blog.

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