Turnover is Not a Problem
“Ha!” you say. “For someone to make a statement like that, they obviously haven’t worked in the real
world and certainly have never had to run a company.” Well, let me assure you. In my past I’ve not only
run companies, but spent many years in one of the most notorious industries for turnover – the
Don’t get me wrong, I understand and appreciate the challenges that turnover creates. Turnover causes
a drop in productivity, lower profits, inconsistent quality, and certainly creates work overload. In
addition, turnover results in a lack of motivation, a lack of enthusiasm, apathy, and a lack of teamwork.
But here’s the question…
Are the challenges I just raised problems or symptoms? In the context of our discussion of turnover,
most people would agree that they’re all symptoms of our turnover challenge. Turnover caused each of
these shortfalls, which leads us to the core question:
Is turnover a problem or a symptom?
Turnover is a symptom.
But what is turnover a symptom of? You may argue that turnover is a symptom of a weak workforce –
unmotivated people, apathetic, too small of a labor pool, etc. I believe, however, that turnover is
caused by other factors. Turnover is related to leadership. Turnover is a symptom of leadership
problems. Some of these leadership-related problems are: lack of purpose, lack of integrity, absence of
a plan for developing people, poor communications, and treating people as objects instead of people.
Let’s discuss whether these factors really do cause turnover. I always suggest that clients use their own
experience as their best example. Have you ever worked for a company just to earn a living? A job
where you really didn’t care about the work or the company? I’d guess that virtually everyone has been
in that situation at one time or another. You may even be in that situation right now. When you were in
that job, were you on the lookout for a better opportunity? Did you leave the company to take a job
just to make more money? (… and then repeat the whole scenario once more?) When a company and a
job lack purpose, turnover occurs.
Have you ever worked for someone who lacked integrity? Someone who would say one thing and do
another? Someone who promised to do something but never did? Someone who took the credit and
placed the blame? Unfortunately, I’d have to guess that each of us has had that kind of boss at one time
or another. When you were in that situation, did you continue to do your work? Of course you did. Was
your work accurate and correct? Of course it was. Did you take the initiative on new projects for the
benefit of the company? Maybe not. Go the extra mile to make a difference? Hmmm… Did you leave
the company at the first opportunity? Point made. When an individual or company lacks integrity,
Turnover isn’t a problem - it’s a symptom caused by leadership problems. Fortunately, the problems
can be solved, and you have the power to make that difference. Strive to become the best leader you