Improving Manager Employee Communication and Reducing Turnover

Actual Comments on Why Employees Leave:

“My location was closed and I transferred to another location. I liked working at the other location, but the management at my new location was totally different. I didn’t go through orientation at my new location and was told I was supposed to ask if I wanted to be included in orientation. They promised me 36 hours and they gave me 36 hours one week and 28 every other week. When they would take me off the schedule, they did it by texting me. When I confronted my manager about how the hours they gave me didn’t match what they promised, she cut even more hours from my schedule. Then, I was suspended through a text message. Then I quit.”

The Solution

There are many aspects to this comment. The former employee transferred into a new location from a location that closed. The employee liked the old location; however, it appears that she never assimilated into her new environment. There is a difference of opinion regarding the number of hours the employee was to work. Manager-employee communication was lacking at best. It is not clear whether the disciplinary actions taken by the manager were part of the organization’s disciplinary process or the manager acting outside the policy.

Many of the issues in this comment could have been avoided through better manager-employee communication. When an employee transfers in from another location, it is in the best interest of the manager, employee and the organization for the manager to meet with the employee the first day. Just as managers should have a checklist for newly hired employees, they should also have a checklist for transferred employees to include: introduction to co-workers, responsibilities/expectations, work hours/schedule, employee policies/procedures, work space, equipment/tools/technology required to do the job, etc. Most often, transferred employees are automatically included in orientation at the new location or go through a shortened version of the orientation to learn things that are specific to the new location. In this case, it doesn’t sound like any of this happened so the environment was ripe for the employee to quit.

When employees are told that they will receive a certain number of hours, they expect that number of hours. Employees generally plan their finances around receiving a certain number of hours and anything less may cause hardship. There are times when the promised number of hours just cannot happen. When this happens, good managers take the time to discuss the situation in a very respectful and caring manner with impacted employees. Depending on the employee’s personal situation, the employee may or may not be able to continue with the number of hours he is receiving. The difference between this and what happened in this situation simply comes down to a lack of manager-employee communication.

With respect to the suspension, most organizations have in place a disciplinary process for dealing with job-related behavior that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards. In this situation, it is unclear whether there was such a discussion with the employee but it sounds doubtful. Generally, managers provide coaching and verbal and/or written notice to correct the unacceptable performance prior to entering into the more formal process of corrective or disciplinary action. In any disciplinary process, texting is not an acceptable way to communicate disciplinary actions to employees. Much of the litigation that employers face today is due to the lack of documented disciplinary processes or the inconsistent application of such processes. In addition to the cost of employee turnover, managers often place organizations at risk for possible legal action. Neither turnover nor legal action is in the best interest of anyone involved.

(This blog post is brought to you by HSD Metrics, an exit interview company that helps companies reduce employee turnover by providing automated reference checking, exit interviews, and by measuring employee retention. The comments from exiting employees that are featured in this blog are collected from actual exit interviews conducted using ExitRight®, HSD Metrics’ exit interviewing service. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today. Because we place the privacy of our clients at the top of our priority list; the names of all involved parties are kept completely confidential.)