Reduce Turnover by Improving Supervisor Communication Skills

Actual Comments on Why Employees Leave:

“In my job, I knew what I was doing…..I gave 110% to my job even though I was the oldest worker there. When there were problems with the equipment, they would get people in from other places to see if I was doing my job right. I was told one time that they were not saying I wasn’t doing my job right….but watching to see if I was doing it according to the standard operating procedure (SOP) for that job. I’m not the sharpest tack in the group…but I’d say the person that said this had NO CLUE and she was a top manager from Corporate.”

The Solution

This is quite a comment and one that could be read in a variety of ways. It is clear this employee felt he gave his all to the company but when there were problems with the equipment, he felt singled out and this was offensive to him. There are several questions that could help diagnose this situation.

1. Was this person properly trained on the equipment? What were the ongoing quality checks in place to ensure he was performing his job according to the standard operating procedure?

2. Was the standard operating procedure for the equipment correct or could it have caused the problem that was occurring?

3. Had ongoing maintenance been performed on the equipment to reduce or eliminate equipment issues?

4. The supervisor may also need to monitor and reflect on the bias and assumptions they may be making about older people. Could it be this individual is being more closely watched than younger workers? Are other employees performing the same task being observed in the same manner that this former employee is experiencing?

If all of the items above were satisfactory and the company had to bring someone in to help problem solve the situation, how was this communicated to the employee? Or, were things just sprung on the employee without providing any context around the situation? Communicating with employees in a way that makes them feel involved and part of the company as a whole often provides higher moral and more respect for the company and its management. In this case, it sounds as though the level of supervisor communication may be lacking or the situation may have been explained to the employee in a way that offended him.

This employee appeared to be loyal to the company and was proud of his job. When there are problems to be solved and a manager has to take steps such as bringing in outside resources to help resolve equipment issues, it is always a good thing to think through what you are going to say and how to say it. An important part of workplace communication is knowing your employees and how they respond to these types of interactions. Proper supervisor communication is very important to retaining and motivating employees. Perhaps if the manager had handled this situation in a way that the employee felt he was part of the solution and not the problem, it could have resulted in retaining this employee.

It takes far less time to know your employees, plan interactions, and have good two-way communications with your employees than it takes to replace an employee.

(This blog post 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’s exit interviewing service. 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. Check our blog often for posts like this, to reduce employee turnover within your organization. For more information about our ExitRight® survey, or to schedule your demo, contact us today.)