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How to Revitalize Morale After a Period of High Staff Turnover

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

When people constantly come and go, you may feel like your company has a revolving door.

  • There can be various consequences of having high turnover rates.
  • To maintain your employees, find out what your employees want and let them know that they matter.
  • Some consequences of high turnover rates are that it can be expensive and lower productivity.

Although we all aim to hold on to our employees, despite our best efforts, we might experience a period of high turnover. This turnover may have been necessary for the overall benefit of the company, but this doesn't mean your business won't be negatively impacted. The effects of high employee turnover are far-reaching and are not limited to the recruitment costs of having to find appropriate replacements.

Employees want security, and when there are people constantly coming and going, you start to feel like your company has just become a revolving door, which seriously damages morale. Of course, your remaining employees will likely have to pick up the slack created by the high turnover, which puts undue strain on them.

High turnover also impairs future recruitment efforts, regardless of whether employees leave voluntarily or are dismissed. If you are too quick to fire an employee, candidates will steer clear. If employees leave of their own volition, potential recruits might assume they are doing so because they are unhappy with the organization, or that there are better companies and opportunities to explore.

So how can you unite your team, adapt your performance management systems and revitalize morale after a bout of intense turnover?

Effects of high turnover

If you are wondering about the effects of high turnover rates, according to HPPY, here are three major ones:

  • It can be expensive. High turnover rates can be expensive. Especially if employees are leaving on their own, the replacement costs can add up over time.

  • You lose experienced employees. Since resignations are often not planned, companies with high turnover rates can suddenly lose experienced and valuable employees, which results in a host of other issues.

  • Productivity takes a hit. Scrambling to replace lost employees can adversely affect the productivity levels of the entire company.

Make a point of acknowledging effort and performance

During a time of high turnover, your employees might feel insecure about their performance. To improve morale, clearly prioritize employee recognition. Hold regular monthly performance discussions with your employees, and during this time, be sure to focus on what has gone right. Congratulate your employees on their successes. If they have put a lot of effort into a given project, acknowledge this.

Remember, employee recognition seriously impacts morale, and people who receive gratitude are much more productive. In psychological terms, recognition can powerfully impact employee behavior, as it engages their brain in a "virtuous cycle." You don't need to spend a lot of money to appreciate great performance, but if you fail to make the effort, it is unlikely that morale will improve.

Find out what your employees want

If you have lost a lot of people but you're not sure why, it's probably because your former employees weren't satisfied with your company or they found a better alternative. At this point, you need to make an effort to retain your existing talent and keep them happy. Find out what you could be doing differently or how they would change existing processes.

You might discover that your company requires a radical overhaul. Has your business failed to move with the times? Do you have outdated attitudes toward flexibility? Are you respecting your employees and allowing them a degree of autonomy? Are you constantly micromanaging? Do you actively encourage development and provide clear routes of progression, or do your employees feel there is no way for them to advance and grow? Consider all of these points and begin to address them to ensure a more forward-thinking business. 

Show your employees that their work matters

With so many people coming and going, your employees need to know that they are valued and what they do matters to the company. This is why transparency is so important to a business. Share the company's goals with your employees and show how the work they are doing contributes to the company's long-term success. Nobody wants to feel superfluous, and at this time of uncertainty, it is your job to show your workforce that they are part of a well-functioning team.

If you can't increase salary, increase perks

In a survey that explored the best means to retain staff, it was shown that the most effective method was a salary increase. Of course, for budgetary reasons, this might not always be possible. If this is the case, your business should introduce perks in other forms. Examples include casual Fridays, flextime, half-day Fridays or hosting social events outside the office.

Work on communication

Communication is of the utmost importance during any organizational change. Prioritize great communication both horizontally and vertically throughout the business.

To facilitate the exchange of feedback and to encourage the development of manager-employee relationships, implement more regular performance management discussions. Frequent discussions have been listed as a top performance management tool that can seriously boost workplace communication and feedback exchange. Top companies around the world have taken note and abandoned their annual performance appraisals in favor of regular check-ins as a result.

Equally, social networking and trust-building between employees should be emphasized. With so many people leaving and new faces added to the mix, social networks are disrupted and your workforce might start to feel like they're simply a group of strangers working alongside one another, as opposed to a cohesive team. This doubtlessly detracts from morale. Research different team-building exercises that encourage communication, and consider throwing a lunch office party or two to get your new teammates acquainted.

Organizational changes like downsizing or high turnover certainly have an impact on an organization, and recovery can take a while. It won't happen overnight, but as long as you appreciate your existing employees and you make efforts to improve employee experience, you will be rewarded with a happier, more productive team.

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