What 5 Steps Do You Need to Take Now to Stop the Agony of Employee Turnover?

You have a big vision for your business.

And your people are your most valuable asset to help you achieve that vision.

But employees often seem to be the main source of stress, frustration, and your inability to make rapid or consistent progress.

That’s how it feels right?

Is this an issue for you? Well, let’s take a closer look.

Are your thoughts and your time too often consumed by the turmoil of employees who:

  • Suddenly quit and put you under pressure to quickly find a replacement that’s better than merely acceptable?
  • Probably need to be fired but you hate to have to deal with the hiring process all over again, while secretly fearing that the next person won’t be any better anyway?
  • Talk behind your back and poison the minds and enthusiasm of their co-workers? (Maybe you don’t know this is going on, unless like someone I know, you heard it through your video monitoring system)
  • Aren’t really as engaged or productive as you need them to be? (Research reveals that 85% of employees aren’t engaged so the odds are high this one will be true for you)
  • Cost you money, sabotage your mission, and steal your joy?


Unless your business is one of the rare ones that already has an exceptional workplace culture, or you have found a way to remain blissfully ignorant, then I bet your thoughts about employee problems are more frequent than you’d like to admit.

How do I know that?

Several reasons.

I’ve been in those troubling circumstances as a business owner more times than I care to remember; I’ve walked through them with countless other business owners and HR decision-makers over the years; the research says so; and also because human relationships are rarely easy.

I find that most businesses tend to have either excessive employee turnover or subpar productivity or both.

Neither of these is a recipe for business success or an enjoyable work environment.

Some clients tell me they don’t have a turnover issue but upon closer scrutiny the reason they don’t is because they are tolerating employees who are a poor fit, aren’t enthusiastic, and who produce at a less than ideal level.

These people often prefer to stay so they can continue receiving a paycheck. Usually there is no malice of intent. It’s simply more secure for them than leaving.

And you’d rather keep them and give them more paychecks because that feels easier than the work of replacing them, or figuring out how to replace them effectively.

While you focus on marketing, technology, systems, and procedures (all important to be sure); the biggest hole in the bottom of your business growth bucket is typically the problem with your people.

I see this scenario playing out to some degree in nearly every workplace with which I interact.

(Side note: Frequently the primary problem lies with the leadership, either yours or someone else’s on your team. Gallup says that the manager accounts for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. But that’s a different post.)

High employee turnover is extremely costly. Ignoring or tolerating people issues in your workplace to avoid turnover is extremely costly as well. The cost is financial but also mental, emotional, and spiritual. It threatens your vision and taxes your will.

I’m sure you’re with me on this one.

This is not only true for you as the business owner or other company leader. The negative effects of this turnover/toleration nightmare will impact your teams and the people you serve far more than you imagine.


So what the heck is going on?

Why the high turnover and productivity problems?

  1. You hire people that don’t have the proper strengths for the position. This leads to unrealistic expectations, mutual disappointment, and a declining relationship. Eventually resentment. Over time people quit or get fired, or they stay while being disengaged and you tolerate them. Sounds wonderful right?
  2. You hire people who don’t fit well with the existing leadership or team. Unique strengths aren’t appreciated and integrated in the onboarding process and beyond. Limited interpersonal understanding leads to challenges with communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution. Stress and tension arise. Relationships can become negative and unproductive or maybe just apathetic.
  3. You don’t have a strengths-based employee development process. The fundamental problem is the lack of training to help your diverse groups of individuals know how to blend their strengths and styles to operate as a cohesive and effective team. Employees expect to learn and grow, otherwise, they won’t be fulfilled or reach their potential. Enthusiasm diminishes. Frustration, boredom and complacency set in. People look for other opportunities.
  4. Your business lacks a clear purpose-driven mission. If you do have one then your employees either don’t know what it is or they aren’t inspired by it. They don’t see how it connects with what inspires them.
  5. Your leadership isn’t adequately trained to guide and develop your people. They usually don’t know the unique motivations, strengths, and goals of each employee. There is too much emphasis on managing rather than coaching. Empowerment and autonomy aren’t encouraged and nurtured.
  6. You don’t recognize the magnitude and consequences of the human problems in your business. As a result there isn’t a commitment to addressing and solving the key problems sabotaging the success of your most valuable asset.

So what do I need to do you ask?

Here are 5 steps you must take immediately if you want to stop the agony of your high turnover or low productivity problems.

  1. Stop. Get clarity on the problems in the human aspect of your business. Seek an expert 3rd party perspective to help you overcome your blind spots. Take responsibility. Decide to do whatever is necessary to resolve these critically-important challenges permanently. Never forget. Your people are your most valuable asset.
  2. Start attracting candidates who will be a great fit and who will participate with enthusiasm. Do this by leading in your hiring with your purpose and vision. First clarify these key elements for yourself and then be able to express them. Your purpose drives your most meaningful contribution. Inspire your new candidates and your team. Make a home for their unique inspired contributions.
  3. Hire and onboard with wisdom and insight. Implement an approach that allows you to uncover and fully KNOW the unique strengths and styles of each person; especially in the key human dimensions of Emotional Agility, Cognitive Styles, Action Approaches, and Inspiration Sources. Have all team members and serious contender candidates take these assessments so that you’re not guessing about what they each would bring to the role and to the existing team.
  4. Design and develop strengths-based teams. Teach them to better understand themselves and each other. Like a Super Bowl champion football team each player on your team needs to be developed in their position and also know exactly what they can rely on from each teammate. Invite input from everyone. How does each person think you might improve from the vantage point of their role?
  5. Train your leaders to be great coaches. Guide each leader to lead in their unique strengths. Make sure they are familiar with the strengths and styles of each team member. Empower them and help them empower others. Encourage them to connect and communicate frequently with their team. Train them to bring out the best in others. In truth everyone has the potential to be a leader. Develop that potential.

What is your next step in the human aspect of your business?

Feel free to schedule a free breakthrough coaching session here.

Written by Matthew Norton – People + Purpose

January 13, 2021

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