Turnover is Not a Problem

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Turnover is Not a Problem

By: Michael Beck

"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 restaurant industry.

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 occurs.

Ever work in a company where the prospects of advancement or expansion of responsibilities were nonexistent? Someplace where you knew that you weren't going anywhere? Stay very long? That's my point. Without an opportunity for growth, learning, expansion of responsibility, and increase in personal value, people leave. When people aren't developed, turnover takes place.

Have you ever worked in a company where major changes were "sprung" on you like a surprise attack? Where work was assigned to you and after you completed it, you found out you had done the wrong thing? What happens when people don't communicate effectively? Poor communication leads to misunderstandings, conflict, de-motivation, and stress. What do misunderstanding, conflict, de-motivation and stress lead to? You got it - turnover.

And then comes the most insidious issue of them all - treating people as objects rather than people. The truth is that from time to time we all fall into this trap to one degree or another. I'm talking about how we regard people. Again, use your own experience as your best example. Have you ever had someone say something kind or positive to you, but you sensed that they were being "phony"? They used the right words, but you could tell their words were insincere? Did you believe the words or your sense of the person? No questions about it - we believe our sense of things and people. When we are faced with someone who says one thing but means another, does our respect for that person increase, decrease or stay the same? Clearly it decreases. Not only do we rely on our sense of the person - our intuition - but we form opinions about them based on our insights. Have you ever worked for someone who you lost respect for? Did you stay at that job very long? When people treat other people as objects, turnover occurs.

Purpose, integrity, developing people, effective communications, and regarding people as people are all leadership issues. Exceptional leadership inspires the best effort in others, and when people give their best effort, the result is a high performance organization.

When you and your organization have a clearly defined Purpose, you attract and retain the talent you need. When you and your organization have integrity, you build trust and loyalty. When you and your organization are committed to developing people, people become the best they can be. When you and your organization communicate effectively, conflict and tension diminish and cooperation increases. When you and your organization work to treat people as people, they appreciate it and reciprocate.

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 can be.

About The Author

Written by Michael Beck, President of Exceptional Leadership, Inc., a leadership development and executive coaching firm dedicated to creating exceptional leadership for higher profits and greater job satisfaction. Michael can be reached at 877-977-8956 or mbeck@XLeaders.com, and you can learn more about the company and these ideas at www.XLeaders.com

Permission to reprint with full attribution. Copyright 2004, Exceptional Leadership, Inc.



Aaron 22.03.2013. 15:10

Does higher labor turnover decrease the average amount of time someone is left unemployed? Does a higher labor turnover decrease the average amount of time someone is left unemployed?
For example, if there were two countries both identicle, except that they both had different labor market regulations and thus one had a more felexible labor market and the other less, making it relatively easier or harder to make an employee redundent depending on the country, would this effect the average amount of time someone is unemployed in each country?
This question might be stupid, as I am not an economist or have any formal education in the area, it was just something on my mind.


Admin 22.03.2013. 15:10

Not a stupid question at all.

The general theory says that the flexible labor market is likely to have lower unemployment and that people will be unemployed for shorter periods.

But general theory also assumes that "all other things are equal", which they never are. After all, a government that imposes labor regulations is also likely to impose other regulations and intervene in the economy in other ways. General theory also assumes people are rational, which they never are;
(Even Greenspan spoke of "irrational exuberance" of the markets
); etc. So, as in many areas of economics, general theory is fine for hot air, but doesn't match real world behavior.

When people talk about the high unemployment in France, they tend to blame the inflexible labor market. And, indeed, France currently has an unemployment rate of 10.6%
compared to the current U.S. value of 7.8%.
But at the end of 2009 both France and the U.S. had unemployment rates of 10%. If the only problem with France were its labor regulations, why did the U.S. have as high an unemployment rate? (In fact, at least the biggest factor in France's current unemployment rate is the euro crisis - Germany forced France to cut back on government spending.
Austerity is contractionary.)

One answer is that more flexible labor markets do better in the long term, even if they don't do better in the short term:

Others argue that it isn't that simple:

That just like the argument that higher marginal taxes costs jobs and growth, the logic is simple, but it is just wrong when applied to the real world:


Curiousgal 30.07.2009. 07:11

What does a high turnover of Assistant Principals mean? And does it create mixed values regarding policies, ideas, and action plans. I am a graduate teacher and the current school i am working at has a high turnover of assistant principals. It is a special needs school and the two principals who are there atm have only been there a few months are both acting AP's as far as I'm aware. What kinds of things does this lead to and is it a bad thing?


Admin 30.07.2009. 07:11

High turnover just means that the assistant principals that have worked there don't stay long. This could lead to some problems. Assistant principals are rarely the policy makers, but they are the ones most commonly enforcing the rules and regulations. If they don't see eye to eye, and there is a constant upheaval of the administration, there are going to be mixed values, as there would be in any mixed group of individuals.


Marsha W 27.07.2008. 02:15

My car will start but will immediately cut off-problem just started any suggestions? I've had no problems keeping my car on-problem just started today-when I cut my car on the max time it will stay on is for 5 seconds and it will shake and cut off-I need any suggestions to get this problem fixed because I work out-of-town-PLEASE HELP!!!

Marsha W

Admin 27.07.2008. 02:15

I would say It is the fuel pump, if it continues to start and cut off then it is going to be your fuel filter. The reason being when your fuel pump goes bad it will not be able to get any fuel to the engine and it would not even turnover. It will turnover then its pumping fuel but the filter might be slowing or stopping the flow of fuel.


joe L 14.11.2010. 23:28

My 2010 toyota corolla would not turnover. After a couple of tries it did start and began shaking? The shaking stopped and I drove it for about twenty minutes without a problem. But obviously something is wrong. What could it be

joe L

Admin 14.11.2010. 23:28

Get to the dealer if it is still under warranty.


Aaron 30.04.2011. 23:03

Is Providence Center, Inc. in Maryland a good program for men and women who are intellectually disabled? The organization looks good, but I am concerned about all the staff and management turnover and transportation problems. Has anyone had experience with this organization?


Admin 30.04.2011. 23:03

I have heard that organization does pretty good work, I wish you nothing but good luck !!


Muzz 29.07.2008. 15:41

My 98 bandit has a turnover problem and dies when stood at lights etc any ideas? I have a 98 bandit which I have recently bought - for some reason it starts and rides fine except when its stood at lights or just left to tick over the engine dies - then struggles to restart. I have adjusted the revs, and balanced the carbs but it is still dying on me. The lines seem clean enough and fuel is getting through but really dunno whats going on - any ideas?


Admin 29.07.2008. 15:41

What was the altitude that you bought it in realtion to where you have it now, if the difference is large it may have been jetted for the thinner or heavier air that it was previously in. Valve clearances that are too tight cause big problems such as hard to start, longer warm up times, excessive choke usage, wich in time results in fouled plugs and bad idling. A poor charging system and a weak battery could cause this, since its not getting enough "juice" to keep firing the plugs until you reach an rpm where the generator starts to make enough voltage to take care of what the battery is lacking. really dirty plugs could do this, and while they are out you should check the color, are they the color of milk chocolate, well if not the should be, white indicates lean, black indicates rich. how fast does the engine turn over when your trying to start it? my opinion is that the battery is crapped out on you or your voltage regulator is going or gone out and not charging your battery. you could also try to play with your mixture screwsm givin that you have the idle turned to the proper spot, not too low, somewhere around 1000 is good. what you do is turn the mixture screws out until the engine starts to die off, then turn them in, while counting the number of turns it takes to lean the mixture out where it starts to stumble on the lean side, then set the screw in the middle of this number that you counted, do each carb seperatly.


hpc91 08.10.2009. 15:50

How do I calculate net income for the following problem? Ebersoll Mining has $15 million in sales; its ROE is 10%; and its total assets turnover is 3.7x. The company is 55% equity financed. What is its net income?
Thanks Rico!!


Admin 08.10.2009. 15:50

15000000 / 3.7 = 4054054 * .55 = 2229730 * .1= 222973

Sales / Asset Turnover = Total Assets

Total Assets * Equity portion = Total Equity

Total Equity * ROE = Net Income


c s 04.08.2007. 21:36

my toro lwnmower will not start. It starts to turnover then dies.? I had the problem where it wouldn't start at all then i changed the oil, filter and spark plug.

any thoughts on what i can do?
when you put strarting fluid on the air filter, do you bbq starting fluid? im confused?

c s

Admin 04.08.2007. 21:36

Spray some starting fluid on the air filter. If the mower is starving for gas, then the fluid will cause the mower to run somewhat longer until it dies. If it does run longer, then take a look at the fuel system. Maybe bad gas, plugged fuel line, or other fuel problem.


PRIYESH P 18.09.2008. 18:52

What type of routine decisions are taken by managers in retail chains? Provide a case as problem if possible.? We (team of 4 IT students) are working on a software (for academic purpose) for decision automation for retail chains, we are interested in knowing exact communications and procedures required with all the managers or agencies to take a decision. Either, a problem related to retail chains in the form of a scenario can also be very helpful.


Admin 18.09.2008. 18:52

How about the scheduling of employees. You don't want to have too many people when sales volume is down, and you don't want to be understaffed when sales volume is up. Do you hire more part time employees, or less? You have to take attendance records into account as well, unless you take a hard line on attendance, which will mean higher turnover.


Wizdom :P 29.08.2008. 03:50

What do you think the wnba problem getting good rating/getting people to watch ? I think because most games are blowouts do to lack of great competition. Don't get me wrong there are great players but not on every team and role players are forgettable. And if teams are down they seem to give up. and WAYYYY to many turnovers. What do y'all think ?

Wizdom :P

Admin 29.08.2008. 03:50

I think that they need to start impressively dunking like Candace Parker, more fights/role playing, and just need to get more competitive with each other. They are great players as you said and I truly do love the WNBA to death (would go to a game anyday), but it would be great if they made it more competitive/intense with their attitudes/spirits toward the game. They have it, they just need to give it. Candace Parker proved women can dunk, they just need to do it more. Don't worry though. I truly do believe one day that women's basketball will get better/more interesting (it's still fairly new and critisized) and more people will be into it. I see women play basketball all the time and see how good they are. They just need to work on the entertainment level of it.

edit: I feel the NBA should continue supporting this growing organization and always support it emotionally even if in a while it were not needed financially. Everyone should support the WNBA emotionally for these women are here for entertainment and our growing little girls to have heroes. See "Love and Basketball" for more (it's a movie). The WNBA does its best and once they get the entertainment thing down they should be good. We should all respect/love/support this growing b-ball league and the fundamentals which they play by.


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