I know what you’re thinking: “Encourage employees to quit? That’s ridiculous! Everyone knows how stressful and expensive it is to deal with high turnover!” Stay with me for a minute. Encouraging employee turnover at your company may be the best move you can make to build a hard-working team culture, and it might just boost your bottom line.
My brother and I started a moving company when we were in high school. Because of our school and athletic commitments, we had a hard time finding part-time work that fit around our schedules. We started helping friends’ families move, and soon word began to spread. Years later, we now handle more than 13,000 moves per year, making us the largest independent moving company in California. Our business model remains true to our origin – we hire college athletes as movers and allow them to build their own schedules, affording them the opportunity to work their way through school.
Let’s use Meathead Movers as our case study. In an industry plagued by high turnover rates, we’ve adopted a process that we refer to as “encouraged turnover.” Here’s how it works: when we hire a new mover, we sit down with them to figure out what their long-term goals are. Our mission then becomes equipping them with the skills and mentorship they need to reach those goals. If they want to become an accountant, we’ll let them shadow our accountants. If they want to be a marketer, we’ll get them plugged in with our marketing team.
Along the way, these employees are also exposed to customer service best practices, executing contracts, learning how to manage their peers in high-pressure situations, commercial driving experience and even general professional lessons, such as learning how to tie a tie and balance a checkbook. Once they’ve graduated school and are ready to move on to their desired career path, we’re the first in line to recommend our superstar employees to companies in their field; we even take the step of calling their hiring manager for their next job to offer a recommendation. And when they get the job, we use our own company resources to throw them a celebratory BBQ.
So, how can “encouraged turnover” help your company?
One of the benefits of this managerial style is that it incentivizes employees to work harder. Companies are always trying to stimulate higher performance from their employees. If an employee knows that your desire as the employer is to help them reach their next goal, then it’s in their best interest to turn you into a raving fan. It’s a paradigm shift for the employee, turning a “stepping-stone job” into an important link in the chain to future success. Identifying and supporting employees’ future goals allows Meathead to give context to on-job situations that in other companies could cause an employee to become disgruntled or unmotivated. For example, if an employee comes back from a move super frustrated by a difficult client, our managers can ask “Hey, you want to be a firefighter, right? Do you think you will encounter high stress situations then? View this as an opportunity to learn the skills needed to deal with stressful situations and on-the-spot decision making under pressure.” This will fuel enthusiasm and a greater sense of purpose in what they’re doing. The result at Meathead Movers has been a workforce of people always looking for ways to go above and beyond, knowing their effort will be rewarded in the form of a strong recommendation when it comes time to transition. We understand that people might not want to be a mover for the rest of their lives, and we want to provide them with the tools to help them excel in whatever career they choose to pursue.
Another benefit of “encouraged turnover” is that it lets your employees know that you care about their individual success, not just the success of the company. This will make your employees feel more valued and less dispensable. If you’ve ever worked for an employer that you knew truly wanted you to succeed, then you know how it affected your attitude at work every day. Now contrast that with an experience you’ve had working somewhere that made you feel more like a number than a name. I’m willing to bet that you were more productive for the company that really valued you. Productive employees eliminate waste, and efficiency increases profit. What CEO in their right mind would turn down more profit?
When you have incentivized employees who feel like their employer values them, you create a culture where people are genuinely excited to work for your company. This is the “team” mentality that great coaches inspire in sports. Teamwork is what wins championships. Even the best athletes know they can’t win without the help of their team. When your employees feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, you’ll see greater synergy in the office that will lead to even more productivity. Now everyone is a winner!
Now, your employees may already be in the field they want to be in long-term. In that case, you could find out what position they hope to eventually be promoted to and work to prepare them for that role through mentorship, job shadowing, etc.
Through our own experience with “encouraged turnover,” we’ve seen employees go on to become business owners, lawyers, financial advisers and more. The key is communicating this message: “You can reach your dreams, and we want to help you get there.” As an employer it’s important to understand the goals of each employee, and help them reach those goals. Of course, they may like working for you so much that they never want to leave!
Have you read?
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Written by: Aaron Steed, CEO of Meathead Movers.