Great Workplace, Great Business

Author: Harrison HR | Blog

A few years ago a Brisbane service business acquired a similar sized business on the Gold Coast with 45 employees. When I started working with them about two years ago the Gold Coast operations were experiencing extreme levels of employee turnover – 50%! Plus regular workplace bullying claims, customer complaints, and they weren’t achieving their business goals. Recruitment agencies and temp staff alone were costing them $300,000 per year. Not to mention at least the same amount again in the cost of their high absenteeism, lost clients, legal costs and manager time recruiting, training and managing poor performance.

We have managed to reduce employee turnover from 50% to 10% saving at least $250,000 in direct recruitment and temp staff costs. Plus at least the same again in reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, manager time, and training costs.

Some of the specific strategies used to help reduce employee turnover were:

  • Replaced the manager.
  • Renewed the vision and values through training, reward and performance management.
  • Increased and improved internal communication via team meetings and employee newsletters.
  • Got the basics right – pay and conditions in accordance with modern awards and Fair Work Act, and provided the tools to do their jobs.
  • Introduced a new performance review system – consistent and regular feedback.
  • Training needs identified and training plan implemented.

6-Part Best Workplace Method

The strategies we used to decrease employee turnover are all part of the Best Workplace Method, which is a 6-part framework created around the proven attributes of best places to work.

1. Leader

  • You, as the Leader have the most important role to play in the success of your business. You need to be doing work that you are passionate about and that plays to your strengths. Without this, you cannot inspire others – employees and customers. Take stock of your personal goals, strengths and values.
  • Vision – your business needs an over-riding vision of what it is striving to achieving. Not monetary! For example “Reaching 10% of all Australians with a “gifted experience” was Naomi Simson’s 2015 goal for Red Balloon.
  • Values drive your workplace culture, which drives customer satisfaction, which drives profit. Values come from the business owner, and you should develop behaviours with employees that support the implementation and day-to-day embedding of the values.

2. Culture

  • Use behaviours to embed the values through recruitment, reward and performance management.
  • Communication, communicate and communicate some more. Systemise it to make it happen.
  • Change management – change is ongoing so get good at it.

3. Appointment

  • Establish and promote your employee value proposition.
  • Right job, right person – use a robust multi-faceted process.
  • Onboarding – have a process to get new employees up to speed ASAP.

4. Performance

  • Ensure clarity of expectation that are aligned to your business plan.
  • Regular feedback – don’t wait for the annual review!
  • Quality conversations with their manager.
  • Take a strengths-based approach.

5. Recognition

  • Get the basics right – compliance with modern awards and Fair Work Act.
  • Use non-monetary rewards motivate your people.
  • Reward the right results and behaviours.
  • Invest in training and development to facilitate internal promotions.

6. Wellbeing

  • Ensure a safe workplace physically and mentally that is free from discrimination and bullying.
  • Offer workplace flexibility such as part-time and job share.
  • Invest in the health and wellness holistically to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.

So, how does your business stack up as a great place to work?

If you want to save yourself a whole lot of headaches, money and time then I suggest you get started on creating a great place to work!

Written by Claire Harrison, Author of The CEO Secret Guide to Managing and Motivating Employees, and Managing Director of Harrison Human Resources.

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