Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio September
Back to Basics
By Wayne Outlaw
CUTTING DOWN ON TURNOVER
Enhancing staff satisfaction can keep a planning department
When a top meeting planner quits, the easy reaction is to wish
her well and start scrambling for a replacement. But by asking some
important questions, managers can learn how to make sure no one
else follows her lead.
Why did she leave? Could this have been prevented? What can be
done differently next time to keep an employee? These questions
must be answered to lower turnover and increase job
Although there always are unique reasons employees leave, most
fall within 10 common areas, which give managers a starting point
to address employees' needs.
1. Basic financial need not met. If pay dips below what an
employee needs, and the situation cannot be resolved, she will
leave. Few people accept a lower salary to stay with a company, so
care must be taken to ensure compensation is adequate.
2. Lack of competitive salary. The paycheck not only must meet
an employee's basic needs, it must be at or above competitive
levels for the geographical area, industry and position.
3. Bad benefits. Generous benefits packages are an important
recruiting tool, and inadequate packages can cause employees to
walk. Ensure what is being offered is on par with the
4. Poor communication. Rumors and lack of information can wreak
havoc, not only reducing tenure but damaging job satisfaction and
productivity. Sudden changes in the company's organization also can
hurt. Don't rely on formal communications to get the word out. Take
the time to establish effective, informal, face-to-face contact
5. Negative work environment. How people are treated and how
they interact with each other create the office's atmosphere.
Management must set the tone, define what is acceptable and
facilitate a harmonious workplace. In a booming job market, people
know they do not have to stick around in an uncomfortable
6. Lack of recognition. When employees get no pat on the back
for a job well done, they feel the oversight acutely. Companies
with recognition programs have a better chance of keeping their
employees, especially the talented and motivated ones.
7. Unfair treatment. Good will can be erased in a moment if
employees feel they are not being treated equitably. For example,
if someone thinks work is unfairly distributed or the boss is
showing favoritism, it will negate the recognition efforts and
erode loyalty. If an employee thinks management has changed the
rules or interpreted them to avoid paying a reward, it not only
will build resentment but will destroy trust and loyalty. Even the
perception of inequitable business practices kills trust and causes
8. Unchallenging job content. Boredom causes the most turnover.
Although planning never could be considered boring, a planner
should be given more responsibility as her ability grows.
9. Lack of job security. Mergers, re-engineering and downsizing
have shown employees that their jobs are no longer entitlements.
The value of the position must be re-emphasized to build job
10. Life conflicts. Organizations must recognize their
employees' need to balance their work and personal lives. Those who
ignore this trend will continue to experience significant turnover.
If a choice has to be made between work and personal life, work
Managers can be proactive. Discover planners' real level of job
satisfaction and identify areas of dissatisfaction. Use executive
interviews in smaller organizations and employee attitude surveys
in larger organizations to pinpoint problems and find ways to
resolve them before a key staff member disappears.
Wayne Outlaw, based in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., is author of
Smart Staffing: How to Hire, Reward, and Keep Top Employees for
Your Growing Company (www.SmartStaffing.net).
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