Employee turnover rate is an increasing issue in today’s economy, especially for corporations that rely on front-line employees to interface with customers. Here’s how to reverse turnover rates and connect all levels of employees.
A game of broken telephone will break your company culture.
I’ve worked with many corporations who have customer-facing enterprises, and I’ve been shocked by the lack of communication between c-suite executives and entry-level or front-line workers.
Don’t get me wrong: Corporate often thinks they’re communicating to their front-line employees, but rarely in a way that really helps them understand why so many organizational changes are happening.
This leads to a wave of employee dissatisfaction and high-rates of turnover—which quickly creates a poor experience for the customer and eventually, loss of business to a competitor—or to Amazon, where customers don’t have to interact with anyone.
But never fear! With better communication and more intentionality, the relationship between storefront and boardroom can be repaired, reversing your employee turnover rate and leading to more growth than ever.
Whether you spend forty hours a week in a corner office or behind the cash register, here’s how you can repair the disconnect.
1. Re-frame change.
Far too many corporations talk about change negatively—like it’s an uphill battle employees have to fight.
Although big changes are challenging, they’re definitely going to be more challenging if no one is excited about them.
And if management isn’t excited about it, why would any other employees be?
Change management is the new leadership, and if the new restaurants you’re building or the products you’re retiring really are going to make the future of your company better, shout it from the rooftops!
Corporations spend millions of dollars every year to create fun, engaging ads to pull in potential clients—why don’t they invest half as much in creating fun, engaging events and programs to get their employees excited about the changes taking place?
Big events are a great way to get your employees excited and united about your goals, especially if you take time to listen to what they have to say. If you want to create events that get your people excited about change, download my free guide to 5 Things All High-Impact Conferences Have in Common.
When you re-frame change by saying “come on this adventure” rather than “come endure this difficulty,” I promise you will see more employee buy-in.
2. Put yourself in the other level’s shoes.
Imagine this: You’re a single parent working 40 hours a week on the front lines of the service industry to provide for your two young kids. You’re doing your best to serve your customers and make your managers happy—when out of nowhere, you get a message from corporate that they’re remodeling your store, which will take about two months. Until then, you’ll have to commute an extra 30 minutes on the bus to a different location of the same store.
Now imagine this: You’re an executive decision-maker of a major customer-facing business, and you notice that your profit margin is shrinking and a competitor of yours is growing at a rapid rate. Their brick-and-mortar is significantly newer than yours, and you realize that If you don’t make changes now, you’ll have to start closing down your stores and putting people out of jobs. You decide to rebuild and renovate to keep up with your competitors.
While the front-line worker might feel like the executive team is just trying to make their life miserable, they’re really just working ahead to keep the company afloat. And while the executive may feel like their front-line employees are resistant to change, they’re really just trying to balance their demanding work and family schedules.
Even if you yourself started your career in the front lines, so much has changed now that you need to go back to fully understand it. If you’re higher up in an organization and you really want to fix your turnover problem, try literally putting yourself in a front-line worker’s role for a day (think undercover boss) and see what you notice.
3. Build a two-way communication street.
According to a report from Salesforce, employees who feel that their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to do their best work.
I think most of us understand this concept when it comes to interpersonal communication. We never give our friends monologues without allowing them to say a word! Instead, we ask them questions, they ask us questions, and we take turns talking.
Somehow, this concept often gets lost when it comes to corporate communications and thousands of employees.
First, it’s important that management communicates why big changes are being made to the whole company. All levels of employees are smart enough to understand, and they deserve to know why they have to make major adjustments.
Second, it’s crucial that management listens to their front-line employees, especially the ones that interact every day with the customer.
Sales reps hear the reasons why people don’t buy your service.
Customer service representatives know exactly what issues people are having with your product.
Cashiers are face-to-face with your customers every day, and they know what your customers have trouble finding or wish you had in stock.
Because of their direct experience, your customer-facing employees may have the most practical, effective solutions to your business problems, simply by virtue of interacting with those problems in a tangible way.
For example: When my son Noah was in high school, he worked at a local movie theater. When a new company bought out that theater, they took away the perks that employees had previously had to watch a certain number of movies for every number of shifts they worked.
Noah noticed that people started quitting and that they were significantly less engaged with customers even when they stayed. Ultimately, Noah became disenchanted with the whole experience and put in his two weeks as well.
Imagine how many good employees the theater could still have had they talked to Noah before making changes!
In order to manage change well, decision-makers must listen to data sets and their front-line employees. Otherwise, the employee turnover rate will become their new biggest problem.
If a game of broken telephone will break your company culture, an open wavelength of communication will build employee buy-in, which will engage your customers and ignite your sales like never before.
Whether you’re an executive, working a cash register, or someone in between, it’s up to you to pick up the phone and make your voice heard.
Want to inspire your employees? Have them listen to my podcast, The Next 24 Hours.
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.