Monday, January 13, 2014

Re-Post: Office Turnover

One of the great things about a writing a blog, is that you can go back and look at history. History that you would have long since forgotten. While looking back through the archives, I cam across the "Dip Shit" Series...based on the concept of a dip-stick to measure incompetency. This little gem dates from 2005. Thankfully, I no longer work for this organization.

I Am Outta Here

I work in a large organization that has has several departments. The department were I work has a main office and a satellite location. Our main office has about 25 staff and our satellite office to the south has about 10. Both of these offices do the exact same work, but there are subtle differences in the way we get our jobs done. Needless to say, one office does things a little better than the other.

Within our organization, our main office is mostly known for its turnover. We go through about 5 to 6 staff a year. By my calculation, that is about 25% turnover a year. Not a number to be proud of. This is compounded by the fact that the jobs that these people do is extremely complex and high pressure. Back in 2002, the standard was to train new staff for a minimum of 3 months before allowing them to do the job on their own. Because of the high turnover and work coverage issues, the training time frame has been reduced to 3 weeks.

The reasons for the turnover are varied but the main reason has been management's inability to 'manage' the turnover. In the past, when staff left, their work load was spread out among the remaining staff. This is not a good idea when it often times takes 3 months to simply hire a new staff person and another 3 months to train them (the job requires multi-tier interviews and background checks). The end result was that the increased workload on the remaining staff caused a lot of discontent and dissent, which in turn caused more turnover.

After about 5 years of this policy (and between 25 to 125% turnover annually) they finally started figuring out that constantly spreading increased work loads around wasn't a good idea. So the solution was to shorten the training time and throw new staff to the lions with minimal knowledge of the job. Again, not a great way to retain qualified workers.

Today, our most recent hire gave her resignation. She has been here for 2 weeks. She makes the 7th new hire in the last 5 years that has lasted less than 30 days on the job. Where is the dip-shit in all of this? I can't point specific fingers. However, our satellite office to the south turns over about 1 employee every two years. The calculator says that is 1/2% turnover a year. I believe the answers are pretty obvious is someone would just scratch the surface.

In the meantime, I don't even bother to memorize the new workers names until they have been here for at least 6 months.