So much turnover, How to improve our training process?

Causes of Employee Turnover - Your Opinion (Multiple Choice)

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Involved In Discussions
We are really struggling with finding and keeping new employees. We generally have a 2.5% unemployment rate in the area, so everyone that wants a job is already employed.

We start all employess out in the same area. It is hot in here and they actually have to do some physical labor. We start everyone out on second shift, usually moving to dayshift quickly. So, some people dont make it past lunch. Others make it a week. But the turnover rate is 44%.

How can we make this better with our training program? Do you have a top notch training program you can share?

We have decided to walk them out to the floor to see how hot it is and to see the actual job they will be performing during the interview process, instead of later during orinentation. We are going to make a training video of the operation which is much less boring than reading work instructions.

We are struggling with competent people to actually train the new hires. Most of the workers have only been here less than 3 months. Do your supervisors do the training/ observation of the new hires? Do you have coworker mentors doing the training?

thanks for any help you can give me.


Quite Involved in Discussions
We had this issue at a previous company, so I was assigned by the operations manager to address it. We had 100% turnover every year for many years. This was a company with 125 floor production personnel. Little did I know at the time that this was actually a planned thing by the owner of the company who believed this kept his operating costs down. I don't know as I did not stay long enough to find out.
What I did was after orientation walkthroughs and safety training, I gave the applicant an anonymous survey asking if we covered things to their satisfaction and if there were any things they would have like to see covered that were not. Then after a week of working, I handed out another one, largely the same questions, but with emphasis on teh job they were doing and the relationships with other workers and the supervisors. These were anonymously dropped in the suggestion box with everything else, so there was no pressure. If they still were there after 3 weeks I gave out another one. We then compiled all the answers to determine what was wrong and where. Most felt ignored by the supervisors and had no one to ask questions of. This led to an "orientation week" where I worked with them through the first week. We gradually reduced the rate (I forgot how much) before I ran afoul of the big boss (the owner), who basically told me to knock it off.


Looking for Reality
Just a thought...possibly just semantics (if so, sorry)...but perhaps indicative of the baser problem.

It doesn't sound like you have an issue with a training program if folks don't make it past lunch...or even a week.
It sounds more like the perception of the job sucks.

You can have the best training program in the world, but if I hate the job it won't matter...I'm looking elsewhere.

Rather than looking at the training program, how can you make the job itself more appealing? Or if it isn't the job itself, how the job is presented?
Then worry about including how great the job is into the training program.

Good move to disclose more during the interview. Have the tour done by your happiest employee on the floor...and give him a raise.

:2cents:, HTH


Staff member
Along with Ninja's good points...

Do you know precisely why turnover rate is so high? Is the pay not commensurate with the conditions? Saying... you job could even be... 75 cents higher per hour than minimum wage. But I would still choose to work at McDonalds. However.... $1.50 above minimum... now we're talking.

Maybe before you spend time/money on anything, do some simple exit interviews (ask them before they walk out the door.. :) ) and find out why they are leaving. The answers might be blunt, but at least you know what you're dealing with.
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Retired Old Goat
Staff member
My opinion is with a 2.5% unemployment rate in your area, employee turnover will not be affected by training.

Typically employee retention comes down to wages and benefits, even more than the conditions they work under (such as high heat, dirty environment, etc.). Unfortunately, in today's market for employees few companies can compete if they raise wages in an effort to retain workers, so automation is typically the only answer.


A problem shared...
Staff member
Super Moderator
I'm also interested to know how it was decided that the training is to blame? I'd ask about the hiring process first...
I feel like an echo here, but I have to go along with what so many have said already - training does NOT result in employee retention.

I look at employees as two seperate groups of people: the first group is people just entering the workforce. They don't really know what to expect or what they want, but they respond well to money. Perhaps a cash inducement for retention after 3 months/6 months/12 months (doesn't have to be a large one). Possibly tie it in with an attendance bonus - perfect attendance for 3 months gets another cash bonus.

The second group of people is the mature worker - they have a much better idea of what they want. Yes, they like the paycheque just like the first group, but also important to them are things like benefits, RRSP contributions, company paid safety glasses/safety boots, etc. And even MORE important than that (IMHO) is the feeling of accomplishment - of being recognized for doing a good job, of feeling like they actually matter to the company.

A training program can't address any of the issues above, and maybe its outside the scope of what YOU can do, but its something to consider.

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