We spend a lot of time cursing the ill effects of turnover. It’s disruptive. It’s expensive. It’s a sign of poor company culture and/or leadership. And while all of these things are generally true, there are certain times when turnover can be a blessing in disguise.
Here are a few examples of when turnover isn’t necessarily a bad thing:
When you’re innovating
Most of us have probably worked in stable, yet stifling, workplaces. You know, the kind where everyone has been there for 20 or 30 years and nobody has much interest in embracing new technologies, roles, or processes. You can tell you’re in an organization or department like this if the first answer to any new idea is an automatic and immediate “No!”
There may have been a time when companies could survive and perhaps even thrive in this sort of culture, but not now. Today’s business pace is super-fast and ever changing. In order to keep up, you may actually need some of your naysayers to hit the road.
As changes make their way into your organization, some of your “No!” folks will naturally opt out. And that’s okay. Don’t fret too much about turnover in this scenario. Concentrate on looking for replacements who are flexible and like a good challenge.
When you’re hanging on to people you shouldn’t be
Underperformers can be tricky. Often, these are fantastic people that you genuinely like. But deep down inside, you know they just aren’t pulling their weight.
Looking the other way may keep you from having some difficult conversations, but ultimately you’ll be undermining your organizational goals and efforts, and risking the health of your business.
No matter how much fun your underperformers may be, their co-workers are eventually going to recognize their behavior patterns and stop laughing. This is a slippery slope that can take you from a couple of underperforming individuals to a team full of resentful, disengaged employees. And that’s an even bigger problem.
Keep in mind that difficult conversations don’t necessarily involve termination. It could be that you’ve got a round peg stuck in a square hole. Sit down with your lackluster employees and see if there are ways to get them motivated again. If so, great! If not, well…
This isn’t the kind of turnover you should lose a ton of sleep over.
When you’re in growth mode
It’s been said that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. This seems to be particularly true for businesses. Growth is an exciting time, but also a volatile one. It involves hiring, change, flexibility, and increased responsibility.
While this would seem like a terrible time to lose people, it can happen. Likely, it will be the risk-adverse who are first to jump ship; those who fear uncertainty or don’t fully buy into the mission. Again, this is a self-selection process that should not necessarily be feared.
When your organization is expanding, you need a team that sees growth as a good thing. They should be onboard with the plan and excited about the possibilities. This is not the time to try to hang onto people who are feeling squeamish. If they want out, leave the door open. Besides, you never know what amazing new person may come walking in.
What kind of turnover do you have?
Yes, turnover can be expensive, disruptive, damaging, and disappointing. But that doesn’t mean all turnover is inherently bad. Sometimes, you need to let go of the things that are dragging your business down, and that could mean accepting a few letters of resignation along the way.
Take a look at your turnover to evaluate who is leaving and why. If it’s underperformers and negative nellies, it could be just the thing you need to move you forward. Not All Turnover is Bad: When Not to Worry HR
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