Here Are Cheap Ways to Reduce Absenteeism & Turnover

November 20, 2007

Is this a typical scene?
 
Take a close look at the room. This is hardly a 5-star hotel though sometimes it’s the best place in town. I’ve often stayed in places like this but seldom see the same personnel when I return. The fewer the stars, the higher the turnover.
 
Hospitality managers tell me absenteeism and employee turnover are their biggest sources of headaches. They can’t afford to pay much so employees don’t stay long term.
 
Why do they really go? It can’t be about money because they must go somewhere comparable. After all, someone isn’t going to quit their housekeeping job at the local motel to go to work as CFO for a Fortune 500 company. They are probably making a fairly lateral move. The grass is always greener…
 
You can reduce absenteeism and employee turnover without paying higher salaries. The cost of reducing these two problems is nearly nothing. What always amazes me is that so few establishments are willing to experiment with new ideas.
 
I have some suggestions. 
 
One big issue of this type of work is erratic scheduling. People never seem to know their schedules very far in advance and their days off are seldom consecutive. The hours worked per day vary making their pay unpredictable from week to week. The time of day they work often changes from day to day too. And, because of the turnover and absenteeism problem, the good workers are often obligated to cover for the less reliable workers. Would you like a job that paid close to minimum wage, had no set schedule and required you to be always on call?
 
Start by smoothing out the scheduling bumps. Reward your best people with a better schedule. Let them have input about the days and hours they want. That’s a great perk and it’s free. It just takes more work on management’s part.
 
Next, break rules once in a while. Send someone home early with pay because they did a great job the day before. Arrange the schedule to give someone three days off in a row. That will shock them! But do it so it doesn’t hurt their pay.
 
Do little extras. Give a $20 gift card to someone who pleased a guest or came in because someone else failed to show up.
 
Most important of all, ask your people what you can do to make working for you better for them. You’ll be surprised at how easy it will be to improve their morale. And you will reap the benefits.
 
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
 

Chris Reich

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