The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Friday, March 18, 2011


A Human Resource professional was recently reviewing his organization’s turnover report at a Board of Directors meeting. One of the group’s divisions had experienced an increase in turnover (from 15 to 20 employees representing more than a 5% increase). The turnover, attributed to unreasonable work schedules and a non-competitive pay structure, had many on the Board concerned that a continued exodus of good people might cripple the Organization in the middle of its transition to a new business model. While the “surface” seemed to be turbulent based on his summary analysis, the answers to several questions helped still the waters a bit:

  • How many of the 20 individuals leaving were “truly valued” employees? (Answer: 5)
  • What was the average tenure of those leaving? (Answer: 7 Years)
  • Did the switch in business model have anything to do with increased turnover? (Answer: We DO expect more from our employees and put more pay at risk than ever before but they have not complained much about it.)
  • Have you compared your BENEFITS and PERSONAL TIME OFF POLICIES with the organizations to which your employees went? (Answer: We cannot compete with (fill in the blank) organization. They pay whatever it takes so we do not have the slightest chance to retain people.)

Unmitigated turnover can cripple an organization BUT the insidious problems caused by “wrongful hiring” can poison an organization from the inside. Pay is often the easiest thing to blame for turnover BUT working conditions, management/supervisory leadership style, work schedules and even a shift from “stable income” to “pay at risk” often causes more turnover than does pay. A high turnover rate among employees having 7 years service should focus us more on what is different with where we have been than on the bright promise of where we might be going.

It is amazing how many “negative” issues have a positive aspect – how many dark clouds have a silver lining. Never take issues at face value without first seeking clarification or expansion. We can usually find the “cause” for any “effect” – but we must first seek or we will never find!