DNA Discrimination Bill set to go into Law.... Good News and Bad News...
Tribune Company Rescinds $100/month Penalty For Smokers, Keeps Spousal Carve Out...

Are Frontline Employees Fully Expendable? Isn't the "Same" really "Lame"?

If you've ever worked in a retail or consumer call center situation, odds are you've seen some employee turnover.  Depending on pay levels, the specific industry, and local economic conditions, it's not unusual to see annualized turnover at 100% in those sectors.

As HR Pros, we're conditioned that high turnover is never acceptable.  Most of us take it personally.

Is it possible, depending on the conditions you face (pay levels, industry and the local ecomomy), thatFast_food_2 you shouldn't take high turnover as a personal challenge as a HR Pro?  Additionally, if you don't invest much in the upfront training of those associates, have you made a business decision that high turnover is OK?

More on the value of high entry-level turnover from the Workforce Institute:

"Unless your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or point of difference is Exceptional Customer Service (like Nordstrom, BMW, Ritz Carlton, and the Container Store), there’s no reason to sweat it when you lose frontline employees. Most likely, they were not that good anyway because, truth be told, you haven’t invested a lot of money in your hourly hires and even the training you provided, if any, didn’t cost much. In fact, their replacements will probably be just as good and may be even better than those you lose. New employees are excited about their new jobs and will probably have a better attitude and try harder - at least for the first three-to-six months. On top of this, employee turnover will probably reduce your labor costs because you won’t have to fund any benefit programs for a while. And there’s no need to worry if the new hire doesn’t know very much because the customers don’t expect them to know much when customer service is not your USP. You may even want to have new people wear a button that says: “I’m new. Please help me help you.”

It's an interesting take, and hard to deny the investment piece.  If you don't invest much in service-oriented new hires, have you already made your choice from business perspective.  Should you be pointing that out as an HR Pro?

Still, it's hard as a consumer, who is also an HR Pro, to let go of the fact that exceptional service is important.  Thoughts?  Should business be giving up on entry-level turnover, or should they be fighting to be memorable?

I guess it depends on the business plan - and how you plan to make money...



This must be Charter Cable's philosophy.

Now I understand. Save a buck, have crappy service. High turn-over, no money from me!

It make cents!

Joyce Maroney

Kris -
Thanks for visiting our site.

The piece the quote above is referencing is tongue in cheek in order to make the point that organizations that rely on frontline workers should invest in making them effective - which may also help them retain these same workers.

If you're going to be at SHRM in June, I'd love to buy you a cup of coffee....

Kris Dunn

Joyce -

I was 50/50 on whether you guys would drop by to clarify it was satire. That's OK, I opted to drop it in, because candidly that's the way a lot of organizations feel about and treat turnover.

Somewhere there is a business model that outlines everything included, but it's not toungue in cheek.

Sad.... But it's still a good contrast to explore....

The comments to this entry are closed.