Reduce Turnover With Realistic Job Previews

Even in a tough economy, turnover in some sectors can be undesirably high. Giving applicants a realistic preview of what a job entails on a day-to-day basis can reduce turnover by making sure the applicant is really a good fit for the job. There is evidence to suggest that a simple lack of knowledge about a job's daily tasks is a big contributor to the turnover that occurs in the first few months on a job.

A study conducted by the University of Florida found that a lack of knowledge about what to expect on a job was "a very powerful predictor" that employees would leave a short time after they had been hired. The study surveyed more than 1,000 employees. Employees who didn't know much about the job they took because they didn't do enough of their own research, or because the company didn't tell them much about the job before they started, were more likely to leave. Some participants in the survey complained that they thought the job they took would help their career or lead to a promotion, but they quickly realized that was not the case. Others reported that they wrongly thought the new job would give them a chance to develop new skills.

Here are some suggestions for implementing realistic job previews:

Have on-site previews led by a trained facilitator.
Tell applicants about any issues that create high turnover (e.g. work schedules, overtime required, working conditions, etc.).
Be completely honest about the worst parts of the job.
Include specific information about the local area for new employees who are relocating.
Build online previews using video technology.
Track the percentage of potential hires that are screened out by job previews.

To develop job previews, involve employees who are already doing the jobs and their managers. Be sure to include the "who, what, where, when, and how" of the jobs. By developing realistic job previews, you should see a positive result of reduced turnover within the workforce.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with workplace issues, including employee retention. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com .