Staff Turnover: What Is It Costing You?

The club industry has employee turnover rates in the high double digits, with some clubs experiencing turnover near 100 percent. That means replacing one person for every person hired every year.

Did you ever stop to think what replacing is costing you? The standard costs involved in replacement (e.g., advertising, interviewing, training, new uniforms, etc.) can easily add up to approximately $1,500 to $2,000 per average hourly employee.

And what about the "hidden" costs of turnover? Employee frustration with having to teach more classes because there's a vacant position? Member aggravation because there's no continuity in classes and training? Lack of improvement/ upgrading because you're just focused on the basics? Some statistics show that when we add in all these factors, we could be spending up to two to three times the annual wage/salary of the position we replace. That's money down the drain!

How do we stop the money drain? We need to find and keep good employees! But how and where?

At the Houstonian Club, we have an annual turnover rate of 12.6 percent. We find one-third of our new hires from referrals from our current employees. No one knows the company, the culture and the expectations better than someone who works here. These employees KNOW who will "fit in," who will be dependable, whom they like working with, whom they respect as a professional, etc. Those are the people we want to interview.

Other applicants come to us because they've heard about the Houstonian. Maybe they've read about us in a newspaper article. Perhaps they are deeply involved in conservation and they've learned about our "green team" and their environmental achievements and awards. Or maybe they participated in the bike-a-thon we sponsored to benefit children with cancer. Whatever the reason, they know about our club, like the people, and want to join the team.

Once you've got them, how do you keep them? We do our best to keep employees once they are hired. We do all the basics: competitive pay, generous benefits, great facilities, etc. But we do much more! We offer biannual bonuses to all part- and full-time employees so they may share in our success. All employees have the opportunity to bring their kids to camp for a week (completely company paid). There are parties and picnics and celebrations - all to say "thank you" for working here.

Is it the perks or is it the culture? Our employees tell us they appreciate all the perks, but what keeps them coming in day after day is the culture. We don't have a big thick policy manual; we have a short simple handbook titled The Com-pass. The Compass literally points us in the right direction; the rest is up to each employee.

Our work environment is built on several principles, including respect and dignity for all employees. Everyone has value and we let them know it!

Another thing about our culture: We encourage balance. Everyone has a personal life. We know it. We accept it.

We want people to balance personal life and work life. Leaving early to go to your son's baseball game is supported, not just tolerated.

All of this adds up to an environment people enjoy coming to every day. Employees have personal relationships with other employees and with members. And with less than 20 percent turnover, our employees have time to get to know each other and our members. That makes the members happy too!


Gina Allen On...

In these quick quotes, Gina Allen, director of human re-sources for the Houstonian, of-fers up advice on attracting and retaining employees.

...Finding Good Employees
"If you don't have an employee referral program, start one! The best source of future employees is current employees. Ask your employees for referrals and then pay them for the ones you hire!"

...Keeping Good Employees
"Recognize your employees for their good work. Thank them individually and collectively every chance you get! We all want to work where we are appreciated!"