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Dear Workforce How Do We Encourage Employees to Remain at Physically Demanding Jobs

Turnover is at the highest level in one of our major production sections (sandblast). The work in this department is laborious and difficult, and most of our labor is illiterate and uneducated. People usually leave the job after a few months or so. How could we begin to reduce turnover within our organization, and especially in our sandblast section?
May 4, 2007
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Related Topics: Retention, Dear Workforce
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Dear Sympathetic:

You are asking people to perform difficult work, and that is all. You hire uneducated people who have little chance of improving their lives. You are just using them. How do you expect them to feel, to behave? In this situation, they are also using you. I'll bet you do not pay them very well, either.
Solutions: Honor them for the difficult work they do by paying them more and perhaps giving them special privileges. Offer to teach them, with pay, so they can qualify for better (or easier) jobs in the company. Increase their pay after they have been with the company for one month, two months and three months. If most of these workers are gone before their fourth month, make the bonus at the fourth, fifth and six months
much stronger than in the early months.
Establish a job-rotation system so people in several different jobs can change positions every so often. The changes can take place every month--or every few hours. One manufacturing plant that we helped changed its employees' jobs every two hours. People were more alert; they did not become drowsy doing the same job for too long. Quality went up, safety rates went up, and retention went up. And profit also went up.
Train your supervisors to respect these employees as if they are special, because they must be special to do this kind of job.
SOURCE: Roger E. Herman, the Herman Group, Greensboro, North Carolina, author of Keeping Good People.
LEARN MORE: Please read an earlier Dear Workforce that discusses re-recruitment in the context of curbing turnover.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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