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I joined VietnamWorks on 23rd of Oct 2013. I received two departments of technology and product. Before I go through the strategies I used to reduce employee turnover, having an insight on turnover rate of these departments over years:

  • 2011, technology department was 11% and product 48%
  • 2012, technology department was 40% and product 0%
  • 2013, technology department was 32% and product 141%

Basically I got two departments that clear was in crisis situation in terms of employee turnover. As soon as joined for the new year, I merged these two departments into engineering, here is the result of our strategies:

  • 2014, engineering department was 18%
  • 2015 year to date, is 6%

Our firm hired Dale Carnegie to measure employee engagement and engineering was by far the best and most engaged department in VietnamWorks. 

Alright, these are the 6 Strategies we used to Reduce Employee Turnover

1. Firing. It was very sad and difficult choice to make however you can be fair and fire your employees like paying them few months salary, helping them to find other jobs and some other benefits. But I had to discontinue with few employees. As the old saying goes, “a stitch in time, saves nine.”; Sometimes even when you follow the advice above, you get an employee who—no matter what you try to do—just doesn’t fit.

2. HiringVietnamWorks is an online business however because of instability issues in employee turnover of engineering (technology and product), this department had been out of focus of business. This is an oxymoron. Online business means technology (getting things done) and product (delivering values to users). So I decided to hire the best of bests, the folks who are much better than myself such as Eduardo and Duc to ensure the current team (who had great members like Lan, Ninh, Son, Tan, Ha, Lanh, Ly and others) is getting stronger.

3. Compensation & Benefits. I was lucky to have leaders who understood the situation. I ensured that we are paying employees the fair going wage (or better) and offered them competitive benefits. Technology and Product are the most high demanding industries in market otherwise, or—really—who can blame them for ditching us? 

4. Freedom. We have Unlimited Annual LeaveHealth Tracking Wearables,Innovation Accountingholacracy and Innovation Time Off. All these engagement programs provided a freedom that helped each of our employees to achieve autonomy and purpose and ultimately a freedom fosters creativity.

5. Employees Happiness. Happiness may sound a bit soft and squishy to many executives, but the numbers behind it are anything but. Employee happiness is a key indicator of job satisfaction, absenteeism and alignment with values–just for starters. Investing in the happiness of your employees will pay dividends in engagement, productivity and yes, retention. It was (still is) extremely challenging to persuade executives to let you make your own employees happy.

6. Vision. One key factor in employee engagement and happiness, according to experts, is to provide them with a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. Offer employees a strong vision and goals for their work and increase their sense of belonging and loyalty to your organization. I offered (and still will) visions that make them excited and eager to learn more. Trust me, it is one of the most challenging practices to implement, getting all of my employees, executives and other departments heads on-board is like mission impossible. No matter how many successful cases you have in your firm, for each new vision you need to start all over again and again.

If you do these practices right and if you recognize your intrapreneurs, you can have sustainable business growth.

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