Team work and social learning: Proactive approaches for combatting employee turnover
Increasing rates of employee turnover is an issue that diverse sectors are dealing with. Increasing turnover proportions lead to wasted time spent on hiring and training new employees, less integrated and cohesive teams of workers who lack knowledge and commitment and ultimately directly affects the company’s profits. A prime example comes from the increase in the number of retail workers that planned to leave their jobs in 2014, which rose to 24% (from 20% in 2013), and this number continues to rise. Perhaps more importantly, the numbers of workers who are dissatisfied with their jobs and those who feel poorly trained is also rising. There are a range of factors that contribute to employees’ intentions and decisions to leave their jobs, but it is at least as important to ask: Why do some workers choose to stay?
At the same time as nearly ¼ of the retail workforce is planning to change jobs, it is productive to turn to the 76% of workers who have no intention of leaving their current positions and understand why. Strikingly, more than half of the workers (59%) responded that the main reason they do not plan to change jobs is their “relationships with co-workers” . Researchers and consultants have recently been contributing to a growing body of work that documents the benefits of positive co-worker relationships. Employees should feel engaged not only with the company they work for, but also with each other. Therefore, a key question that employers should be asking is how to prompt positive relations between employees through promoting an interactive and engaged culture within the work environment.
The incorporation of social learning- or learning from those around us- into worker training has emerged as a key strategy for engaging workers in crucial ways. In order to foster a work environment that is conducive to social learning- and one that promotes a social learning culture- it is crucial that the workplace becomes a place where employees feel like they are part of a team. The key issue is how managers and employers define their teams and team building. Team building is the interactive process through which individuals learn about how team members learn and work so that they can work together more efficiently and cohesively. Team building is not only about how people work in their work environments, and it is not only about what can be achieved on the job. It is about team work that leads to people working together to achieve more satisfaction and success through their everyday practices and in their everyday lives. Different companies have different needs, and there are a range of ways that team building can be used to prompt team work and social learning in the work place. Team building can facilitate social interactions and further social learning in large companies that want to bring employees together, in companies that want to unite workers employed in different locations, and more generally, in companies that seek to transform an atomised workplace into a more social, interactive environment.
Ultimately, team building can become a catalyst for a workforce that encourages collaborative, interactive work towards a common goal that everyone can benefit from on numerous levels.