We as employers are facing problems retaining key employees and keeping employee morale at a positive working level. This phenomenon is a new challenge seeking an affordable and implementable solution.
I believe that telecommuting is a solution that should be considered to solve both employee morale issues and key employee retention issues. These issues are well documented in the 2008-2009 Northrop Grumman exit survey results. The results of 500 exiting employees of 5 years or less tenure documented their desire for an alternate work schedule and more succinctly, telecommuting.
The definition for telecommuting or telework can be summarized as the process of working from a home environment through electronic methods, utilizing the home phone system, computer, blackberry cell phone, fax machines, net meeting and other modern electronic devices.
Employees indicate an interest in telecommuting, so what are employers to do? A place to begin is identifying potential candidates or job types for consideration. There should be consideration for the standing army of employees who have been commuting to the workplace from their start date of employment. In many cases these are the same employees who have moved 30 - 50 miles away from their work place due to housing affordability. A legitimate argument by employers is that the decision of moving out is on the employee and that it doesn’t fall within their responsibility.
I would absolutely agree with the employer’s position, it’s not their problem that employees have chosen to live further out causing them a long arduous commute. There is data to indicate that the employer has been hurt by the employee’s poor attendance and health risks. Northrop Grumman human resources has assessed from the 2008 attendance analysis that about 12% may be caused by the stress of the long commute to the workplace.
An area for Northrop Grumman to explore is the cost of high turnover of employees. There is the impact of training that must be provided for each new employee and when the retention of employees is not effective this cost can be quite dramatic.
The continuous loss of employees (retention issues) is a large cost impact to any employer who is paying to sustain a solid, capable workforce. Northrop Grumman spent over $2.8M for the El Segundo site in 2008; this represents 23% of the total training cost. This cost is addresses the turnover requirements. I believe that if we were to offer telecommuting to those potential exiting employees they might consider staying. This would be a cost benefit to the employer such as Northrop Grumman.
I further agree with Pophal that if telecommuting were offered as a solution, morale could be improved for the employee (Pophal, 2001). Of course, the type of job does have to meet certain selection criteria to support it as a good candidate
Today’s fuel costs have put a great deal of pressure on the commuting employee and they are looking for ways to cut corners. An alternative...