How Employee Turnover Fueled Boeing’s Quality Control Nightmare | Fortune

Talent Management

Most would agree that managing employee retention and turnover are critical aspects of effective talent management. However, the true impact of undesirable turnover only becomes apparent over time, as observable negative effects on organizational outcomes eventually emerge. This article outlines how aerospace experts suggest that the turnover of experienced workers at Boeing likely contributed to the company’s quality issues, such as the recent blowout of a panel on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX. Experts also point to a demographic shift in Boeing’s union, which witnessed a decrease in experienced workers. For instance, in 2020, there was a loss of 28,000 workers due to a decline in demand for new airplanes amid the Covid pandemic. The industry-wide loss of experienced workers with essential “knowledge” is considered a predictor of future quality problems, given the years it takes to master complex assembly tasks done largely by hand. The loss of experienced workers and key organizational knowledge occurs daily (often unknowingly) in organizations. Thus, it serves as an important reminder for organizations to proactively conduct workforce planning and scenario planning, as well as identify and mitigate various types of workforce risks.