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In an industry that suffers from 100% annual turnover, Universal Protection Service in Santa Ana, Calif., boasts a much lower rate: 65%.

“Anyone in HR will be aghast at that rate because it sounds horrendous,” admits HR VP Paula Malone, “but compared with the industry average, it’s actually good.”

The reasons for the relatively low turnover: continuous training and on-the-spot recognition.

Each of the organization’s 7,000 employees must complete 26 online training modules a year. Every two weeks, employees get access to a new, two-hour unit on topics ranging from report writing to fire safety to preventing workplace violence. They’re given work time to complete the tasks and then are scored before they can move on to the next module.

The organization’s managers give on-the-spot rewards such as movie tickets and Starbucks gift cards to employees whom they “catch doing something right,” says Malone. Along with the prize, the employee gets a chance to win a $200 gift certificate in a quarterly drawing that includes all on-the-spot winners for three months.

At the end of the year, all winners’ names go into another drawing, and one person wins a trip to the company’s big holiday party, where top executives publicly recognize the winner.

Paula Malone at pmalone@universalpro.com.

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