Monday, 5 June 2017

Turnover is not your biggest problem...

...But why not?

To give this blog some context, this blog comes at a time when I've just focused on exit interview data and before I dig deep into the results of a recent pulse survey.

However, let me be upfront, this blog is not about providing answers but about seeking them!

I will though, answer it in part.

The thing I feel makes turnover a comparatively small problem is because it falls into the 'you can't do anything about it' box. Once someone has gone, they're well, gone. The question 'why?' at this point is usually too little, too late.

Yes, it's important to understand why and to try and stem the loss of too many good staff (however you define them in your organisation), but I see so much energy focussed on wondering why people leave an organisations that is wasted because it could be spent focussing on the people who remain...
...In fact, had that have been done, we often wouldn't be in the position of losing (usually/often the good!) people in the first place.

I don't know about your experience, but in mine, exit interviews are often full of examples of people who mentally and emotionally checked out long before they resigned because when we did have them they didn't feel heard, valued, sufficiently rewarded and so on.

Image result for exit interviews

It's as much a problem, when people are asked to/need to leave (re redundancies for example), as it is when people chose to. We focus on the leaver with outplacement, meetings, consultation and more and not the impact on the 'remainers' (Yes, I know that links to another issue but let's not go there!)

Either way, I don't believe organisations do enough to focus on staff who stay and especially those who stay (for now) and are disgruntled, disengaged, cruising, just doing enough, adding little value, bring no fresh thinking, quiet, staid and so on.

Turnover is, in many ways, a good thing. It can mean you've done a lot right (eg trained someone so they're attractive to someone else), it can mean that you've handled what's not right (enabling someone who doesn't fit to move on), it can lead to fresh thinking, give you a chance to restructure a team, or promote others for example.

Even if turnover is a problem for you, it's a great trigger for reflection, understanding and action (if you use it as such).

But there isn't much of an upside, if any, to those stayers who feel and/act as previously mentioned  - the disgruntled, disengaged, cruising-kind etc.

Whilst I appreciate this may not be a large group in your organisation, I can bet you they're the ones that keep you up at night. And let me be clear, they're not always a/the problem either...
...Imagine if we could harness their frustrations and the ideas they have to make things better?
If you've ever seen "Undercover boss" you'll know the type of thing I mean.

So, here's the question - if I've got a point (and feel free to challenge me if this isn't your experience), why do organisations get dragged into understanding turnover more than paying genuine, regular, hard, consistent, high value focus on those employees we have?

Note: I am not saying no attention is paid to an existing workforce, rather than we just let employee life tick along more often than not. Nor is this a reflection on my workplace as opposed to some general curiosity!

Discussion trigger - Thoughts welcome,

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