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Are You Driving Your Best People Away?

I've noticed recently a number of very close friends leaving certain organizations in droves. These organizations had a fantastic reputation of past engagement but recently have begun to slide when it comes to employee retention.

It got me thinking about statistics that are bandied about out there in the universe.

Gallup stated in a 2015 survey that "50% of Americans have left a job to get away from their manager at some point in their career.”

"68% of employees would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel supported by more senior employees" - Staples workplace survey results

Finally, Jobvite found that "61% of U.S. adults look for career development opportunities when considering employment opportunities"

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having a rotten boss or been a part of a lackluster organization you know how quickly you can be driven off to a new opportunity. In fact, many of the colleagues I mentioned above were reasonably content, high performing, loyal team members before the organizational and leadership shift.

Have you noticed this happening with organizations you follow closely or maybe your organization in particular? When I see the best people within an organization quit in great numbers, I begin to worry about the business's future.

When those you depend upon most leave your organization in large numbers, you will find yourself vulnerable to service and execution miscues. After all, the sum of your service will never be greater than the talent you have to deliver it.

Are you noticing a talent migration out of your organization?

Here are the questions you need to be asking yourself to determine if you are doing the very best job of engaging and retaining your service stars.

Where are they going? Exit interviews have their place but can be unreliable. Best to look at where your talent is going and see what makes those organization so attractive. There is "something" that is luring people away. And this is an excellent time to talk about money. Most organizations lie to themselves that it doesn't matter - but it does. All things equal team members will go to an employer that treats them the best; however, you must know what the market is paying and be within an acceptable range.

Are you recognizing and rewarding those who deliver? It has become cliche to talk about employee recognition when considering engagement. Try this: stop talking so much about it and start doing more with it. I know most leaders are tired of hearing about it, but this is a hell of their own making. Even if you can't get behind appreciation because it makes your team feel good and builds loyalty, then think about it from a different perspective. What you reward and celebrate will be repeated by your team, so use it to codify the behaviors you want people to embrace.

Are you providing opportunities for your high potential team members to take the next step in their careers? This could mean training and development or outright promotions. I think it's wildly ridiculous the way organizations treat their very best team members. Organizations have come to love saying "you are ultimately responsible for your own development." They are partially right. It is a two way street and one that most organizations are avoiding. If you are not building capacity within leaders through projects, training, and stretch opportunities then you are heading for a talent vacuum. You must also have a plan for team members and not keep it a secret. Keep in mind that your high performers are likely doing their part with self-development, but you have to pony up resources to hone skills and provide opportunities to advance if you want to keep your best talent.

Does your culture embrace treating people well? Finally, is your business a good place to work? Do you micromanage or over-critique? Is infighting and cutthroat behavior tolerated? Do you consider workload and enablement? This is something that I hear about over and over again as I work with organizations. Often the culture of an organization does not foster teamwork or individual accountability and that can lead to imbalanced workload and poor peer relationships. Moreover, team members who are not given the tools or resources to do their jobs, and then micromanaged by a critical boss, will often bolt for better opportunities. So take that hard look at your organization to understand if you are fostering a culture of people first.

It can't be said vigorously enough, that every service organization is dependent on its people to deliver world class experiences.

You can't delight and amaze if you don't have delightful and amazing people - and the only way to retain them is to prioritize their experience as well.

Thanks for keeping your customers at the center of everything you do.


Tony Johnson, CCXP Customer Experience (CX) Leader | Author | Speaker

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