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Talent's Revolving Door

by Dr. M Marie Sanders


High turnover can be devastating to the bottom line of any organization. Yet, despite our best efforts, often our most valuable employees leave. How can we do a better job of retaining valuable employees?

These are among the most common reasons company retention efforts fail, even when they're implemented by capable, caring people.

Reacting rather than responding.

Assessments are not performed, so ineffective solutions are chosen. In their hurry to correct a costly problem, organizations often forgo conducting a relatively brief and cost-efficient assessment. Implementing solutions on a trial and error basis without diagnosing who is leaving, and why they're leaving often results in solutions that are incapable of solving the root causes behind turnover. Diagnosing the reasons behind turnover always pays for itself. Don't start without an assessment.

Failing to ascertain the actual problem leads to selection of ineffective solutions as well.

It's fairly easy to jump to conclusions or to view the symptoms of problems as the actual problem. Search for the potential cause of the problem. Liberal use of the question "why?" is often helpful. For example, if employees who are leaving say they are getting higher pay at a competitor, ask if pay is the only reason. Another way to ask would be, "If the pay was the same here, would you still want to go?"

Or you may ask, "What other parts of their offer entices you?"

Implementing too many solutions instead of the most effective solutions.

Managers often brainstorm a number of plausible solutions. Then, simultaneously implement many of them -- especially those favored by senior management. However, what is most needed is to select and implement a limited number of solutions which will be most effective at solving the problem. Implementing too many solutions, even good ones, will diffuse your resources and weaken your efforts and success. Consider the use of a problem-solving tool a like Pareto Chart to determine the solution that will yield the highest result.

"Managers often brainstorm a number of plausible solutions. Then, simultaneously implement many of them -- especially those favored by senior management."

No way of measuring success to know what works.

How do you know which retention solutions you've implemented are working effectively and which aren't, where you need to make refinements, and what strategies you need to drop if you don't have a way of measuring your results? Select before and after measurements (taking a sample of each) that will help you know -- rather than guess -- what is working and what's not.

Retaining staff requires learning what's important to your employees. Take the time to get to the bottom of the turnover.

Retain and gain!

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About the author

Dr. M Marie Sanders

Dr. M Marie Sanders (USA)

Ms. Sanders holds an MBA and a Doctorate and has 30+ years of business experience in privately held businesses and non-profit organizations. She was a professor for the University of Central Oklahoma teaching undergraduate and MBA classes in the college of business (Leadership and Human Resource Management) and holds real estate broker licenses in two U.S. states.


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