Improving retention

Last time we examined two retention roadblocks - efforts that can cause your staffers to bolt for the door. By always thinking that a solution to an internal problem is to hire someone new or by micromanaging your staff, you can be assured you'll never stop running on the hiring treadmill, says organizational development expert Adrian Savage.

If you are having problems with high staff turnover, Savage says the first step to fixing that problem is deceptively simple - look at yourself. " 'We have 50% labor turnover.' Why?

'Our customers don't like our products.' Why? 'My subordinates hate me.' Why? 'Why?' is the most useful question there is, just keep asking it," Savage says. "It might not be very comfortable, but it will be real. By asking why and finding out what's really going on, at least you'll know what you have to deal with."

Equally important, Savage says, is not jumping to conclusions.

"These are mere assumptions. If you think you're doing all the right things but it isn't working, ask somebody else," he says.

"Is there something I can't see? Is there something I'm not aware of? As long as you keep asking questions you'll eventually get near the answer."

In his white paper, "A Neglected Secret: Improve retention, get better performance at minimal cost," Savage says there are five steps to righting your retention wrongs:

* Recognize that the problems of retention and limited performance are symptoms.

* Find the causes and address them objectively. The symptoms will go away on their own.

* Apply specific antidotes to each cause.

* To ensure that the cures continue to be applied, embed them in the organization's operating systems.

* Reward compliance and discourage anything else.

In the paper, Savage pays particular attention to one turnover antidote of which we all need to be reminded: "Treating employees with respect and allowing them to develop and grow should be so much a part of a civilized society that it should not merit mention. In fact, it is the exception, not the rule."

This statement harkens back to Savages assertion that you first should try to find answers to problems within your own department before you decide to bring someone in "from the outside" to provide a remedy. As he stated last week, your staffers are more likely to be distrustful of an outsider, as well as resentful of that fact that you didn't think they could solve a problem themselves.

Savage's paper is a quick yet meaty read from which you can gather a lot of information and ideas. If you'd like a free copy of this white paper, e-mail with your request.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments