Monday, February 25, 2013

Cost of turnover for your organisation

Employee retention … you can’t afford not to?

Last year I was sitting in a business meeting which included a CEO, hearing how there is never enough time in the day. How meetings always started late, how commitments were never met because there simply wasn’t enough time. The conversation went on for a while until one member of the conversation threw down her pen and said ‘We all have the same amount of time. We all have 24 hours in the day. Time goes no more quickly or slowly for me or you. It is about priorities. This is a culture that accepts lateness, and so being on time is not a priority.’

Highlighting the cost of turnover in organisationsAnd that pretty much stunned the conversation and it drew to an early close.

This conversation really stuck in my mind because so often when a colleague or friend says they want to do something, but there is no imminent urgency or deadline, when you later ask them about it, they’ll usually tell you that they didn’t because they didn’t have enough time.

But is it about time, or is it about priority?

Now imagine that you are delayed doing something because there was no immediate urgency today. So you waited, and then the cost of doing it went up. And next month it went up again. Every month you did nothing, and it cost you more and more again.

Sounds crazy but this is exactly the case for organisations with an employee turnover problem who do not give time to a retention focus now. Nothing is done today. Nothing is done tomorrow. Someone resigns and there is now the effort and cost of replacing them and re-training their replacement.

So you get busy on recruitment. Meanwhile someone else resigns because they feel invisible. And another and another. Suddenly you are busy backfilling orders for warm bodies with both visible and hidden costs of turnover sky-rocketing through the roof. Managers are focused on re-training, peers are away from their usual roles doing re-training. Clients meet a new contact every 3 to 6 months. Does this sound familiar?

If this sounds insurmountable, in fact, nothing could be easier and more natural than wanting to create the environment for retention to flourish. It starts with being more proactive.

The mind boggles at the unnecessary waste of time and dollars in attrition. Not even to mention the poor cultural outcome that falls out too. ‘I’m not going to bother going to Joe’s farewell drinks, there’ll just be another one next week’. Which is something we hear a lot of. Imagine how that impacts on your team, particularly the client-facing employees. How are they speaking about your organisation?

Proactive retention is like oxygen for your workplace. No matter what is going on out there in finance, engaging your team is essential to the health and future of your entire organisation.

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