A 22 year old female returns from her OE and gets a job in the fashion trade as a supervisor at a shop for a national brand. She is developing leadership skills and within 3 months her abilities are making a difference to the team and business performance. At the same time her immediate manager gets a final warning for his performance and is fired and the young woman finds herself stepping up and managing the shop.
She is told by a visiting regional manager, that the senior management team is in a dilemma because sales under her watch have increased significantly and the shop is no longer haemorrhaging money. Unfortunately the shop lease is up in six months and it was decided 12 months prior not renew the lease. The shop was closed and the staff member moved on to work as an area manager for another company.
So what is the learning?
Today I am in organisational development have learnt the recipe for staff retention and commitment through experience and learning.
High performing organisations are built on people capability; fact. Executive teams know their people are the most important asset and have policies and practices in place to ensure staff commitment. Also many recognise remuneration as important, but know it is seldom the decider when it comes to staying or leaving.
What is more important is for staff to know;
how they make a difference to the business,
how they fit into the big picture, and
what their opportunities are.
Back with our young employee; she would have happily stayed with the company if only someone had taken the time to have a conversation with her. She had never had an induction or a performance review. She would have appreciated if management shared the positive impact of her behaviours, and discussed options for her to grow within the business. But no-one took the time... so she left. 20 years ago, I was that young employee.
In high performing organisations the job descriptions, inductions and performance reviews connect behaviours to the business drivers. In addition they include a thorough explanation of the organisations values and the potential career or development options.
Unfortunately many organisations, like our example, leave their staff feel undervalued, with no idea how their role or actions impact the business’ success and their only option to get ahead is to leave. Why many managers are surprised when their staff leave is the real mystery to me?