Are you in danger of losing your best talent?
“Can I run something by you?” Ted asked. He and I worked together for several years. He’s a successful seller in an industry he loves. He survived the high turnover and is one of two senior sellers. He called because he was considering leaving the company, but not the industry. He was not considering leaving to go to a market that had a better economy, and not going to the group that was number one in the market. He had no promises of getting the top account list at the new company. Yet, he was considering leaving after 17 years. Why?
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
After a brief conversation it was obvious that it wasn’t the money, the incentives or the benefits -- the things we normally expect would be the tipping point -- that caused Ted to consider leaving. No, in a word, it was culture. Ted said of his potential new employer, “Just walking in the building felt different. It felt like a family. I doubt my current manager even knows my wife’s name, but these new people want to welcome us both into the family.”
Are you in danger of losing your top people? Are you sure?
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, in their book, First, Break All The Rules, share some stunning research on employee retention/satisfaction. The book is based on Gallup Organization’s interviews of more than 80,000 managers at all levels, in companies of all sizes.
Buckingham and Coffman suggest that much of conventional wisdom should be ignored. They provide four keys for unlocking the potential of your employees.
1. Select employees based on talent rather than experience or intelligence.
2. Evaluate performance based on desired outcomes rather than direct control over the way the worker performs their job.
3. Reject conventional wisdom that “people can be fixed.” Instead, focus on the strengths of your people and manage around their weaknesses.
4. Find the right fit for your employees’ talents. Avoid conventional wisdom that promotion is the only just reward for high performance. This leads to an organization where everyone is ultimately promoted to their level of incompetence.
Can you handle the truth?
Gallup Organization has isolated the 12 characteristics of a strong workplace as seen through the eyes of the most successful and productive employees. These 12 questions should be used as an initial measuring stick to determine how you’re doing. Here are the first four questions:
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the equipment and material I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
Talk about ignoring conventional wisdom. There’s not a single question in the 12 that has to do with compensation, benefits, or vacation time.
It’s no secret that companies where employees can answer the 12 questions in the affirmative dramatically outperform, not only in retention and job satisfaction but also in productivity, revenue growth and profitability. This is important stuff.
Ted decided to go to the new company. They were in the same market, the same industry, and he’s doing exactly the same work. The difference, however, is dramatic. He has a completely different attitude and passion about what he's doing now because of the new culture. What a pleasure it is talking to someone who not only loves what he is doing, but loves where he is doing it.
Do your employees love what they are doing, and where they are doing it? If not, you’re in danger of losing them. Are you willing to ask the 12 questions? We created a PDF of all 12 questions. Shoot me an email and I’ll send them.
Think Big, Make Big Things Happen!
Jeff Schmidt is SVP of Professional Development for the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-753-6765. Other ways to connect: Twitter: @JeffreyASchmidt or LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/schmidtjeffrey.