It has long been said that people don’t leave companies, they leave their manager. This is truer now, more than ever.
Years ago, during the ‘job for life’ economy when the businesses that were in operation were better able to dominate their space, managers held a significantly higher level of power over the career trajectory of an individual. Of course, now due to the ‘digital information economy’, the scales lean more towards the individual having a great deal more say over their destiny due to the vast amount of options available to them.
Depending on your industry, the levels of talent available will fluctuate. In my industry; sales, there has always been a dearth of great talent. Therefore, modern Sales leaders must think more progressively about losing the talent that their company has invested hundreds or even thousands of pounds on.
When this is coupled with the fact that leavers can easily leave a negative review for your business on staff satisfaction websites such as Glassdoor or social media (which could make it more difficult for you to attract great people in future). It is important to rethink how your business handles the leaving process and more importantly, how they attempt to keep hold of talent.
Here are a number of tactics that I see being utilised in sales organisations.
Why not subtly re-interview the member of staff at the point of them handing in their notice. By having a more senior member of staff re-qualify the individual on their aspirations and expectations, the company can show the staff member that ‘we care’. This is also a chance to ask the individual what they feel the company hasn’t done and what feelings are leading them to feel unfulfilled in their role. Furthermore, if the potential leaver thinks that this is the company clutching at straws; utilising an internal celebrity manager will allow you to take advantage of the, ‘we have brought the big hitter out’ method. This can cause surprise which could lead to them thinking twice about the initial decision.
If the senior staff member or members believe that it is worth working to keep the talent in question, it may be worth transferring the talent to a department where they can have more of an effect, with a promise to move them into a leadership provided they achieve certain agreed criteria. New and personalised incentives could be the catalyst to new and greater levels of performance.
Very often, if the candidate still likes the company and its internal values are actually aligned with the culture that they signed up to be a part of, they will really sit and consider your proposal. If there is someone in another department that would be open to change then try to arrange a department swap.
Lack of empathy?
One person leaving the company is an excellent opportunity for senior management to gain an first hand idea as to what the working environment is like for staff. If one staff member leaves because they have been offered an incredible opportunity elsewhere then there is nothing to worry about. If a pattern is evident through analysing turnover data, then it is likely that the management of that department is leaking staff through their inability to connect with them. Maybe the manager could use some Emotional Intelligence coaching.
Whatever your organisation’s process is for reviewing performance is, try scheduling a ten minute ‘off the record’ chat with your staff a week. Not only does this build serious personal rapport, but it will also give the manager an excellent picture as to how the staff member is constituted emotionally. Are they an up or down person or fairly level? This will allow you to anticipate staff frustration before it hits boiling point; notice letter day.