Why we can’t Keep Staff; They like Quitting

If you think this might be your next staff uniform you have a problem

Why we can’t Keep Staff; They like Quitting

Then again we already knew that, what we want to know how to stop the tide of employees that are leaking out of our business.

If we work in a place that has “high turnover” our problems may be rooted deeper that we think, we may have an expectation curve that exceeds most people’s (or at least the ones that we are hiring) learning agility.

Here is the theory, people have a certain capacity for handling stress, some more that others; it helps to think of it like a bucket.  Some have larger stress buckets that can hold more than others, and some have smaller buckets that fill up and overflow much quicker.

Ok but what does that have to do with our problem of vanishing employees?  Well there is one of two problems, either we are hiring people with buckets that are too small and unable to handle our expectations or we are filling our employee’s buckets too full to overflowing.

Option 1: Look for Larger Buckets

It’s very tough to hire for intangible features like how large a person’s stress threshold is, or how close they are to hitting it right now, however there are some ways to explore this.

The past behaviour style of interview can help us get straight to heart of the matter.  Questions such as:

Tell me about a time at work you were under a lot of stress and you reacted in a way you know now was unacceptable.  What would you do differently now?

Describe an event at work where you had to make a quick decision with little to know information and how it worked out.

Option 2: There is no bucket big enough.

The flip side of the coin is there simply many not be buckets large enough in the pay grade we’re offering to handling our business expectations, so unless we want to pay more to attract more suitable employees we’ll need to consider filling their buckets less.

What does that look like?  Humans are a flight or flight species so if we are losing employees at an unacceptable rate then we need to ask our self or our staff the question;

What happened before they Quit?  Why did they Quit?

We may get any number of responses, but it will boil down to these categories:

Lack of training – they (our absent staff) had no idea what was expected of them and ended up standing around until someone told them something to do, or as our managers classify them; No Initiative.  Understand it’s still our businesses fault for not training them adequately because if we want employees who have the knowledge and skills to take the initiative; we are again talking about a higher pay class or better training.

Bad Management – when the tide of employees leaving continues unabated and our frontline management team can offer us a satisfactory explanation to what happened, there is a good chance they have a communication problem.  Either they don’t connect with their direct reports or do not communicate effectively with them.  This will be especially relevant if we are receiving a lot of complains or the management team has a lot of fights with our staff.  Our staff in this case may have the experience and initiative that we need but rigid systems or inflexible management style are actually holding them down and filling their bucket.

At the end of the day, if we are losing staff faster than we can hire them we are expending a considerable amount of our businesses energy on the churn rate, rather than where we should be to grow and improve our business.

It’s time to investigate the challenges and put some structure in place that does not send people running for the door.

As always I am Dave Williams, your business steward and I hope you’ve found a valuable idea inside the Idea Vault.

Dave Williams is a business speaker and coach, writer and author of the business blog “The Idea Vault” which hosts million dollar ideas just ready for you to share, it can be found at https://thecodeis1234.wordpress.com and “The Books of Origo” a series of short fantasy tales that can be found at http://worldoforigo.wordpress.com

You can e-visit him at http://www.twitter.com/OrangeSlacks or http://www.facebook.com/IdeaVault and http://ca.linkedin.com/in/ideavault