This employee retention speaker and employee retention author has heard about metrics for years and years and years. Mostly in a negative light. Why? Because it seems we only hear about metrics when they don’t meet expectations. When people or organizations do hit the metrics, it seems nothing is said. That’s a great way to sour people on a tool that is an important part of continuous improvement or control of processes.
Part of the problem in this employee retention trainer’s opinion is that we seem to make these metrics “stretch goals” that are not set the way goals are supposed to be set…jointly after some in-depth discussion. Instead, the metrics come from on high like Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the 10 commandments. They are given to leadership and told, “you will hit these metrics” even if they are unreasonable ones. This then forces the leadership responsible for achieving these metrics to jam them down the throats of all the people in the operation. The result; you destroy attitudes and generally don’t hit the metrics. So, nothing good comes out of it. This is the sort of thing that drives employee turnover. People can only be beat up for so long before they figure they better move on before someone decides to fire them for not hitting these unrealistic goals.
Metrics need to be realistic. Not only that, once you hit the metric, you need to celebrate the fact that you did hit the metric. Instead of everything always being negative, there needs to be a positive as part of the motivation. That’s how you get people fired up about being in an organization, build a positive culture and have people who want to remain with the organization. Instead of having a revolving door, you have an environment where people want to be, see a future and are also willing to push hard to achieve the metrics.
Continuous improvement principles need to be applied in a manner that is fair and realistic. If not, you get people who simply give up and retire in place or who leave the organization. If that is your idea of sound employee retention strategies, then you are well on your way to having a disengaged workforce and a revolving door of talent. It’s time we revisit how we use metrics if we want them to support our employee retention strategies, not have them drive increased employee turnover.