The Truth Sometimes Hurts

When speaking at a recent event, this employee retention speaker and employee retention author heard from an HR manager that several years ago the president of their company decided to stop doing the annual engagement survey because the president didn’t want to “open up a can of worms” for fear of what they might hear.  After we called the paramedics to help me recover from a heart attack (not really but I thought I might have one), I began discussing why, if they thought they might have “a can of worms” why they should open it to find out how bad it really is.  Hearing the truth about your organization is the best thing that can happen.

Really bad news can be really good news depending on how you view it.  Finding out what is wrong gives you the opportunity to take steps to fix it.  The more you hear, the more you can fix.  The more you fix, the better your operation is going to get.  That’s what makes for a vibrant, profitable, retention magnet type of organization.  The opportunity they are missing is so huge that they are crazy not to take advantage of it.  Besides, if you believe at all with the concept of continuous improvement, you want to know what is wrong.

Once you know what is wrong, you can systematically begin working on the issues instead of waiting until they blow up in your face.  In terms of employee retention, that time is when your organization is so screwed up you simply can’t keep enough people to run the business, or, you are so short staffed that errors in product, accidents, etc. take place that the business suffers catastrophic financial loss.  Better to get ahead of the curve and deal with the pain early.

The other important point to bear in mind from an employee retention and recruitment perspective is social media.  It’s better to hear it from your employees in a controlled activity like and engagement survey than to learn about it when you read about it on Glassdoor or on Facebook.  Then, controlling the damage is very difficult and, depending on the situation, can so destroy your reputation that you can’t attract people to work in your business at all.  Even worse is if your customers decide to check you out on Glassdoor.  When they read the abysmal comments, they might just decide they don’t want to be associated with you for fear THEIR reputation will be damaged.  The result…you lose their business.

Nobody likes to hear bad things about themselves or the faults they have but it’s better to hear the truth than have your organization destroyed by what you don’t know.  The truth sometimes hurts but usually less than being kept in the dark.

Jeff Kortes

jeff@humanassetmgt.com

Jeff speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.