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This employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer was driving home from conducting a workshop in northern Minnesota this past winter.  The temperature was -15 degrees and the snow was blowing and drifting across the interstate so I decided to stop for the night.  It was 11PM at night.  My choice of hotels was limited so I stopped in a mid-range national chain hotel.  The lobby was dingy and looked a bit run down.  I should have recognized the signs.  I got my key and was sent around the side to the closest exit to my room.  The sidewalk looked like it had not been shoveled in days…another bad sign.  Nonetheless, I trudged through a foot of snow and got into the building.  I got on the elevator and the inside of the elevator had clearly seen better days, but I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed.

The first thing this employee recruitment speaker did was look to chain the door once he got into the room.  Guess what, there was no chain on the door but instead holes in the door where the chain used to be!  Instead of acting and saying enough is enough and leaving, I put my suitcase down and headed to the bathroom.  It had been a long trip and I needed to go…badly!  After completing my task, I flushed the toilet and the pipes growled like they were going to burst.  I should have left but thought, “I’m not going to be flushing the toilet when I am trying to sleep.”  Then, I find the light does not work on the nightstand!!!  You have got to be kidding me!

This employee retention author then looks at the bed.  I start to wonder.  As I begin to pull the bedspread back, I am wondering, “Have they even changed the sheets since the last person?”  I hesitate a moment, stop, and decide I don’t want to find out.  Instead, I keep my clothes on, sit down in the easy chair in the corner and go to sleep.  After four hours of sleep, I get up, check out and hit the road to go home.

As I am driving the rest of the way home, I reflect.  This incident reminds me a lot about how employee turnover creeps up on us in an organization.  It’s slow and insidious.  Things begin to spin out of control slowly and we see a warning sign here and a warning sign there, but we fail to act.  What we should do is heed the warning signs and do something before they spin totally out of control and we can’t correct the downward spiral.  So, as you reflect on your employee retention, think of my hotel story.  Are the warning signs there and you are ignoring them?  If they are, it’s time to act!