414-421-9626 jeff@jeffkortes.com

Recently, this employee retention speaker and employee retention author was in the line at the grocery store and heard two people talking about an employee retention situation.  Because I’m not the bashful type, I said, “Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing and I’d like to ask you some questions if I may.”  I went on to explain what I do for a living and the floodgates of information opened and the things I heard were incredible.  This is a major organization that runs 24/7.

The two people went on to explain to this employee retention trainer that a particular department of five people is “mission critical” to the organization.  Without this department, they simply can’t deliver for the customer.  Apparently, because numbers “were down a bit,” they had to transfer one person out to another area.  Unfortunately, with only five people in the department this significantly increased the workload to the remaining four people because, the customer volume was not down 20%.   This is not the first time this has happened, but the leader of the department is one of those people that likes to “look good” in staff meetings and will do so at the expense of people.  Two of the people said “screw this,” got other jobs and were gone in three week so they are down to 40% capacity in a mission critical department.  So, what does this brilliant leader do?   The leader heaps the work on the remaining two people.

One of the remaining two says, “screw this” and just took another job and will be gone in two weeks.  The leader’s response is to tell the last person left they will be on-call to cover “as needed.”  Are you serious?  My thoughts are several:

  1. Where is this leader’s boss? Clearly…MIA…Missing in Action.
  2. Where is the HR department?

As I probed a bit further, the people tell me that the leader’s boss is out of touch with all of the departments they are responsible for so there is no help from that person.  As for HR, people rarely see HR and simply don’t trust the people in HR.  Even if that was the case, when you start seeing the terminations in a “mission critical” department, it should be the biggest red flag and questions should IMMEDIATELY be asked.   Not in this case.

As I tell my audiences all the time…this employee retention stuff is simple.  It really is.  It’s just not EASY!  If leadership is seeing the reports they should be seeing and HR is trusted and on top of things, there would have been questions asked when the first person was pulled out creating an imbalance in work capacity.  Then, when two people quit simultaneously, everyone else should be asking questions.  Instead, there are crickets!  With even some basic control measures in place this employee turnover could have been shut off in short order.  The key is to have systems in place to flag employee turnover and to immediately respond and ask questions about what is going on.  If that is happening, this “mission critical” department would be humming along and so would the organization.

If you are struggling with employee retention, reach out to me at jeff@humanassetmgt.com or JeffKortes.com  I guarantee you…you won’t hear crickets!