I’ve had these notes scribbled down for a while and I really don’t remember where I was or what I was reading. It was either another business type blog or a new book. I’ve read more books in the last 3 years than probably any other period in my life. Someone once told me that once you “grow up” (really once you finish school and start working full time) the only difference between you this year and last year are the books you’ve read and the people you’ve met. Powerful statement.
And that brings me back to these notes I’ve written above. Communication is often the problem and solution to all of life’s problems and that starts with people. Building on what I wrote yesterday, it (life) all starts with people and relationships. Let’s expand on these notes and think about “work” and what it means to try to accomplish something that involves other people. When someone new comes on board there is a learning curve for both the new person and the people already working there – depending on the position, it can realistically take up to 6 months before someone is proficient enough to be considered a contributing member of the team.
Moving on, there is usually organizational drama around the previous employee’s departure and speculation as to who the new person might be, including questions about their experience and worthiness to work for the organization – all of which could be easily managed by a good leader or supervisor who understands this potential for issues. Drama can also arise in the form of negative perceptions about the quality of the organization when multiple people are seen leaving at or about the same time. Especially in a small organization or when numerous people leave the same general department or job function, there can be a negative perception of what it might be like to work in that area or for that organization. This is where rumors and gossip begin – both of which ought to be addressed by the organization’s remaining leaders.
Next, when there is turnover in an organization there is always lost productivity. This is due to the supervisor having to take time away from their normal responsibilities to focus on going through all the proper channels to get a new person in to work. The hiring manager must go by the rules set forth by the organization’s Human Resources department, everything from posting the job description to reviewing applications and actually interviewing potential candidates. Those things take a great deal of time. A loss of productivity is also present in the fact that the person who left had a job to do that is no longer being performed or whose former responsibilities get passed along to other employees whose productivity is now also impacted negatively. Lost productivity equals loss of revenue or lesser organizational outcomes.
When posting a job to be filled, be honest in your evaluation of the duties of the position as well as what type of candidate you are looking to fill the position. This seems pretty obvious, but I”m not sure how many hiring managers really know their departments and culture well enough or take enough time to really find out who their candidates are as people and how they would fit. Now this is easier said than done and certainly much more so when you can project when you might need someone to fill a position and can be looking over a longer period of time. The main point to this idea is twofold – know your people and always have a pulse on how things are going with your staff. If you can accomplish those things, I’m sure your life as a leader will be much easier when it comes to employee turnover.
So how does this all tie together? Get to know your people. It all starts with people, so start with your people. You don’t have to be friends necessarily or hang out after work, but you should have a friendly enough professional relationship to know how they are doing in both their job duties as well as professional development. It is only when communication is lacking or breaking down when problems become more than what they should.
Take some time on a regular basis to get back to basics and start with your people. If you’re a supervisor, get to know your employees. If you are not a supervisor, get to know your coworkers as well as your supervisor. Work hard at communication every single day. After all, that’s one of the taglines of this blog – do what’s difficult. Communication is hard, but very very worthy of the effort.