The issue of staff turnover must be the most enduring subject and let me immediately say that I offer no earth shattering solution to the ongoing problems of recruiting the right staff for your business and keeping them motivated but, I do raise some points that might kick off some debate.
How many times have you worked somewhere, where someone has been appointed because (just by example) they’re charming or headhunted because they are good in front of clients, only to find after a few weeks that, whilst they are indeed great in front of clients, they fail to take notes, fail to action what was agreed and wonder why the client they got on with so very well is becoming an unhappy customer.
The obvious answer is to be more rigorous with your employee selection, structuring questions, including more than one person for interviewing and comparing notes. Another idea is using personality or psychometric testing and whilst that is by no means a failsafe, in my experience, it does help.
Those new employees that are indeed charming and can influence need to have an element of focus on detail and implementation which of course needs to be monitored.
On the other hand we hear about the need for training, encouragement and promotion opportunities and this I support entirely, but is it always appropriate? Controversial that might be, but this very dynamism can create just as many challenges at the same time.
I recall one quiet, pleasant, yet lack lustre chap at my last company. He turned up a few minutes late most days, quietly wandered off to his desk and plodded away to an acceptable level of quality on a shitty job that no-one else wanted to do. As the clock struck 5 (ok, that’s a bit of authors licence because the clock didn’t chime) he donned his coat and wandered quietly out. He’d been there for years, had no interest in promotion and little ambition, but the challenge was that we would have been hard pressed to replace him because the job he did well, was boring and monotonous.
With the same chap, 6 monthly appraisal meetings were interesting to say the least! We looked after him, but to try and motivate him to move on was a waste of time, but my point here is… perhaps we shouldn’t have bothered and just ensured he was happy plodding?
The Agressive Salesman
Another challenge (and another scenario I have experienced) is what you do about a top performing sales person that constantly brings in business based on hard targets but is not a team player? Even after appraisals he consistently fails to cooperate with other colleagues and can be seen as intimidating and has a negative impact on morale.
I’m sure many of you have experienced this or similar. He won’t change but the business that he brings in overrides the other staff morale issues so you continue to judge him based on his “hard” targets and personally handle the other issues.
So here’s the point!
You can please some of the people all of the time but not all of the people all of the time so why try! In a smaller company it’s easier to manage as it’s down to judgements and concessions but in larger organisations this proves harder as the same tests to measure performance based on pre-defined criteria and checklists have a tendency to be applied across the board.