It’s the kind of thing that keeps team leaders awake at night. One by one, team members are resigning, leaving for adventures and new opportunities. And although you wish them well, as their leader, the person entrusted and expected to keep them productive and happy, this can be a major blow.
You need to be sure there’s no blame which can be laid at your door. Have you been communicating regularly with your team members? If you’ve been sitting down with them for weekly or monthly meetings to catch up, these moments shouldn’t come as a surprise.
You would have been able to spot their unhappiness, and potentially, put an end to it. You would have been able to see them becoming discontent and intervened before it became bad enough for your team member to feel they had no choice but to leave.
Related: Managed Turnover
Here Michelle Jones from digital marketing agency, Rogerwilco, shares her thoughts.
Encourage and support
Have you done everything you can to ensure your team members are encouraged and supported to do their jobs? Because, the truth of the matter is, no one who’s happy at a job they love will resign.
If you’re wondering how they came to the point of resigning, realise that at some point in the past few months, it’s likely they’ve asked themselves a series of questions.
If the answer was no to more than a few of them, that’s when your best team member started looking around at their options.
The questions they ask
- Am I happy at work?
- Do I enjoy working with my colleagues?
- Do I have a team leader I like and respect?
- Do I enjoy the type of work I’m doing?
- Is there potential for growth?
- Am I being paid fairly?
- Do I trust the decision makers?
- Do I believe in the company’s goals?
As the team leader, it’s your opportunity and responsibility to think carefully about these questions and possible answers. You’ll need to put strategies in place to make sure all staff members answer these questions positively.
It’s up to you to hold those regular sessions to give you a chance to see, catch and fix unhappiness.
That one thing
As a leader, you need to understand why your team members are leaving. And you’ll probably ask them why. They’ll blame the location of the office or the skillset they have that’s not being used. But they aren’t really answering the question. That answer they gave you didn’t bother them a few weeks or months ago.
Everyone has one thing which caused them to become unhappy. That one, possibly insignificant, thing led them to start looking a little more closely at job adverts.
It’s the one thing that led them to say yes to an invitation to meet up with a former colleague. Those small moments are the things that you, as a team leader, need to be aware of and watch out for.
What To Include In Your Induction Training
Induction training ensures that new workers adopt good working habits, helps them to feel as though they are part of your company and alerts them to the expectations that your company has for employees.
Introducing new employees to your company and your processes is a vital part of hiring new talent. You will need to teach them about any administrative processes that will happen during their onboarding period, as well as show them the ropes of their new position.
This is known as induction training, and is of vital importance to any new employee who enters your company. Induction training ensures that new workers adopt good working habits, helps them to feel as though they are part of your company and alerts them to the expectations that your company has for employees.
The description and expectations of the role
This is one of the most important parts of your induction training and should be the first step you take for your new employees. This should start as soon as they have accepted their role, as it will make the onboarding process easier and more efficient.
You will need to send them an offer letter, two copies of the contract (one for them to sign and one for them to keep), details of all benefits and a copy of the employee handbook. On their first day in the office, you should describe their new role to them in detail as well as how they are expected to perform. By taking this simple step, you are preparing your employees for the rest of their time at your company.
Health and safety in the workplace
You are legally required to provide your employees with any health and safety information they need to carry out their roles. You will need to provide them with a copy of the company’s health and safety policy. And ensure that they sign it once they have read over it and understood it.
You must inform all new workers of the fire safety procedures and tell them what to do if the alarm should sound. Health and safety in the workplace also involves your policies on using the kitchen in your office, so be sure to show them the kitchen and educate them on any rules you might have.
Tour the premises
It is important that your employees know the layout of the inside and outside of your office, especially if an emergency should occur. It is also helpful for them to know where the kitchen and restrooms are.
A tour of the premises will also allow new employees to familiarise themselves with the different departments. If they need to speak to the client services department, they will know exactly where to go rather than having to wander the halls lost. While this might not seem to be a vital part of induction training, it is helpful in making your employee feel welcomed and accepted in the company.
Introduction to their colleagues
Introducing new workers to their colleagues is an important part of induction training. You should start by introducing them to their line managers, the HR department, the health and safety officers and the employee representatives.
Meeting their line manager first will allow your new employee to get a feel for the role and get to know who they will be reporting to. It can make first days less stressful and maintain a friendly office atmosphere. Have a moment during your morning discussions to introduce your new employee to the rest of their colleagues, but be sure that they are okay with you doing this beforehand.
Provide ample orientation
The orientation period of the training should not be forgotten, nor should it be lackadaisical. You will need to include an introduction to the processes of logging on to computers, where to find stationery supplies, and the policy on use of phones during working hours.
Show your new employee how to turn on and log into their new computer, including how to access folders, emails and the company’s drive. It might be a good idea to assign a “work buddy” to your employee to help them with any new tasks at first. Providing ample orientation will make the transitioning process easier for your employees, but be sure to have regular catch up meetings during their first three months to see how they are handling the position.
Induction training is important
If you own a fast-paced company, you might not think that induction training is very important. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Induction training is immensely helpful for new employees, just as courses for team leaders are for more established employees.
You will need to provide a thorough description of their role, explain the health and safety procedures of your office and introduce new employees to the rest of the office on the first day. From here, you should have regular checkups during their first three months to ascertain their progress.
Employees Underperforming? How To Respond To These 3 Excuses
Sometimes, an employee just needs an extra jolt. Other times, you will need to pull the plug.
Companies are increasing their focus on employee retention. In fact, PayScale’s 2018 Compensation Best Practices report found that 59 percent of respondents considered employee retention a “major concern” for their companies and organisations. This isn’t surprising given that a revolving staff door can make it almost impossible to preserve recent organisational knowledge and keep up with projects and responsibilities.
So, yes, keeping retention top of mind is smart, but sometimes a staff change is unavoidable. When you’re calling the shots, firing people will almost certainly make you uncomfortable. Whether you are running a small start-up or a Fortune 500, you can’t hide behind other people and say the decision was out of your hands.
Then, the bigger your company gets, the harder it will be to respond in order to change quickly and effectively. While employees can grow into their roles, you shouldn’t let your sense of loyalty to your current employees prevent you from making good business decisions.
It’s just logical that some of your original staff members are going to be unable to keep up with the pace and to cease to bring enough value to the company. In those cases, you should maintain a realistic attitude as to when it is time to part ways. And, when those tough conversations need to happen, your sense of loyalty to your employees can be your worst enemy.
A retention reality check
In your personal life, “loyalty” generally means believing in an individual and defending him or her when that person comes under attack. When you become part of a team, however, the definition of loyalty changes.
As a leader, you need to think about your loyalty to all of your employees instead of just one person. When a team member cannot keep up or shows signs of burnout, he or she will likely require co-workers to pick up the slack. When you hold certain people to a lower standard, other employees become resentful, and the poor performer starts to drag the company down.
Related: Dealing With Employee Misconduct
For example, a B2B company we worked with had a marketing employee who had been with the team from the beginning. The company had done well, and its board was pushing for accelerated growth – which required more effective marketing. The employee was a jack-of-all-trades but couldn’t keep up with increased demand. After the difficult decision was made to replace this employee with a more qualified individual, the company quickly hit stretch goals that had previously been elusive.
Often, a leader may be blind to necessary personnel changes, whether willfully or unconsciously. In either case – if this leader is you – the sooner you recognise the problem and take steps to address it, the better off your company will be.
Warning signs that signal a personnel change
It will not always be obvious, but here are three common excuses from employees that might indicate it is time for you to consider a personnel change:
1. “I don’t have enough time”
Work stress is prevalent across all industries, and a study from Paychex found that roughly 70 percent of those surveyed reported stress levels of at least 3 on a scale of 1 to 5. Certainly, being pressed for time doesn’t help stress, either.
One of your primary roles as a leader is to clearly define your employees’ jobs and responsibilities. If team members struggle to keep up with their workloads, they are probably stretching themselves thin trying to help others, or putting off work to avoid accountability.
When you talk to an employee who claims to be short on time, determine what his or her current projects are and then contain them. Give this employee specific responsibilities that don’t require relying on co-workers, and see how he or she meets these new expectations and goals. If the employee continues to underperform, look for a replacement, although it is not a bad idea to put out feelers for that replacement before you even have the above discussion.
2. “I cannot control this”
The ability to find a solution to a work problem is an indicator of someone who “owns” the situation. This is a characteristic you need to see in employees. When I worked at Dell, we had a substantial drop in traffic and couldn’t figure out why. Eventually, we discovered that our laptop batteries were catching fire. Unfortunately, you can’t advertise or email your way out of a drop in traffic due to a problem like that; but you can turn to your partners in crisis communication and social media.
If you give employees all the tools necessary to solve problems and they still can’t succeed, it’s time to reevaluate their fit in the company. By letting them go, you ultimately keep them from stagnating. If you struggle with this concept, look toward Startups.co CEO Wil Schroter, who has said he views his company as a school for employees. When employees get to the point that they would learn better elsewhere, it is time for them to move on.
When you let go one of these employees, make sure that the high performers you do have feel appreciated. Talk to their co-workers to ensure that in the interim, everyone’s roles and responsibilities are firmly established. Also, involve the rest of your employees in the subsequent hiring process so they have some control over who is named as the replacement.
3. “It wasn’t me”
According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, worldwide employee engagement sits at a lowly 15 percent. Employees with low engagement often have a decreased sense of responsibility for their work, which wreaks havoc on productivity and accountability.
The most toxic situation is when employees attempt to deflect their own poor performance onto surrounding team members. These individuals rarely admit fault but instead cast broad accusations in an attempt to throw co-workers under the bus. As a last-ditch effort, such employees will even question the data that illuminates their underperformance.
Tough love is the solution here. Like an unfaithful partner who’d rather talk about other people who cheat instead of his own indiscretions, the underperforming employee will try to direct the conversation away from his or her performance. But don’t let that happen: Stay the course and let this employee go.
Then, during your subsequent hiring process, be mindful of the departed employee’s character flaw. Ask questions about challenges each candidate faced at previous jobs. Be wary when interviewees shift blame to others or speak poorly about their previous employers.
Most importantly, be realistic about your employees and do your best to fill any gaps with the strongest candidates you can find. And accept the truth: You will never be entirely comfortable about firing people.
If you are, you might not have the empathy required to make a great leader. However, it is part of your job to ensure that your seats are filled with top talent, so be loyal to your whole team and know when to let under-performers go.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
An Excellence Approach To Nurture Star Performers
Talent management is the commitment to continuously nurture and align individual attitude and performance, job requirements and organisational culture through excellent performance management.
1. An excellent view of Talent Management
Any sports team needs to measure the vital statistics and performance of each member. “Metrics” like cadence, heart rate, output ratios etc. are important, for the whole to eventually be greater than the sum of its parts.
Similarly, leaders need to measure (without micro managing) employee performance to get a better understanding of what makes the individual stand out. Leaders need to understand how to adapt environments so that everyone can be exceptional.
Not creating a culture of unhealthy competition, but one where every individual’s contribution is understood and valued, and individual work experience is adjusted to accommodate uniqueness, will keep individuals performing at their peak, while enjoying what they do and understanding the purpose of their work.
2. Nurturing star performers
Employees should be given the best possible opportunity to serve in a work context that is optimal for their skillset and temperament. Talent management is based on the organisation’s commitment to surround all employees with people, practices and processes that will grow them to their full potential.
From a deep understanding of the talent pool a business can distinguish between top, great, good and poor performers. Having a suitable and fair measurement tool in place is critical in this regard. This allows management to clearly understand why people are in different performance categories, and provides insights on what pro-active actions can be taken to develop people into their full capacity.
People are highly influenced by work-related relational contexts and environments. Poor performers can become top performers when there are leadership changes or job changes that simply fit better, but also vice versa. Top performers can become poor performers due to illness or other job related changes. There have also been cases where top industry performers join a different organisation and then struggle to perform due to the individual not aligning with the new organisational culture.
Excellent talent management considers all of these factors:
- Understand who the star performers are, and why they are viewed as top performers. (Know and acknowledge what they contribute in terms of both job deliverables and attitude).
- Understand the relationship between the top performer and their leader.
- Understand the culture of the department and why this fit works for this individual.
- Then, for the future of work: Consider adapting working conditions or terms of employment in order to keep the star performers (Eg. Flexible working hours, virtual offices, or shorter terms of employment to ensure growth opportunities.)
The biggest contributing factor to ensure excellent talent management is to continuously understand and communicate what is expected from an individual, to have measures in place to know if the individual achieves this, to know what value this adds to the business – and then making sure that they are compensated accordingly.
3. What star performers desire from corporate culture
People don’t want to work merely for personal gain. They want to connect and contribute to a business that shares their values and contributes towards the development of a healthy world and better society.
Spiritual intelligence is becoming increasingly important. This trumps mere personal self-actualisation, and entails feeling connected to a business that has a bigger shared purpose than just making a profit.
People want to connect with businesses that have integrity, moral leaders, and feel part of a network that are responsible stewards, who will value their total personal contribution and help them grow as star top performers within a star team.
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