It took years to build a stellar team capable of generating exceptional results, but now that they’re leaving, the trend has got you worried. What’s happened? And what do you need to do to fix it?
Here are four steps to help plug the hole and get your staff engagement back on the rise:
- Take it seriously, but not personally
When staff chooses to leave, it’s a form of rejection. Nobody wants to hear, ‘I’m leaving you because I’d rather be over there.’ It hurts. But if you’re going to stem the loss, you have to take every resignation seriously without taking it personally. Arrogance, i.e., ‘we didn’t need you anyway,’ or ignorance, i.e., ‘what’s the big deal?’ prevents you from learning a lesson that could help in the future.
- Identify the themes
Something happened over time that made your best staff choose to leave. It’s easy to put it down to a better offer elsewhere, or it just being time for a change. But you’ve got to dig deeper. Interview staff and ask: when did you feel most engaged in your role compared to now? Something must have happened to cause this change, and it’s your job to tease it out. The more conversations you have with current and ex-staff, the more common themes will develop, and what needs your attention will become apparent.
- Think attractiveness, not retention
Being successful requires an abundance mindset, focusing on making the company a more attractive place to work. The opportunities to improve are limitless, and creative thinking helps enormously. When you frame the issue as needing to ‘retain’ staff, it implies keeping something scarce and preventing a loss. This mentality breeds short-term fixes, being reactive rather than proactive. Aim to cultivate an environment where people want to do their best work, and the chances of people resigning will fall.
- Play the infinite game
Working to make your company more attractive to increase staff engagement never ends. Each day brings new challenges, and we’re dealing with the most complex of all resources – humans. Those who succeed are humble enough to accept that the work is never complete, and each day we need to keep creating the optimal work environment which allows everybody to thrive. It’s a responsibility that some leaders consider a burden and others a privilege; the latter is more likely to succeed.