Recently I had a conversation with a friend of a friend around their business and the fact they had lost 5 of their most senior team members in the last 3 months.
This is a devastating statistic for any business, let alone a small/medium business like they are running.
They were discussing the situation with me as they wanted some advice from a Change Manager around what they can do to curb this trend before it becomes an even more serious problem, even though it was already a pretty big issue. Losing that amount of experience is priceless, and only time builds experience.
Disturbingly, the conversation came to an abrupt and uncomfortable halt when I asked why these team members had left. The best way to stop the leak is to plug the hole, right?
Well, disappointingly, there had been no exit interviews done, nor any questions asked around the reasons for these people leaving.
“You mean to tell me that for every one of these staff members that left, neither their line managers, HR rep, or you tried to have a conversation around their reasons for leaving?”
This really annoys me. As a Change Manager, one of the things I drivel on about all the time is how important it is to have open communication channels between staff and management. There truly is no excuse.
Recently I wrote about the concept of MBWA. A very simple activity that would most likely have prevented some of these staff members from leaving. How can you possibly expect to know what’s going on if you are just taking everyone’s word for it? If you haven’t asked the questions, done the research, and gathered the evidence for yourself then it’s just hearsay.
So, taking all of the above into account, consider the following a call-to-action for anyone reading who is a manager.
- Don’t avoid difficult conversations just because they’re difficult. They can mean the difference between keeping your staff or needing a recruiter.
- Don’t hide away in your office. The more time you spend with your team, the more they will trust you. The better the rapport, the stronger the team.
- Only you can build the bond between you and your team. Don’t rely on others to do it. It’s not possible.
- Ask questions and gather feedback for yourself. As above, if you haven’t gathered the data yourself, it’s not fact.
Above all else, if any of this feels familiar to you – don’t despair! You’re not alone. Everyone makes these sorts of mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and never forget to seek advice when you need it. Just don’t wait until you’re sitting at a bar with me to ask for the advice. If you do, it’s your shout…