I really like this article from the Management Issues website called Lack of opportunities, not cash, is reason why most workers quit.
Here is a particularly salient point:
“A significant proportion also experienced “job shock”, whereby employees leave shortly after joining, primarily because the job has not matched up to their initial expectations or did not offer them the opportunity to use their skills and abilities.
Employers who believed that offering above market rate salaries was the key to recruiting and retaining employees were likely therefore to be disappointed, suggested the consultancy.
Only one in eight employees left their previous organisation because a competitor was offering a better reward package.”
Talk about a waste!
I wrote a post a couple weeks ago called the Virtues of Smallness. This is one area where small and medium sized companies should have the advantage over larger organizations.
If we have folks who are talented and interested in helping to improve the business, by all means, we should engage them. I’d like to give thanks to a couple former employers who did this with me:
1. Black & Decker Service Division – I know, this is a big company, but the Service Division was much smaller and way out in the country, so we operated more like a small company with cool tools we could buy at a discount! My manager and peers encouraged trying new ideas, cross-utilization, and all the fun stuff that A) makes a difference to the bottom line and B) is more fun for the employee.
2. Cruise West – This is a small-medium sized company I worked for that let me do so many things – all for the benefit of the company – and so it was a fun and worthwhile experience. Yeah, it came with medium sized compensation and benefits (a bit of a shock after the likes of Intel and Mead) but overall, I would rank the experience better.
So what’s the moral of this little ditty?
Don’t lose your great people because you have their job so narrowly defined that they are left unchallenged. Yes, you have to get certain tasks completed, not all of them fun and exciting (like administrative stuff). All it takes is a small to moderate amount of meaty projects to keep people engaged.
EVERY COMPANY CAN BENEFIT FROM THIS!
If you are finding it tough to think of projects or tasks that make sense, engage your employees and get their ideas. I bet they know:
Ways to cut waste
Ways to generate more revenue
Ways to streamline processes
Ways to reduce duplication
New ideas for connecting with customers
Ways to reduce errors
New tools that would make everyone’s work more efficient
A mind is a terrible thing to waste and it could cost you a bundle (turnover costs many thousands of dollars PER person lost).