Marriage, head-hunters and taking responsibility

Staff turnover.  A royal pain in the ass right?

There’s the possibility of the departing employee taking clients and/or intellectual property.  There’s the loss of their productivity.  The time and cost of getting a replacement.  The time and cost of training up that replacement.  Etc.  And remember – it’s not just the cost of getting them to a baseline level of competence.  It’s the cost of getting them to the level of competence of the person they’re replacing.

So you want to retain people.  (One exception would be if they’re deadwood.)

I was thinking of this yesterday when I was analysing the results of a survey – why businesses were having difficulties with staff retention.

And I was struck by one answer – their staff: “being head hunted by other employers“.

It reminds me a bit of marriage.  If you’re happily married you’re more likely to spurn the advances of someone new right?

Once upon a time I was head-hunted.  And I left a job as a result.  The new position was attractive in a number of ways.  There’d be more responsibility.  There was an explicit promotion path laid out.  The technical challenges were more interesting.  The atmosphere was more dynamic.  Etc.  It was a no brainer.  I jumped – fast.

But here’s the thing.  All of those attractive things could have been offered/provided to me by the employer I left.

So when I see a business cite head-hunting by others as the reason for their retention issues I’m concerned.  For them.    It sounds to me like an abdication of responsibility.  They need to go deeper.  They need to turn the lens inwards and focus on themselves.

The same goes for many challenges that we face.  It’s not “out there” that we should be looking.  It’s within ourselves.  What can we do differently?  What can we do better?  And let’s not wait until there’s an issue.  We can ask those questions of ourselves and of trusted advisors & confidantes all the time.

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