A New Perspective on the “Right Type” of Employee Retention
Companies today are recognizing that their employees are one of their largest assets. With this in mind, many are doing everything they can to provide better work conditions and a fun culture with beer taps, cafes, lounge rooms, and much more to keep their employees happy. There is even a growing industry around employee retention and creating a sticky culture, with companies like SoCap and others teaching how to develop mission-driven businesses that inspire employees.
So why is SoCap preaching that turnover is good for your company?
Cuts the fat. You must face the fact that there are some employees that are not contributing and, instead, leeching off the organization. For whatever reason, you’ve kept this bottom 10% around. But the hard truth is, they’ve got to go. Once a year, if not more frequently, it should become a practice to cut those that are providing zero to minimal value.
This does a few things to benefit the organization. For one, it allows more room for resources to attract talent that will contribute 2x or more to the company in the same amount of time or less than those in the bottom 10%. And secondly, it forces people to understand they cannot become complacent within the company. If they skim by and don’t contribute to their full potential, they will quickly find themselves in the bottom tier and under the threat of being cut.
Brings in the best. Fresh blood allows for new ideas. As we’ve said before, diversity should not be based solely around skin color, but also on the variance of thought, opinions, and workstyles. For example, you don’t want robotic employees that all think and operate in the same way. Big ideas don’t get created that way. Instead, you want and need employees with similar values, but diversity in ideas. This will result in new strategies and avenues for your company, while also maintaining a cohesive workforce made up of employees devoted to the same cause.
Creates new leadership. When you cut the bottom tier and bring in only the best, new leadership will arise, internally or externally. And with new leadership comes new partnerships, conversations, and opportunities. While new is not always better, keeping around old, ineffective leadership solely because it’s comfortable will not move your company forward. Company leaders that stubbornly stick to their style and way of doing things are not socially and economically intelligent, causing reactive decision making within the entire company.
With the pace of today’s market, Millennials are more keen to disrupting the status quo of an organization in order to get the best results for consumers and coworkers. Because their values focus increasingly more on social causes, justice, and contribution instead of solely profit, they are more willing than old leadership to adapt to new internal process, strategies, and methods that will drive a socially responsible business.
In addition to companies, how can turnover also be good for employees?
Many of the reasons turnover is positive for a company and its culture are also beneficial for employees and their personal and professional development. But the biggest advantage of turnover for employees is learning where their “zone of genius” lies.
Apply your “zone of genius.” Just like in school, we discover our passions and the areas we excel by first learning what we’re not good at. Having the chance to work at several companies and positions not only exposes us to different types of people, leaders, and communication styles, but also allows us to discover different skill sets and areas in which we are truly exceptional.
By maintaining only one job and repeating the same methods and skills over and over, we are never really able to advance. Often, this is due to a skill set being taught or even imposed on a person during their first job. Switching positions or companies allows employees to discover their natural gift, passion, or “zone of genius,” where they can really play best. I say “play,” because when you’re a natural at something it’s usually more fun and seems like play instead of work. Oftentimes, work is the application of a skill set in which we learned to be adequate enough to get by, but have little enthusiasm behind. While we might be able to succeed at the job, there are certainly other employees that could do much better with less time and effort. And because they’re passionate about the job, they are far more likely to offer more innovative strategies and processes for the company.
Thus, employees that have had a diverse array of work environments and the chance to explore the path to their “zone of genius” will probably end up with a job in which they truly excel. This is equally beneficial to the employee and employer. Companies need to turnover employees that aren’t 100% invested, so they can attract people who naturally possess the skills required. This sort of turnover is essential, because companies will see a drastic increase in productivity, innovation, engagement. Plus, they will gain a reputation for having the best of the best in each department.
Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t advocating for large amounts of general turnover. The common denominator between what we are suggesting and typical retention is intent. We are inviting companies to consider purposeful, intentful turnover. For example, having turnover, but being unsure why people are leaving (link and reference our other article) is very different than being aware of why and how your company approaches the hiring and firing of employees. SoCap promotes company leaders to examine their current strategy or establish one if none exists. Companies with no clear approach need to challenge their leadership in order to avoid being reactive instead of proactive.