By Sid Chadwick
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something,”……………Steve Jobs
Millions of current and potential employees, in all quarters, at all levels - are seeking better career options.
Without trained personnel, you don’t have a company.
Without motivated personnel, who feel a “sense of community and personal responsibility” toward who they work with and serve, you don’t have much of a company.
Over Thanksgiving, one of our treasured clients experienced a culture-impacting event. (At this moment in time, they are “booked” through early 2022 – with current customers’ work.)
They’re working close to 24/7 but had given employees Thanksgiving Day off – to be with family and friends. (It was also obvious that many employees needed time -- to rest.)
Unplanned, a modest group of employees decided privately that they were coming in to work on Thanksgiving Day….to get caught-up, and possibly slightly ahead of their current schedule.
When the President (second generation ownership) learned what was afoot, he immediately turned and said to his family, “We’re having our Thanksgiving Day Meal …at the Plant , with multiple shifts, with our people…..”
And they did.
The resulting effect on company morale… has been dramatically positive… …for everyone.
It’s my observation that it’s particularly tough to come behind a successful father, who was founder and President, and develop your own identity of mutual respect, with your key community – and constituents.
That Thanksgiving Day rare event… is an example of how you do it.
The company is Panaprint, in Macon, Georgia. The President is Rette Collins.
Last evening, I received a late evening call from a fast-growth West Coast client, whose Business Development and Education Director, whom my client has known for over two decades, had just given his notice, as he’s working on his MBA from a local university, and wants to start his own company.
Replacing him might be viewed as an opportunity, except – he’s multi-talented, experienced, trusted, and is an unusually effective “right-arm” to my client’s General Manager, and much of the Sales Team.
Loss of key personnel is not always about pay. Sometimes…perhaps more often – recently – personnel’s disgruntlement involves other, unspoken, key organizational issues – that you don’t know about.
That Business Development and Education Director and I just finished a 40+ minute informal Exit Interview.
Having worked with him on projects over much of the last year, my opinion is that he might not be leaving – if – his senior management knew.
A COO recently remarked, “I need to spend more personal time with new employees we hire, as soon as they go to work here. They’re generally not used to the pace of work in our plant…..and just don’t come back from lunch….!”
That’s an issue larger (and not so large) customers are starting to check – upfront, recognizing how cross-training and personnel turnover ultimately affects -- your performance for them.
How to, “Tap into learning about what needs to change, to improve a company’s future, to improve employee retention, and reduce the loss of key personnel…?”
Probably through results of a well-designed, anonymous Employee Survey (and we’re NOT talking about an Internet-based Employee Survey, where the Administrator knows who said what..!)
There are other means to learn what needs to change…and how to develop trust with key and front-line employees…for improved employee retention…..all of which require frequent, personal time….a precious commodity… that many senior managers don’t have much of these days.
“There are two types of people who will tell you that you can not make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try, and those who are afraid you will succeed.”…………..Ray Goforth