Dennis is the hiring manager for an IT service management company. He’s been very busy lately, for the wrong reasons. Turnover has skyrocketed. Despite a documented skills gap affecting the technology industry, Dennis’ company attracts an abundance of qualified applicants.
However, a record number of new hires are being let go or calling it quits within the first six months of employment.
Upon further examination, which included quizzing management and conducting extensive exit interviews, Dennis concluded the following:
- Employees were leaving because they were frustrated by the lack of learning opportunities available to them. They also felt there was little opportunity to grow within an organization that didn’t invest in their development.
- Concurrently, managers were misinterpreting their employees’ lack of training and disengagement for incompetence and labelling them bad hires.
Research supporting Dennis’ findings prove his organization is not unique:
- 57% of workers rank opportunities to learn and grow as one of the most important aspects of workplace culture. (Udemy)
- 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. (LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report)
Awareness was the first step in turning Dennis’ organization around. Here’s what they did next:
Invest in Employee Development
Dennis heeded the advice of Amanda Lee, one of the HR Generalists at BPHR (Balance Point’s HR consulting service): “Sometimes you need to groom the employees you have, to achieve the team you want.” To accomplish this, the organization began creating individual development plans for all employees. By identifying interests and career goals, they were able to create a roadmap with measurable goals and a timeline for achieving each one.
Mentoring, coaching, and formal training followed. The addition of a learning management system (LMS) helped organize and centralize their efforts. With it, managers could assign courses and training paths to employees based on their individual development plans.
A common misconception is that disengagement is the result of a bad hire. In Dennis’ case, management should have been proactive in identifying the root of the problem. If they had, the organization could have provided the training the employees craved, which in turn would have led to a more productive, confident, and loyal workforce.
Managers should be trained to recognize the tell-tale signs of disengagement—declining quality and quantity of work, lack of involvement, and a negative energy and attitude—and address it as soon as possible.
Make Engagement a Priority
Dennis’ organization was fortunate to have a strong employer brand which made attraction very easy for them. But it was just a matter of time before the recent wave of turnover would negatively affect their reputation.
One of the biggest mistakes organizations make when it comes to employee engagement is not recognizing it as an important initiative within the company.
With the support of upper management, Dennis received the resources he needed to implement an effective and measurable employee engagement plan.
With these changes in place, Dennis’ organization is on the right track for success.