Is your retention issue the result of poor leadership, process, or strategy? In my experience, it is usually a combination of the three. Are you getting to the bottom of it? In fact, how strategic is the person you have running your human resources department, and how often do you have that person participate in your strategic planning meetings? Many of the companies I’ve encountered are underinvested in their human resources departments, and it shows.

Profit Leaks

This kind of profit leak has four components:

  1. Lost Continuity – Institutional knowledge and relationship with a customer.
  2. Recruiting Costs – All costs connected with hiring replacements.
  3. Onboarding and Ramp-up – Time and money to get new hires trained and up to full productivity, and organizational disruption while others try to take up the slack during the training period.
  4. Lost productivity if a position is open for any period of time.

Poor Leadership

Leadership deficit is the number one reason for your retention issues. A poor manager is the number one reason why a person quits a job. So if you have high turnover, this is the place to start. Too often leaders, especially owners, are set in their ways. They are not flexible in how they treat their employees. While this is their prerogative, it is costing them big bucks. Even when you retain employees in spite of such poor leadership, see my Profit Leak 2 article about how “unengaged” and “actively disengaged” workers affect your company’s bottom line; you still wind up with a leaky bucket.

Does your industry experience higher turnover in certain positions compared to others (e.g. sales vs. accounting)? Do you view this as problem or a strategic opportunity? The company that is able to solve its turnover problem has a huge competitive advantage. What have you done to dramatically reduce the amount of turnover in a problematic position? What strategies are you using to influence people to stay? Are you doing the right things to attract the right people for the position to begin with? Do you provide the right (and enough) training? How do you take care of these people? What special incentives do you have that encourage longevity? What is special about your work environment compared to? Are your expectations for the position reasonable?

Cost of Turnover

In most cases, there are solutions to improve turnover. Most companies do not properly calculate the cost of the turnover and the return on investment for solving it. If you are interested in a addressing your “profit leaks,” let’s schedule a time to further discuss your business and how we might work together to patch up your leaky bucket.

Howard Shore is an executive coach and founder of Activate Group Inc., based in Miami, Florida. His firm works with companies to deliver business coaching to improve executive leadership development. To learn more about executive leadership coaching through AGI, please contact Howard at (305) 722-7216.

Business Coach

About Howard M. Shore

Howard M. Shore is a Certified Gazelles Coach, Certified Public Accountant Certified Executive Coach, Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified Values Analyst, and Certified Attributes Index Analyst. He has earned Bachelor and MBA degrees from Florida International University, and completed advanced executive programs at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago.