Training and retention go hand in hand for building a successful team
Posted Jul 21 2009 10:45pm
Here’s an interesting concept: hiring someone else’s star employee won’t necessarily ensure that he’ll become your star employee. In fact, a professor at Harvard Business School recently found that it can take up to 5 years for a person to work at his highest level within a company. Until then, he’ll be underperforming.
This professor found that it’s far more efficient and effective for a company to take individuals with raw ability and talent and train those persons in the specific tasks needed to do the job.
This professor found that several factors go into getting the best out of your team members, including these
Colleagues (we know from the Gallup organization that employees are more engaged when they have close friends at work) ;
Supporting functions (employees function best when they don’t have to worry about routine aspects of their job like pay and benefits, having adequate supplies, etc.);
IT systems (there’s a learning curve to any IT system you use, whether its for the purpose of online training, charting or managing work);
Corporate culture (organizations have their own culture; it takes time to learn the culture and feel comfortable and a part of that culture);
Trust with supervisors (you’ve probably heard the phrase: “Employees don’t leave jobs; they leave managers”).
Interestingly, the best and brightest employees tend to stay longer with a company, too, according to the same research. They may be sought out by other companies, and they may threaten to leave for more money, but, by and large, investing in building stars in-house is a big step to improving retention.
Surround your stars with other high-performing employees, and watch your retention increase even more. That’s easy for me to understand: there’s nothing more frustrating for a person who is working really, really hard to achieve a goal than to be surrounded by other people who are not nearly as invested.
Think about the marketing person who is a dynamite salesperson. She knows all of your key referral sources by name and can comfortably call any one of them for a chat. When a family calls with an inquiry, she has them laughing and comfortable with her within the first few minutes of a call. You can tell that families coming for a tour form a quick, deep bond with her. And of course, her results are excellent. You rarely have vacancies; often you even have a waiting list.
Now think about your stellar marketing person surrounded by caregivers who don’t have any investment in the success of the operation. They don’t look at visitors with a smile, let alone know regular family members by name. They don’t bother to keep the hallways tidy, and would never think about making a quick pass before a tour to plump up the pillows on the sofa and tidy the activity room.
How long do you think you’ll keep your marketing director?
This example is one that is very visible and obvious; the same is true, however, for each person on your team. Surround your team with teammates who are engaged and motivated, and they’ll all do better work. Surround them with slackers and even your best will either leave or begin underperforming.
Turnover not only sucks away valuable dollars, it consumes a lot of management time and focus. The key seems to be less focus on hiring the best, and more focus on growing, managing and supporting the best – right within your company today.