Saturday, November 26, 2011

'Fire The Slugs'—That's Good Turnover

"Fire the slugs," says management expert Jeff Cortes. That's good turnover and also it's good for retention—all of your other employees have been wondering when you would act.

"There's good and bad turnover," says Cortes, author of the book, No Nonsense Retention, which he characterizes as a collection of no-nonsense ways to retain your best people.

Firing a non-performer-a slug- is good turnover. But when a top performer leaves to go elsewhere and your organization is left with a huge void, that's bad turnover. It can affect the performance of the whole organization.

Turnover is very costly, Cortes adds. Depending on the study you look at, the impact of turnover ranges from three months of salary for a low level
employee, to as high as 400 percent of the annual salary of an upper-level person.

"If you are going to maximize your organization's performance you have to make a conscious, top-down management commitment to develop a no-nonsense approach to retention," Cortes says.

Here are his top must-do actions for retaining the human assets you've worked so hard to acquire:

1. Fire the Slugs
Hold your people accountable for their performance, Cortes says. If they don't solve the problem, then terminate them with respect and dignity. And here's the big bonus from firing slugs-your good performers will love you. For sure, they've been stewing about having to carry most of the slug's load.

2. Start at the Top
Assess your supervisory and management team, says Cortes. Seventy percent of employees say that the worst thing about their jobs is their boss. Find out what's wrong and fix it, Cortes urges. Identify the prima donnas and micromanaging control freaks, the whiners, complainers, and blamers. Get them basic supervisory training and improve their performance continuously.

If you are the boss, take ownership of this process, says Cortes.

3. Clean Up the House
Identify the non-performers. Identify the poor managers and supervisors. If they do not respond to training and show significant improvement, remove them from an influential role and replace them with someone that does what is truly desired and required for the role and position they are in, Cortes says.

4. Manage Visibly
Get out of the ivory tower. Begin each day by walking around. Stroll around the floor several times a day. Meet the customers, talk with employees, visit with the supervisors, greet the vendors, help the delivery trucks load and unload. Get out of your office. Let people know you are there and that you care. The point here is that you set lead by example, Cortes explains. If they like you they are less likely to leave you. Visibility drives retention.

5. Care About Your People
If you don't really care about your people, your business is doomed. Caring is the reason why people stay. Get to know your people. Learn what each person likes and enjoys. Listen to them and learn about their interests, families, and hobbies. Protect your people from harm and from others in your organization. People are loyal to those who care about them and care for them.

6. Keep Your Door Open 80% of the Time
Let your people know you are accessible to them, says Cortes, author of the book, No Nonsense Retention. Avoid telling people to make an appointment or come back later. Make sure the time you do spend with your people is quality time, he adds.

7. Actively Focus onEmployee Assistance
Sit down with the other managers in your organization and identify the problems that are faced by people in your workforce. Develop innovative ideas and deploy specific new plans to provide employees with more flexibility in their work, support for their common needs, and help for dealing with personal issues that impact their life.

8. Treat Everyone with Respect Always
Every leader and manager and supervisor must set the standard that respectful behavior and sincere open appreciation are expected with no
exceptions, Cortes says. Investigate and take immediate action of all non-respectful behavior incidents. And take an active step: Have the managers
and supervisors bring food to be shared on a regular basis. "Break bread with your people regularly instead of forcing people to eat baloney," -Cortes says.

9. Ask Your People What They Want
Also remember to ask people what they want out of their work. Identify what they want to grow, to develop greater control, autonomy, and responsibility for the work they do for you. Help them achieve these goals specifically and incrementally. "Meaningful engagement in their own future drives commitment and loyalty," Cortes says.

10. Tell Your People What You Want of Them
Be specific, clear, and make sure you explain what you expect of them. Give them the tools, support, and the time they need to get the work done. If they do not meet your expectations-assuming the expectations have been clearly communicated and they had the resources to accomplish the task-bring them in and talk with them and find out what it will take to get them on track.


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