Staff Retention Is Not Always The Answer

Published in Dynamic Business - May 2017

Boredom is most people’s worst nightmare – and it’s the number one killer of workplace motivation. When it comes to performing the duties of any given job, the doer will have a timeline for boredom.

Prolonged repetition will naturally lead their brain to a point where it says ‘thanks, but no thanks’, and then completely checks-out. For good. It’s the point of no return for ambitious types. Restlessness soon pushes them out the door and they take their talent, knowledge and potential with them. When this happens, the employer has failed big time.

STAFF SATISFACTION RESTS ON THE COMPANY

Any business keen on keeping its talent has to take responsibility. It’s up to them to deliver roles that stimulate, engage and challenge – and to find new ways to develop those roles. If a business doesn’t offer career changes or new directions and opportunities to its people, it can’t be surprised when they inevitably up and leave. It takes action to keep minds motivated. Businesses that fail to act only have themselves to blame for any lack of staff retention.

COMPANIES CAN’T DEVELOP STAFF FOREVER

Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that companies can only offer so much. That’s the reality. I’m yet to come across a company that can offer someone everything they need through every stage of their development. Our organisation is no exception. If we’ve done all we can to develop one of our team members and they decide to move on, we don’t take it as an insult. Just the opposite. It means we’ve given them the know-how and confidence to take the next big step in their personal development. And as a company, that makes us pretty chuffed.

PART WHEN THE TIME’S RIGHT

What’s the perfect amount of time in one job? There are no hard-and-fast rules but I believe, in the corporate world, four years is the sweet spot. It’s long enough to learn plenty but not too long that it becomes stale. After four years it’s move up or move on. Spending six years in one company feels about right too. Let’s not forget there are positives for the business as well. The loss of top talent can coincide with an injection of fresh blood, new thinking, and people with room to develop and push themselves. No forward-thinking company has ever been opposed to this.

ALL STAFF SHOULD LEAVE… EVENTUALLY

When I come across superstars in whatever field, I want them to have our organisation on their business cards for a good while. But I know it can’t last forever. And it shouldn’t. Every person should strive to go as far as they can in their career, and one single company can only take them so far.

If one of our employees is set to leave, we make sure it’s for the right reasons: because our company has given them every possible opportunity to develop; not because they’re bored with their job.


About the author

Fergus Watts is the founder and executive chairman of Bastion Collective a global network of companies helping brands and organisations form meaningful connections with audiences. He was recently interviewed by Dynamic Business (see: “I learned a lot from failure on the field”: Fergus Watts on his successful career pivot).