Jumping Ship...Apr 21, 2023
The extended reach of high turnover certainly does its part in taking the wind out of our sails when it comes to how actively we are in driving our organization forward but it also takes a toll on our entire organization’s culture - in a couple of critical ways!
Before we go into those ways, I’ll challenge you to think about what it would feel like to be on a ship in the Caribbean (because the water’s just beautiful there) and you see dozens of people jumping overboard. The ship doesn’t appear to be sinking, you haven’t heard any alarms or announcements pointing to any immediate danger, but I’d guess you’d still be wondering what was going on! What’s causing so many people to make such a drastic decision? As time passes, there’s still a steady stream of folks grabbing whatever they can find to help them stay afloat as they go over the side and into the ocean. Sooner or later, even the best of us will wonder what they know that we don’t…
For the ones of us who stick it out, changes are inevitable. The buffet lines won’t be as long and it will be a lot easier to find a seat by the pool, but we’ll likely inherit a few things that are less desirable too - especially if many of the folks who took the plunge were part of the crew! We could even find ourselves in a spot where we’re cooking the meals or steering the ship!
When turnover is high in an organization, it’s not all that different. Responsibilities can change quickly and work can pile up fast, causing significant pressure to fill open spots with just about anyone who appears remotely qualified. That can make a significant difference in the culture in a really short time, and depending on which roles those remotely qualified folks fill, there could be some mismatches with the organization’s long standing values! And not only can new folks coming in create a dip in what the company had previously been known for, the drop in morale among the ones who are still there can weigh just as heavily. The longer high turnover continues, the farther the company can move from what had been a robust history of maintaining a top-notch culture with strong values and become a place that accepts nearly any warm body that applies.
Just like high turnover begats poor engagement and poor engagement begats high turnover, the same downward spiral can be seen with how turnover affects a culture as well as the values that culture was built on! While this also spills over into the recruiting process, a profitability killer we’ll look at closely soon enough, an intentional approach to providing team members to stay is often one of the best investments we can make. Moving forward, we’ll work through some very specific things we can do to reduce voluntary turnover so we’re capturing all that unnecessarily lost profit - and so we can increase engagement while we uphold our strong values to build an even stronger company culture!