Talent Management: Utility of viewing Retention work like Preventative Maintenance

A recent article posting in Business Intelligence (10 Reasons Employees Resign) outlines ten common reasons that people leave organizations. For those of us who deal with talent retention this list will be familiar. The ten reasons in this article are:

  • Feeling unappreciated – why would anyone want to stay when their (in their minds at least) are ignored, trivialized, or discounted?
  • Lack of proper compensation – a lack of a sense of quid pro quo regarding rewards and contribution will encourage people to look at other opportunities.
  • Insufficient time-off – every organization has a sense of what it takes to get sufficient levels of performance. The issue is whether it is rational “sense”. Piling on additional work while holding people to pre-piling performance expectations is at best short-term. Few executives would operate their critical capital assets this way for any length of time (those that do, do not see a future for the organization)
  • Change in management – smart executives are attentive to how a new manager will “fit-in” with their assigned area’s people.
  • Outdated equipment and machinery – getting top performance out of people involves ensuring they are well supported by the tools they use. People also interpret how well they are valued by the quality of the tools they are asked to use.
  • Setting realistic goals – asking a machine to sustain operation that is twice its rated level is insane. This is true for people too. We are capable of short bursts of over the top performance, the key term is short bursts.
  • Lack of management support – expecting the best from others means doing your best as a manager, including back your people up when they need it.
  • Need to be challenged – we all know what can to students who are under challenged for any length of time in school, this can happen to adults too. Worse, the adage of “use it or lose it” can apply too.
  • Lack of joyfulness – apart from the engagement of the work itself, is there anything else that I look forward too when I come here to work? Remember, organizations are social entities.
  • Lack of clear pathways to success – If there is no discernible meaningful pathway to further myself in this organization, maybe another will.

Preventative maintenance on physical assets is a practical and useful when they are important to the business’s operations. We typically don’t do preventative maintenance on less important assets (lights) unless there is a safety or some other clear reason to do so.

An organization that values the contributions of its people will show this respect through parallel like preventative maintenance like actions. Consider the list of why people leave organizations above. I am struck by two key themes:

  1. somethings are important to do because they recognize and respect what it takes to properly perform as a person (priorities, workloads, challenges, etc.
  2. somethings are important to do because they recognize that people work in a social context (peers, bosses, subordinates, etc.)

Not everyone in an organization makes the same level of contribution, but if the job is worth having and populating then it is worth attending to those in these roles needs so they can perform well individually and with each other.

The “with each other” sometimes gets lost. critical physical assets are invariably part of linked business process or operating system. So if one component fails or suffers from diminished ability to perform it affects the ability of adjacent assets to perform as well (especially those assets downstream in the process). So if a person becomes disaffected for any of the reasons listed above, not only is their performance potentially an issue but so is the performance of those who are part of the same business process.



About 123stilllearning456

As a management consultant I am passionately interested in talent management and risk/uncertainty issues. In the area of talent management I propose that we seek strategies that look beyond the staffing/employee centric frames of reference. I have been frustrated at the "closing down on possibilities" by these more conventional staffing/employee centric approaches. I have been impressed where people have found systematic solutions to their talent management issues by going beyond the conventional approaches. In the area of risk and uncertainty, I am interested in making this topic relevant to more normal decision making situations. My conceptual foundation is to use the micro-economist's fixed/variable cost theme. I also think it is important to look at these issues for people through their emotional and psychological lens. As a premise I think risk and uncertainty only exist where there is a person who cares about possible events and its consequences. Hence, risk and uncertainty are social based concepts (no sentience, no risk and uncertainty). A major influence on my thinking in this area is Nassim Taleb of "Black Swan" fame. This BLOG provides me with an opportunity to express my thoughts on topics that interest me. As this is an online diary, content is more important to me than polish. I apologize if this distracts from readers' enjoyment and learning. Still I find this a useful way to live up to my namesake, learn more from others and hopefully provoke creative thoughts and ideas in others.
This entry was posted in Decison Making, Performance Management, Strategy, Talent Manangement, Values. Bookmark the permalink.

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