Are You Boring Employees Into Leaving?

How to attract and retain employees who actively work to improve the business.

Good pay and benefits can only buy an employee’s attention for so long. If you want to reduce turnover AND improve profitability and competitive position, employees must be challenged and developed.

Imagine going to work every day and standing at the same place in an assembly line doing basically the same work every day. Boring.

Imagine working in purchasing, and every day is spent issuing POs, following up on late deliveries, and reviewing invoices provided by A/P because of small dollar differences. Boring.

Imagine being a plant manager and spending hours each week approving time cards and being inundated with questions from Accounting about the volume variance in some department account. Boring.

Both business and operations processes can be designed to automatically process the routine and use the thinking skills of employees to handle the exceptions. Better yet, focus on developing those thinking skills so that every employee contributes ideas to improving the business.

Déjà vu is not an invigorating work environment. Driving problems from the business to never reappear is a goal we can all get excited about.

Learning to define a problem before trying to solve it, learning how to continually challenge thinking to find root cause, and learning not to offer “talk with the operator” as the solution to errors takes energy and time, but is critical to a learning environment. And a learning environment is the only one that can eliminate repeat problems.

Employees want to think, learn and contribute to improving their work. If you’re convinced that they don’t, the culture in your organization is limiting success. Employees want to feel part of a team working together to accomplish something that matters. Making the owner richer doesn’t drive that dream, and few will object to that happening in the pursuit of a higher goal.

When an organization begins to shift from command-and-control to one of active participation by all, employees are rationally hesitant to believe their ears. And none, including top executives, arrive as fully developed omniscient creative and analytical thinkers. Begin to ask questions like “what did we learn?” when discussing challenges. Admit freely your own ignorance of specific problems and situations. Make it safe to not know. Only then can learning begin.

And only then can you attract and retain employees who actively work to improve the business.

As published by IndustryWeek