Spring officially arrives on Sunday. The weather is warming. We’ve dusted the snow off of our shoulders and slipped on our shades. The grass is greening and the flower heads peeking up. Nature’s renewal triggers personal renewal and the result is a spike in turnover in the Spring.
People take steps to find a more rewarding career path, move to a town they love or try a new organization. The best way for supervisors and leaders to approach this is with a sense of control that comes with being proactive.
Effective supervisors are constantly talking with employees to ensure they’re satisfied and aren’t slowly leaking out of the organization. If you’d like to learn more about how to actively prevent unnecessary and undesired turnover, check out my past blog article titled “3 Things to do Today to Prevent Turnover of your Best Employees”.
Another proactive approach is to capitalize on the fact that Spring brings the courage to make a job move. There’s the incredible opportunity to get more top performers into your company. Take the opportunity to grab good people while they’re instinctively open a change.
Let’s explore how to be prepared do that.
Draw It Out
The best place to begin is to dust off your organizational chart. If you don’t have one, you will definitely benefit from creating one. You can use technology later, but I recommend starting with a large sheet of unlined paper such as a sketch pad or flip chart.
Even if you only have one employee or no employees, you will glean great insight from this exercise. Start with your current structure. Include not only people but also titles and a broad description of roles.
Now step back for a minute and see where you’re at.
- Think of all the typical organizational functions: marketing, information technology, human resources, sales, product development, etc. What’s missing? Start to add that in.
- Is one position burdened with too many responsibilities and therefore ineffective? What would it look like to break that position into two?
Find Alignment with Lines
What are the company or organization’s goals and does this structure aligned with them? This is the most likely place that your structure could be ineffective.
One of the definitions of align is “to arrange in a straight line”. So let’s try that!
Write your top 5-6 goals across the top of the page. Then draw lines from the goal to the positions that will make that goal a reality. For example, you have a goal to get 20% new customers this year. What is different about this year than last year? What will ensure that this goal is met? If you are going to develop new products, can you draw a line to the people who will do this? If so, do the people have the right skills? Can you draw a line from there to the marketing team that will ensure potential customers know what’s new? Can you draw a line from there to the sales people to meet with the customers? Is there enough of them?
Start to highlight the gaps. As you do, remember that not all of these need to be regular hires. Include vendors, independent contractors, temporary employees, etc. on the organizational chart to give you a complete picture of available resources.
Identify Organization-wide Characteristics
Now that you know what positions and skill sets you need more of, identify the type of person that will be successful in your company. This is not because you want a bunch of people cut from the same cookie cutter, you absolutely don’t want that. You need a great diversity of people and opinions to propel the organization forward quickly.
You also need people that can go with the natural flow of the organization. An employee that is like a kayaker paddling upstream against a strong current or organizational culture, they won’t make much progress. They’ll get frustrated and they won’t be having any fun. They’ll also make life miserable for you and the rest of the team!
The above analysis is most effective when done with your staff or department. There are three reasons I recommend this.
1) They will see things you’ve missed. The old adage two heads are better than one is true in this case. You see the things from your perspective but you’re likely not seeing the whole picture.
2) It increases their level of ownership in what is happening in the business. We know from research that engagement leads to increased retention and performance, particularly for high performers who need a challenge.
3) Everyone is in the loop. Rather than coming up with a plan behind closed doors, rolling it out and trying to get everyone pumped up about it, let them create it with you. They’ll be naturally pumped up by the process.
Keep Your Eyes Open
You have now put out into the universe what you need, now watch what will happen. Keep your eyes open for those individual that fit the description you created. They might be at a dinner party, sitting next to you at a basketball game or you might see their profile online.
If you don’t have any openings and can’t financially afford to take on anyone else, remember, this can be a longer term plan, it might not all happen this Spring. However, you may be surprised.
You may have an employee unexpectedly need to move out of state. Or you may be presented with brochure from a vendor who can do a piece of the work you need. Or even better, business will start booming and you’ll be ready to hire quickly!
Please post your thoughts about what I shared in the comment section below. I’d love to read examples of how you’ve been able to snap up a great employee in the Spring!
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