How to Capitalize on Spring Turnover

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Spring officially arrived on March 20th.  The weather is slowly warming here in Michigan.  I’ve heard the birds expressing their pleasure, and soon we’ll see the grass greening and flowers budding.  Nature’s renewal triggers personal renewal, which often results in a spike in employee turnover.

People take steps to find a more rewarding career path, move to a town they love, or try a new organization.  Supervisors and leaders can take control of the situation by using a proactive approach.

Effective supervisors regularly ask their direct reports if they’re satisfied to ensure they’re not slowly leaking out of the organization.  If you’d like to learn more about actively preventing 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 preparing yourself now to take advantage of any turnover.  It can afford you an incredible opportunity to hire more top performers into your company.

Let’s look at how to take this opportunity to grab good people while they’re instinctively open to a change.

Draw It Out

Begin by dusting off your organizational chart.  If you don’t have one, you will definitely benefit from creating one.  Even if you only have one employee or no employees, this exercise will provide insight about your desires for the future.

You can use technology later, but I recommend starting with a large sheet of unlined paper such as a sketch pad or flip chart.

Start with your current structure.  Include not only people and job titles but also their broad categories of responsibility.  Now step back for a minute and see where you’re at.

Have you included all the typical organizational functions: marketing, information technology, human resources, sales, product development, accounting, production, etc.?  What’s missing?  Add those in, too.

Is one position burdened with too many responsibilities and therefore ineffective?  What would it look like to break that position into two different ones?  On the flip side, are there two that could be combined into one by streamlining tasks?

Play around with it until if feels right, but resist the urge to get it “perfect;” you’ll evolve in the next steps.

Find Alignment with Lines

Now turn to examining the organization’s goals to uncover if the structure aligns with them.  One of the definitions of align is “to arrange in a straight line.”  So, let’s try that approach!

Write your top 5-6 goals horizontally across the top of the page.  Next, draw lines from each goal to the positions that will make that goal a reality.

For example, let’s say you have a goal to get a 20% increase in new customers this year.  Who will be part of making that a reality?  Can you draw a line to the people who will develop new products?  If so, do those 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?  Are there enough of them?

Start to highlight the gaps.  Remember that all these people may not be regular employees.  Include vendors, independent contractors, temporaries, 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, because you absolutely don’t want that.

You need a diverse team of people and opinions to propel the organization forward quickly.  At the same time, 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 of organizational culture won’t make much progress.  They’ll get frustrated and won’t be having any fun.  They’ll also make life miserable for you and the rest of the team!

So, take the time to articulate what your culture is and what it takes to succeed in it.

Include Everyone

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 that 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 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, so just watch what will happen.  Keep your eyes open for those individuals 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 that this can be a more long-term plan; it might not all happen this Spring.  However, you may be surprised at what emerges.

You may have an employee who unexpectedly needs to move out of state.  Or you may be presented with a 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!

It’s More Fun When We Share!

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!

If you know someone who would like this article, please feel free to share it.  This will help us reach more people who can benefit from these ideas or our support.

If there are any topics that you’d like to read more about, please email me directly at

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