If you are the type person who enjoys college sports, chances are high that you have witnessed a few senior days/nights during your cheering. Those who are finishing out their intercollegiate athletic careers are celebrated, given a chance to be the star, and walk out of the gym/off the field with their heads held high, regardless the outcome. In like fashion, in the business world, we often have going away parties for those moving on to new opportunities.
WHY do we have parties when someone who has been a part of our organization decides that somewhere else will make him/her happier? Unless, as may be the case, you plan to follow the departing, your reaction ought to be one of introspection. What part of the culture where you work is needing improvement so that employee engagement and retention are raised high enough that people wouldn’t think about going anywhere else?
Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a conference speaker (Michael Lorsch) speak about the need for organizations to be both smart and healthy. Smart is the category where most managers and employees live: services/products, strategy, marketing, finance/operations, and technology. Healthy, however, is characterized by those “soft & fuzzy” difference makers that constitute an organization’s DNA (culture): minimal politics, high morale, high productivity, minimal confusion, and low turnover. So….an organization wherein people would rather leave than stay in not healthy and, therefore, not likely to be as successful in the long run as one that is emotionally healthy.
In order to build health and overcome dysfunction, Pat Lencioni (Lorsch’s boss) recommends five roles for leaders:
- go first to build trust
- mine for conflict
- force clarity & closure
- confront difficult issues, and
- focus on collective outcomes
Why not change your culture and make a HUGE deal about new employees? Become more engaging. Mourn when others leave and figure out why so you can work on the business instead of in it!