Assess Employee Retention Risks


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It has been said that your most valuable asset walks out of the doors every single day and you can but hope they come back the next day – your employees!

Keeping employees from leaving a company could be as simple as engaging with them, including them, helping them develop new skills and listening to their ideas. While that sounds deceptively simple, not every leader finds it easy to act when they hear that advice.

Get the facts

Before taking action it is almost always a good idea to get the facts first. Do we have an issue? If so, where are we most at risk? In the case of employees the questions may be – who may be most at risk of leaving the company and what can I (as manager/supervisor/coach) do to avoid that?

The self audit list below may be a good place to start assessing how much anyone on your team may be tempted to leave your team or the company.

Self Audit template

Completing the checklist requires you to answer yes or no to a series of statements as they would apply to each employee on your team. Once you have completed the assessment, add up the numbers of “no” answers you have for each employee and use the Score guide at the top of the page to determine whether each employee would be in the low, medium or high risk from an employee retention perspective.

The next risk to assess, is the impact it would have on your project or team if that particular employee decided to leave. Look at each employee (each column) and consider the unique skills and talents that he or she brings to the project and rate the impact that his/her (unplanned) voluntary departure could have – low, medium or high.

Map it

Where to start? Map the answers from the self audit sheet onto the graphic below. The risk that each employee could decide to leave on the horizontal access and the impact on the project, in case that employee did leave, on the vertical axis.

Then write down the names of employees that would be in the “green zone” vs the “yellow zone” vs the “orange zone”.

The orange area requires immediate and high focus, the yellow zone does require focus, but less so. The green zone requires maintenance. Do not assume that because a retention risk is low today it would stay that way for years. Many talented employees get calls and offers from other companies and recruiters all the time! This means you should never stop reminding them why you are happy that they are on your team! And don’t only tell them, show them! Celebrate milestones and successes, recognize them in meaningful ways and show them how working with your team or company is the right long-term strategy for them. Make sure you offer them advantages towards their overall life goals, their career goals, their work-life balance goals etc.

Take action

Once you know where to focus, use the last worksheet as a checklist for areas where you can lower the risk that someone may consider leaving the team.

Use one checklist per employee and make sure that you have conversations with each employee about the areas where you either did not know the answers (looking at the self-audit worksheet) or you have not said anything to an employee about a particular area.

When it doesn’t work

Sometimes employees will leave for reasons you could neither foresee nor control and though it may negatively impact your team or project, you would need to hire someone else or promote someone else into the role that had become vacant. Make sure you are always developing several employees on your team to take on more tasks and responsibilities. A good pipeline of developing leaders is your best strategy for growth and also for voluntary employee turnover. Parting on good terms when valuable employees leave always leaves the door open for their potential return in the future.

Using this focused approach to assess your employee retention risk exposure does not guarantee that valued employees will not leave. it is simply a prudent way to keep an eye on your biggest assets, employees, and it supports the process of taking timely actions to lower those risks.

Steps to creating a life you love


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When someone wants to change something about his or her life or create new outcomes in key areas, they often need more than just someone telling them to create goals and then implement it. Most people seem to need the steps more clearly spelled out and a workbook or playbook is something they really appreciate. 
 
The steps can be broken down in this way, shown below. You can also download a workbook from this LINK which goes to a googledrive where the document can be downloaded for free.

Step 1:

Understand the process:

 
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Step 2:

What matters to you?

Being clear on what matters to you, makes it easier to understand WHY you would want more of some things in your life and less of other things. While most people think they know the answers to these questions, you will notice how much clearer it gets when you have to write it down and then read it back to yourself. 

202005 step2 myvalues

Step 3:

Do I have time for this?

Most of us could have more time to work on projects that matter to us if we simply started eliminating activities that do not add value to our lives – based on what is important to us. The next two sheets first of all helps to highlight how you spend your weeks (typically) and then helps you identify how much time you could free up for working on activities to gets you closer to a life that would matter to you and which you could love.

202005 step3a mytime

202005 step3b mytime

Step 4:

What I would like to achieve

This sheet starts with jotting down new outcomes that one would like to see in some key areas and then to the right planning on which months of the year (if that matters) one plans to work on each area. The objective would be to avoid having competing priorities among improvement projects. Spacing them out over a year period helps to ensure you keep your focus while making progress in the most important areas over a 12-month period. Note that it is almost always a good idea to pick only maybe two or three projects to work on every month to avoid overload which leads to feeling demotivated.

202005 step4 mygoals

Step 5: 

How will I move forward?

This step gets into more detail. There is an area to select what the next step may be for each of the projects you want to work on – is it more information you need or do you need to reach out to people to sell to or learn from? Or is it time to build a prototype of your idea and try it out? The page continues with identifying whom you know who could help with advice or possibly introduce you to someone who could help you. And then finally identifying where you need to do some research to find out more about what you could explore next and which organizations in your area may be able to help you move forward. 

202005 step5 mypath

Step 6:

What is my plan for the next few months?

Looking at what needs to be investigated or done over the next few months, this sheet provides a space to keep track of the top 2 or 3 things you would like to achieve this month to move forward on the projects you have picked for the next few months. There is also a handy check-box which helps you keep track of completed activities versus ones that are still open.

202005 Step6 MyPlan

Step 7:

How am I doing?

Sometimes we start on the path of working on life improvement projects and then we get stuck. There are many reasons why we might get stuck but getting unstuck is not always easy. This sheet helps you do that. Taking you from your original objectives, this sheet helps you acknowledge how far you got and what you have completed. Then it helps you think through what the next steps would be to continue making proglress and to recognize if you need to stop to ask for advice or get more information in order to move forward. 

202005 Step7 MyProgress

Step 8:

Go back to step 2 and renew your plans

When you have worked through the sheets and some months have passed it is a good idea to go back and review the reasons you are working on the projects – which are captured in step 2. And then follow through each of your completed sheets to see what would you want to change or add to your planning to renew your approach. Some projects end up unfinished because they seem less important once you have taken more time to do research and talk to people with more knowledge in an area. It is okay to decide to abandon those projects – if they do not matter to you anymore. 

Other new projects may be started while a few may continue from your earlier efforts and enter new phases – maybe you are ready to finalize a website or start selling something you have been meaning to put on the market. 

I hope these workbook/playbook pages have given you new enthusiasm to plan out and move forward on creating more outcomes in your life that matter to you resulting in having a life that you love! 

 

Assigning Roles for Meetings


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Have meetings felt unproductive and have not been building your confidence in the value they may have added? Was there insufficient time to consider all the options available or making the best decisions following an open discussion? Perhaps it is time to consider assigning roles to those who attend your meetings.

Productive Meetings

The reason why assigned roles work is that meeting participants are often not fully engaged in asking questions, stimulating discussions, summarizing agreements reached, critically review suggestions or ideas, or ensuring that everyone there has a chance to contribute. Having a specific role to play at a meeting helps participants to focus on helping the team fully explore options, evaluate the options, and make high-quality decisions following the discussion.

The roles are specific and defined and it would require specific individuals to act accordingly for the duration of the meeting. Roles vary from being the one to bring up a lot of questions about the issues on the agenda to being someone who plays devils advocate or being the critical one when it comes to suggestions tabled for consideration. Of course, all meeting participants continue to bring their own skills, opinions, and knowledge to the meeting and are expected to contribute those to the discussions too.

How to assign roles

Roles can be assigned before a meeting, the chairperson can ask meeting participants to volunteer for the various roles before the meeting starts or the chairperson can randomly assign roles at the start of the meeting (often done by means of handout out cards which explain the task of each role on a 2×4 inch card).

Task roles to assign

Initiator/Contributor

Contributes ideas and suggestions or proposes solutions and decisions. Proposes new ideas or reframes existing ideas in a different way.

Information Seeker

Asks for clarification related to comments – are they based on verified data? Asks for information or facts relevant to the problem. Suggests when more information may be needed before making decisions.

Opinion Seeker

Asks for clarification related to comments made by meeting participants.  Find out how people feel about ideas on the table.  Include those who have not yet been able to contribute an opinion during the discussion.

Critic

In a constructive manner, verbalizes ways in which a suggestion or idea could have unforeseen negative consequences for other (internal or external) stakeholders in the implementation of such suggestion/idea.

Process guard

Indicates decision-making errors and biases which may be skewing support towards a particular outcome. Points out departures from agreed-on agenda and discussion goals. Tries to bring the group back to the central issues and raises questions about the direction in which the group is heading

Summarizer

Summarizes what has taken place and what decisions have been made to date. Reminds the group of assumptions made along the way during discussions.

Notetaker and timekeeper

Keeps notes of decisions made, and actions agreed to. Reminds the group of an approaching break/end of the meeting.

Dysfunctional roles at meetings

Sometimes meetings are unproductive because one or more meeting participant is engaging in playing a dysfunctional role during the meeting which stifles discussion, shuts down conversations, and focuses the attention in unhelpful ways. Discussing these before the meeting starts could be another way to create awareness of unproductive meeting behaviors in order to avoid them. Sometimes it can be interesting to review a meeting in hindsight to identify if anyone engaged in any of these dysfunctional roles. This would be useful to help meeting participants develop self-awareness related to their meeting participant behaviors.

dysfunctional roles

It can be a daunting task to keep track of progress, keep an eye on the clock while also making sure that actions and decisions are captured while ensuring that discussions make optimal use of the skills and experience in the meeting room. Assigning task roles to meeting participants can give you a much-improved chance of having a productive meeting which ensures full engagement of all those present.