Monday, August 4, 2008

I Quit, But Forgot to Tell You (Guest Blogger Terri Kabachnick)

This week, while I’m away on a business trip, I thought I’d have my mastermind group colleague Terri Kabachnick of The Kabachnick Group,, share some of her wisdom regarding how to keep a company’s most important asset at hand and productive – the people – and focusing on the importance of job satisfaction vs. retention.


As customers, we have been 'served' by people who quit but never left. As employees, we have been managed by bosses who quit but managed to stay. As managers, we have managed people who physically attend but mentally pretend.

Far too many companies suffer from the tremendous cost of employee turnover and what they must do to retain valuable workers. Retention remains a critical challenge for all businesses, but it’s time to redefine the term. We must examine the reasons for retention, as well as its benefits and costs, and realize that the virus of disengagement is spreading throughout the workplace – usually faster than turnover.


Retention is not a cure for turnover. Retaining a disengaged employee is far worse than letting him go – regardless of how valuable he once was. Far too much time and money is wasted on training workshops and seminars teaching disengaged workers how to 'talk the talk,' when in the end, they won’t 'walk the walk.' Instead, we must learn to recognize disengaged workers before we waste more time and money in futile attempts to change them.


1. Take the temperature of your organization often. Use unbiased tools and assessments to unearth the truth.

2. Continually coach employees to improve job performance.

3. Alert employees when they’re about to make a mistake.

4. Teach employees new ideas and concepts so they can increase their value.

5. Be brave enough to communicate in clear, direct language.

6. Focus on the individual’s assets.

7. Be honest in understanding your own strengths and limitations as
a leader.

8. Pay attention to your 'quiet talent,' recognizing their consistency and dedication; reward them in quiet ways.

9. Invite top performers to meetings they would not normally attend.

It is critical that managers know their employees’ job satisfaction status. If disengagement has set in, a thorough assessment must be completed before any solutions are prescribed.

Managers need to uncover the roots of disengagement and define the focus of improvement. Trying to determine reasons for disengagement by simply asking the employee is like trying to diagnose a heart condition by merely listening to the heart."

And, the employee must agree that your assessments and analyses are correct. Opinions play no role in diagnosing disengagement.

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