“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Sir Richard Branson
The above quote isn’t a new concept … organizational development experts and leadership gurus have been saying this for some time. If you layer in the high cost of attrition in terms of productivity, effectiveness and profitability, it just makes good business sense, even for those who reject “touchy-feely” concepts.
But what does it say about the leader that really “gets” this idea? And what kind of people does this mindset attract? Granted, people occasionally change professions or career direction for reasons other than poor leadership, but the statistics still lean towards the old adage that “people join companies and leave bosses.”
“Train people well enough so they can leave.” A mindset like this does not thrive in a scarcity model. The leader who is invested in their team members’ professional and personal development knows there is plenty of talent to go around. They aren’t threatened by the success or knowledge of their staff; rather they believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its’ parts. They see financial investment in training and education as a required budget line; not optional or a “nice to have.”
This leader doesn’t box people in to the scope of their job description or argue about time “wasted” in training or shut down creativity or new thinking. When your staff is coloring outside the lines they are still engaged, they still believe in possibility, they are still looking for better ways to improve their work and their product! If you are the smartest person on your team, dear leader, you’re all in trouble.
The professional who knows they have marketable skills and have kept up with changing technologies or improved their soft-skills development – and have had such opportunity provided by you – feels valued. They have confidence that they are not part of that expendable “overhead” budget line because you have tangibly demonstrated that you see them as an asset to be protected. And when you invest in team development through workshops or team-building exercises you declare your understanding of the relational side of retention.
The “training” and the “treating” are two sides of the same coin. If you want to improve the retention of your assets, invest in them.
Pattie Vargas, Principal and Founder, The Vargas Group, is a frequent conference speaker on the topics of change management, organizational development, personal resilience and issues facing women in the workplace. As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker, she provides seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching to move you and/or your team or organization in the desired direction to reach your goals. Proprietary Communication 2016