4 Steps to “I Quit!”
Just when you think you have all your key positions filled with the right people, and you can go back to doing your own job, someone walks out the door leaving you high and dry. Sound familiar?
In this current economy it may not be possible to give someone a raise to entice them to stay with your company. Or you may be in an industry that doesn't allow for higher wages, due to competition; or the job doesn't require a higher skill set. In some industries turnover is a fact of life, but you CAN avoid being a revolving door and slow down your turnover rate.
Question: Why do some employees quit a company where they are receiving the standard pay rate for their position, only to go to work for another company in the same industry for the SAME pay? On the surface this doesn't make much sense. Or does it?
Maybe the following story will shed some light on this problem…
Several months ago, I was in the middle of a two-hour Webinar demonstration of our software with two owners from the same industry. During the course of the demo I received positive feedback from one owner, but a lot of push back from the other owner. This second owner became frustrated as I went over the various systems that help organize/systemize a company, explaining why control systems are necessary. Suddenly, he stopped me and said, "Philip, we are a very organized company—in fact, we are one of the most organized companies in our industry. Furthermore,” he said, “I was mentored by the original owner of this company who was all ABOUT systems. I get what you’re saying”—obviously I had hit a hot button, and he continued—“but I don't want my people getting bogged down with Quality Control Checklists, Daily Routine Checklists, and these other systems you are touting. Our techs are highly trained and, frankly, this seven-page checklist would be an insult to them!”
I said, “Bob, I understand and I don't want you or your employees doing any redundant systems, if it's going to bog them down and cost you time and money. However, I would ask you to answer this question: Do your techs process jobs consistently, meeting your high-quality standards? I mean, do they process the jobs as YOU would, if you were doing every job yourself, OR if you were onsite watching every step they make?”
After a long pause Bob said, “No.”
“Okay, Bob,” I said, “I believe that's the level of quality and accountability that’s needed, and I believe that's what you are looking for. You’re right, seven pages is a long checklist, but I know other companies in your industry that are using them successfully, saving time and money. I know that if one of your tech’s misses just one or two prompts on this checklist, it would be very costly to your company, not to mention, the job would be placed on-hold until all prompts were done correctly.”
I completed the demo thinking I had really upset this owner. Maybe I was too pushy and he would never become a client, as he hardly spoke after that exchange.
Four days later, I was very surprised to get a call from Bob, saying, “Philip, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what you said in the demo, and about the detailed checklists you demonstrated. In fact, as I have been observing my managers’ interactions with our techs, I have repeatedly heard them tell the techs, “You need to remember” this or that. I called a meeting with my managers and asked them why our company asks our techs to “remember” so much detail, to the point of frustration.
Bob said he told his managers that he was beginning to see why their people get frustrated and QUIT. He told me he had observed FOUR STAGES with many employees at his company:
- Excitement at first working for the company.
- Self-disappointment, when committing errors on work that is very detailed.
- Declining MORALE, from being reprimanded for errors made, and constantly being told to “remember” this or that, so as not to make the error again.
- Finally QUITTING, feeling they cannot live up to our company’s standards.
Obviously, Bob had done much soul-searching since the last time we had talked, and I was happy to see he had come to some serious conclusions. He said, “I see now that it’s not fair to them, expecting so much when we really don't have systems to deal with many of our issues. Okay, Philip,” he said, “What's the next step? I’m ready to commit to these systems and we want to come aboard.”
To make a long blog short, Bob is now encouraged that he won’t be seeing a repeat of those four steps, as it was before, and has become one of the most tenacious client/owners we've ever worked with. He has personally taken charge of implementing and tweaking all of the quality control checklists and other control checklists with a renewed enthusiasm. He’s even bringing NEW ideas for continual improvement.
Now it’s MY turn to be encouraged!
Did I mention? Great Systems Work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.