Your VP for Research and the Associate VP of Marketing have both resigned in the last 30 days to take positions with different competitors.
Disappointing, yes; but nothing to worry about, right?
However, your HR Director just left your office after sharing startling statistics on employee retention, which suggests that very few stay with your company for more than 2 years, especially in the Research and Marketing departments.
What is going on, and why hasn’t this been brought to your attention before now? Or, has it and you just didn’t understand what was actually being conveyed?
Perhaps you should talk with your remaining leadership team members, and ask your HR Director to initiate an employee survey to ascertain employee satisfaction and solicit feedback for improvements.
Based on the information already provided, it seems certain that an organizational strategic change initiative is in order. Maybe it’s the politics, or the culture, or the work process itself. Maybe it's a little bit of all of those, and more.
For example, a friend came to me recently for advice on how to deal with some issues she was facing at work. Since we have been friends for a very long time, she knew I had faced similar challenges, and wanted validation for the options she saw as viable for her particular situation.
It seems the politics in her organization have completely taken over good management practices. Until now, she has done her best not to participate in the games her colleagues seem to enjoy and clearly benefit from based on the promotions and frequent public “at-a-boys” they receive, while she and her efforts are overlooked.
Regardless of her qualifications and superior work performance, her unwillingness to play the game has cost her two promotions and given rise to the perception that she is not a team player.
As we see it, her options are: 1) start playing the politics game and build additional strategic relationships within the company so that she is seen as a team player and can start getting the recognition for her efforts, or 2) find a new position with a different company.
Now is not the
time to be complacent
Based on the resignations noted at the top of this blog and like my friend’s situation, could politics and a culture that supports promotions based on the participation in cliques be the core issue in your organization?
Before you shake your head and say, ‘of course not,’ make sure that the survey conducted by HR includes questions about culture, politics, upward mobility and team cohesion.
Better yet, contract an organizational development professional to provide an unbiased company evaluation, and then work with them to design a strategic change initiative to address the issues revealed.
While it may appear that the culture of promotion via politics is widely accepted, it really isn't. In fact, it is patently toxic to the success of your organization!
Now is not the time to be complacent, thinking that these resignations and the data from HR are just small bumps in the road.
Now is the time to lead by example, to take action to ensure your organization becomes the one everyone wants to work for; not the one they use to get experience and then leave for better opportunities.
Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected management professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.