Employee advocates vs. retention

by Edward Henkler on May 13, 2014

Changes in the economy and the workforce have ensured that employee retention is becoming increasingly more difficult.  Millennials can be expected to change jobs every 3-4 years and various studies have shown that as much as 40% of new leaders will fail within 18 months of being hired.  George Bradt and Prime Genesis have developed a comprehensive approach to significantly increase the success rate for new leaders.  While I’m a fan of George’s work, I wonder if we need an equal focus on creating employee advocates?  Help your employees realize their dreams and they’ll remain loyal regardless of who signs their paychecks.

I’d like you to envision two scenarios:

#1 – You’ve worked for an employer for 5 years and you get “the call”.  “Hi John, I’d like you to drop by my office.”  You walk into your boss’ office and are told that due to organizational restructuring your position has been eliminated.  In most cases, you’ll receive a separation package covering outplacement services and some ongoing pay to bridge you to your next opportunity.  Dependent on the size of your company and your level, this package can be worth quite a bit of money but it probably won’t endear you to your former employer and it may not return you to the workforce.

 #2 – You’ve worked for an employer for 5 years and you get “the call”.  “Hi John, I’d like you to drop by my office.”  You walk into your boss’ office and a different discussion ensues.  “John; I’m afraid we’re about to undergo some organizational change and your position is being eliminated.  You are certainly eligible for the standard separation package but I know your dream has been to open an eldercare franchise <insert whatever dream you’d like>.  Your separation package can be restructured to provide the necessary funding to get you started and a low interest loan to cover additional expenses.”  You still might be a little scared but you are immediately re-employed and have a kick start of which most can only dream.

 Unhappy v Happy Employee

In the second scenario, you are much more likely to have created an employee advocate.  A wise employer might maintain ties with the employee and in a few years, if the company’s fortunes have changed, perhaps they’d like to bring John back with some entrepreneurial experience under his belt.  If he loves his new world, he won’t return but might send others.  If he’d prefer traditional employment, then perhaps he’ll accept the offer and you will have an internal advocate with new business skills.

This won’t work for everyone but if you can convert even a portion of your employees, you will have engaged a very powerful force.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: