Employee Retention | Danny Nelms The Work Institute | Propel Change
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Employee Retention | Danny Nelms The Work Institute

Employee Retention | Danny Nelms The Work Institute

Today’s video is with Danny Nelms, President of The Work Institute. Danny shares with us incredibly insightful information from the Work Institute annual employee retention report.

DONNA: So Danny thank you so much for being here, I have like a gazillion questions.

DANNY: Fire away Donna. Thanks for having me by the way.

DONNA: You’re welcome and it’s so good to see you.

DANNY: Good to see you.

DONNA: So I know that you guys specialize in retention and engagement with the work institute and you have hundreds of clients that employ you to make sure employees are engaged and they’re retained and so what you do and how you do, that’s very cool. But what I really wanna ask you about is the annual retention report, which I think is fabulous that you publish. Can you talk to me a little about what’s in that report? Why do you do it? How does it help me if I’m one of your hundreds of clients?

DANNY: Great question Donna. The report has frankly got two pieces. So number one, we want to take a deeper dive into the workforce economics of today. So looking at everything from unemployment to what does the labor force look like to have all of those factors that create the environment that companies have to work within. So one of the key issues that we know today is that they’re actually more job openings in the US than there are unemployed people. So that creates what we call an employee in control marketplace. They’re a seller and a seller’s market. And so that creates requirements for companies that didn’t exist say eight years ago when we’re going through the recession. And then the second part of the report really focuses on the real reasons employees just quit their jobs and getting beyond sort of many of the assumptions that we make about why people leave and get to the root cause so that we can at least show on a national basis what’s going on as it relates to employee retention.

DONNA: Do you think that leaders Danny want to believe one thing when it’s actually completely different why people are leaving?

DANNY: Absolutely

DONNA: That would be yes?

DANNY: That would be yes

DONNA: Just speechless.

DANNY: And I think it’s not completely wrong, but let me give you a couple of examples and I talk about us speak on all over the country and presenting the report itself and our findings in the report. And there’s two things that people believe. 1. Employees leave for money and 2. Employees leave because of their manager. And those both are true, they just aren’t the truest from the standpoint of those are not the top reasons why employees leave. So for example, the number one reason people leave their job is related to career issues and career development.

DONNA: So I’m not developing my employees and I give them no, they’re at dead end? So this is all you can do at this company so they look for another place.

DANNY: It’s not completely that way and this is where this report I think is important and one of the things I hope we talk about today is how we use data to lead in organizations is that career development is not just about advancement, it’s also about how you invest in a person to grow in their current job. And actually the growth and current job is increasing substantially over the last six years, it’s increased 140% as a reason why people leave. It’s not because of an advancement issue, but because you’re not investing in me to grow in my job. Versus there are promotional issues and then they’re simply type of work so people decide that they wanna do a completely different type of work. But again, many times companies are not really understanding the landscape, they’re not having good conversations with employees. I saw one the other day where an employee left because he finally got his CDL license and he went to work for another company as a truck driver. Guess what the company he left has hundreds of truck drivers. So why was it that he felt the need to leave the company to go be a driver when there were so many opportunities within that company and somehow we’re not getting to those issues in organizations.

DONNA: So if part of your services that you offer, that’s one of the things is why did you leave? And that’s how you learn those stories, is that correct?

DANNY: That’s correct.

DONNA: So what do you do with that information? Cos I know you gather that information, you give it back to the company and what’s the so what behind it?

DANNY: And it’s the biggest challenge. So I think one of the challenges as it relates to retention is that companies don’t treat it as much around change. So in order to affect retention then they have to change the way they’re doing things, they have to change behaviors, they have to implement certain interventions or solutions. And seemingly it’s one of those things that never gains traction from a really project manage type process. And you have to treat it like a process just like you would an engagement study where there seems to be that standard or we gonna design the questionnaire and then we gonna deploy the survey and then we gonna do some analysis and then we’re gonna start action planning, and they do that around the engagement issue. They don’t do it around retention. Not at that same type of effort.

DONNA: Interesting. So that’s one of the reasons that you put the retention report out is from an awareness and here’s what you should do now?

DANNY: Right.

DONNA: Excellent.

DANNY: So part of what we’re trying to do is to first just get people to think, to think about the fact that maybe they’re making faulty assumptions. I mentioned for example, when people think they leave because of managers, in some cases that’s the number three reason for example why people leave that’s their manager, but compensation for example doesn’t come up until like number five and literally less than 1 in 10 people as a root cause leave because of money. Now when I talk to people, what I explain to them is many cases because we’re not getting to the root cause people will say, I left because of money, but the reality is they left because you don’t pay me enough to put up with and just fill in the blank. And that’s the issue that we have to be dealing with and so the retention report is all about identifying those kinds of issues where we’re not just assuming that it’s money or it’s just the manager.

DONNA: So I know you speak all over the country about this and I know you’re in high demand as a speaker, so we’ll have to talk about that later but I think that’s cool. What I wanna know is if I wanna get ahold of that retention report.

DANNY: So it’s on our website.

DONNA: You give it out, right? It’s not like you ask people to pay for it because what you care about is people really understand this is a big deal that you need to be thinking about.

DANNY: Yeah. We give it out for free

DONNA: It’s not like you ask people to pay for it because what you care about is people really understand this is a big deal that you need to be thinking about.

DANNY: And we also want people to see it as being valid research. So this data comes from 173 companies across the US. It comes from 34000 plus exit interviews that were done with a scientifically valid methodology. So many exit interviews are not done through a scientifically valid methodology. So this is data that leaders can believe and that they know to be true. Society for Human Resource Management is the primary professional association in HR which is obviously my background. And they put out a study a year or two ago that said money was the number one reason why people left and why they stayed.

DONNA: Does it make you go like no!

DANNY: Their sample size was 279 people.

DONNA: Oh my gosh, hopefully they’re not watching this

DANNY: If they are that’s okay

DONNA: Don’t send it to them Danny don’t send it to them. They should come to you and ask how do I do this so that it’s scientifically valid?

DANNY: Right. But we believe so many things that we read in the newspaper or in a magazine or whatever and do we look at how that research was actually validated?

DONNA: You never ask that. Well was it on the Internet, isn’t that the validation? Was it on the Internet?

DANNY: That’s right. Exactly.

DONNA: This is great information so I now know that if I want that retention report, all I have to do is zip over to your website, download it, That’s fantastic. I think it’s a great service.

DONNA: So Danny, I also promised you that I would let you pick my brain about anything with I don’t know what the question is so I’m ready for anything that you want to know. So it’s your turn now.

DANNY: So Donna I know you are a change expert, that is your expertise and that is what you love. And my question to you is how do you get leaders to really transition from trying to lead and manage organizations through assumptions as opposed using data and using real data to actually manage the organization?

DONNA: So there’s not one easy thing that you can do. Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill, if there was I’d be a millionaire and on a beach we would not even be having this conversation. But I think one of the things that you have to do is look at the leader from what is important to them? And so if they believe that the way they’ve managed forever and ever has been 100% successful, it’s gonna be really hard to change them. And if it truly has been 100% successful, you’re seeing that. So when you start to be able to say, this has worked and this has worked but here’s what we’re seeing, this isn’t working. So instead of saying change everything, maybe you change one piece and you do it based on what your data says. I know that you know about our forte assessment and one of the things that we look at there is how do you manage? And what are the pieces that we see is I go all the way from total intuition to just give me the facts. If there’s somebody who’s more on the intuitive side of things, it’s a little harder for them to say, okay, I have to use data too, unless there’s a push to do it or reason to do it. So when you’re starting to look at how are we gonna change that leader’s mind, you have to find out what’s not working first and find out what is working and why it’s working so it’s back to your root cause. When you can find something that’s not working and say if you look at these things, this data and train them to start looking at that type of thing so that if I try a new technique and so you’ve always got to give new techniques too, cos change can’t happen because Oh, you just know what to do cos if they knew what to do they’d do it. That’s what we always look at. So give them a new technique, help them develop the habit of using a report or using data and I mean join at the hip a little bit, so that they can understand the value of that. When they start seeing the light, it’ll be like, whoa my goodness! The other side of the coin is you have a leader

DANNY: Can I stop you for second Donna?

DONNA: Absolutely

DANNY: Cos I wanna ask you something because many times when –

DONNA: That’s the second question Danny?

DANNY: No, this is 1B. Because you mentioned asking questions, why is it so hard sometimes for us as consultants but also internally in companies, why is it so hard for us to ask questions as opposed to just pontificating opinions?

DONNA: Because one may give you answers that you don’t want or that fit into your realm. The other one is much easier because you’ve already thought about it, so I’ll just direct you all to do that but I’ll tell you from a change perspective when you do that to some people, there are people who want that, and then there are people who go, whatever you want, whatever you just told me I must do, I’m gonna do the opposite. I’m Kinda one of those people which you know that I know. So as a result I think it’s almost like a customer service. It’s an internal customer service that you have to look at is If I’m trying to get my people to do x, y, z, everybody has different levels. There’s gonna want to make them do that, so how am I gonna talk to you? How am I gonna talk to Kat? How am I gonna talk to Tom, how am I gonna talk to everybody in the organization to help them understand this is why we’re doing it from an organizational perspective, and Danny this is how it benefits you. It’s those two pieces that help people start to change. So that’s why it’s important with a leader, you have to tell them how it’s benefiting them, which is you’re gonna be more effective. You’re gonna be able to give more information to people that’s going to be acted on immediately. Does that help? – Yes.

DONNA: Thank you for 1b. Danny thanks a lot for joining us today, we really appreciate it. I love the retention report and I love everything that it stands for and what people can use it for. I appreciate it.

DANNY: Thanks for the time today. I appreciate it.