Haren musings on people, jobs, loyalty and .....
Whether we are in the flurry of excitement generated by a boom period or in the tempered consideration of the bottom of a cycle there will always be people prepared to take a risk and move jobs. It is well known that the cost of losing a person and going through the, sometime long, process of finding a replacement is an expensive exercise. The expense is not only in the immediate outlay of money for recruitment and start-up training but in the more intangible but ultimately more costly loss of intellectual capital and disruption to the team.
So why do people see greener grass?
Recent articles in the AusIMM and conversations with professionals recently changing or considering changing positions has pointed towards a major source of the unhappiness that drives people to look for other opportunities.
Fulfilling promises means doing what you said you would do, but it also means, as a manager, ensuring that the company fulfils the promises made to its people. Largely these promises are made in performance reviews and are titled “professional development” or “career progression”. Managers should feel at the time of agreement to a course of action that it is possible to achieve. Often the technical mentoring and training is, by necessity, needed to be delivered by the manager who would be the most experienced person to do so. Where these promises are not fulfilled is not from a lack of care or understanding of the importance but more so by a lack of planning and lack of time. The reality of a busy working operation is that everyone has a job to do and there is no spare time to achieve these promises.
We need to plan career progression for our people and we need to invest in that plan both with time and money. Experience at operations has shown that in a working environment time is more important than money in a relative sense. Usually the time needed by the manager to effectively fulfil the promises of technical mentoring and training is untenable as their time needs to be spent attending the managerial duties. Any time available will be interrupted by immediate “fires to put out” which can leave people unsatisfied that they haven’t been given full attention.
This is where consultants can ease the burden.
Specialist technical mentoring and training can allow the promises to be fulfilled. Allowing people time out to attend intensive training courses for, say, five days can be expensive both in time and money but are a wonderful source of excitement for the participant and fit very well into the promises of professional development. Training courses also provide a wealth of technical information for the participant. Technical mentoring is the intensive next step in professional development by taking knowledge and building it into practical skills and exposure to enhance experience. The objective is to take people back to their workplace and help them to do their job better as well as building up their skills into new areas. Some consultants can provide a wealth of experience as well as possessing the skills to be able to effectively provide technical mentoring to enhance peoples experience and problem solving abilities.
The benefits to the manager and company are many. There will be a reduction in pressure on managers as they will have fulfilled their promises through outsourcing the training and technical mentoring. The accelerated learning of people will ensure high quality work outcomes and problem solving skills. The fulfilment of professional development promises means that the manager and company has shown it means what it says and will follow through on promises. And we rarely leave unless we’ve been lied to.