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The Cost of the Lost

I am fascinated with organizations like law firms and medical practices where lawyers, doctors and nurses are placed in senior management positions. ‘Managing Partner’ and ‘Nurse Manager’ are well known positions that you will find in the majority of legal and medical practices. I am often left to wonder what skills or training these professionals, and many others placed in similar leadership positions, have in managing people.

“But she’s really good with people”

Would I go to a professional for a medical concern that was not a trained doctor but had a knack for the sciences? Probably not. And yet over and over again we place professionals in people management positions and fail them by not giving them the skills to succeed. It is our duty to give the staff we appoint in leadership, management or supervisory positions the basic skills in four key leadership areas:

  1. Performance Management: The importance of understanding the strategic benefit and opportunity for employee development made possible by both the annual performance appraisal as well as by choosing to engage in performance related conversations on an ongoing, day-to-day basis.
  2. Communication and Constructive Feedback: There is a great saying that says in order to communicate effectively we need to communicate and then communicate 300 times more than that. Gone are the days of no news is good news. Our staff wants to feel heard, and more so, they want to feel included and involved. Here are the four main ways to communicate in order of most important and effective to least effective: Face-to-face communication, Spoken communication electronically communicated (ex. telephone), Personally addressed written communication (ex. email), Impersonal written communication.(ex. memo). Part of a leaders ability to communicate is to be able to give constructive feedback in a way that engages the employee to understand why an improvement is needed and motivates the employee to want to change.
  3. Conflict Resolution: Failure to hit difficult situations head on in an effective manner and within a safe environment can have cancerous consequences. At the root of many difficult situations is a miscommunication, a lack of communication, a feeling of not being valued or appreciated or a hurt ego. A leaders ability to support staff in navigating conflict early on is crucial to promoting productivity, teamwork, and employee engagement.
  4. Professional Development: The importance of understanding how to ensure the organization is getting the most out of each employee. This is achieved by providing the employee with opportunities for skill improvement or training. A common misconception is that for each additional skill we give our staff we need to give them a promotion and increase in salary. This is absolutely not the case, and a failure to engage our staff in opportunity (especially the Millennial generation) will only result in a lack of engagement or an increase in turnover.

What’s the big deal?

The cost of the unengaged:

Research estimates that universally an estimated 70% (WHAT!) of the workforce is not engaged. This lack of engagement reduces productivity, increases the number of days taken off of work, and directly impacts the company’s bottom line.

The cost of the lost:

A study conducted by Heather Boushey and Sarah Jane Glynn in 2012 that was published in the Center for American Progress found that the average costs to replace an employee are:

  • 16% of annual salary for high-turnover, low-paying jobs (earning under $30,000/annum)
  • 20% of annual salary for midrange positions (earning $30,000 – $50,000/annum)
  • Up to 213% of annual salary for highly educated executive positions

Great businesses understand the value-add of making a small investment in providing their managers, leaders and supervisors with the skills they need to succeed. Not only does it boost morale, motivation, and engagement, but it directly impacts the profitability of the company. A lack of engagement and employee turnover costs organizations directly through reduced efficiency, cost of recruitment, cost of onboarding, the learning curve of the new hire, and the training costs required. Do not get stuck with the costs of the lost, rather, choose to invest in your staff and appreciate the benefits of how it pays to have them stay.

Salopek & Associates offers valuable, engaging and cost-effective 1-day Introduction to Leadership training workshops and 2-day Supervisor Training soft-skill leadership advancement workshops. As an HR Generalist on Salopek’s team, with over ten years experience working with organizations to improve their people processes and organizational efficiencies, I specialize in conducting these workshops and would be happy to discuss the benefits of them for your people and organization. Contact Salopek today to learn more about our Workshops and how we can support your organizations with training & development.


Zane Benefits; Employee Retention – The Real Cost of Losing an Employee

Center for American Progress; Their Are Significant Business Costs to Replacing Employees

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