I hear the same thing from colleagues at other agencies all the time: employee retention is one of their biggest challenges. In the agency world, turnover is seen as one of our top problems.
But I disagree. I think turnover is an opportunity. Here’s why:
It allows us to right-size our talent. When team members leave, an agency can bring in people better suited to the company’s current needs. And when someone quits, it’s an opportunity to upgrade or downgrade the role, depending on where the holes are in the organization.
Turnover increases diversity of thought. Anytime you have an open position, there is an opportunity to increase diversity. It’s a good time to assess your current team and work climate to ensure you have a variety of experiences and backgrounds in your workforce.
It’s an opportunity to demonstrate company values. Sometimes, some team members are not the right fit for your organization. They may have been great in the past, but now have different needs, priorities or interests after contributing years of loyalty, blood, sweat and tears.
How companies and employees act and treat each other when their partnership ends speaks volumes about the company and the employee. Remember, your other employees are watching. You want them to see they can also exit with dignity. Showing mutual respect when someone leaves allows everyone to demonstrate strong values.
Everyone benefits from the onboarding process. Of course replacing great talent is a challenge. Getting new team members up to speed is time-consuming and drains company resources. But onboarding is also a training opportunity for the long-term employees involved in the hiring and onboarding process. It’s a terrific refresher — for everyone involved — on all things about your company.
Turnover can also remove negative energy from your office. When it comes to office culture, one employee who doesn’t want to be there can poison the whole well. Ultimately, we all want to work with people who want to work with us.
If a once terrific employee now seems checked out or unhappy, take time to work with them to improve the situation. But as soon as it becomes an unproductive drain on resources, help them find their next great opportunity. You’ll feel relief the second they walk out the door -- and so will the rest of your team!
Turnover can create a boomerang culture. Perhaps even more important, turnover is an opportunity for an employee to gain valuable experience, and potentially return to the agency one day with a different perspective, which leads to diversity of thought.
Your strongest team members are aligned with your values. They are dedicated to the work you do, and you invest in them even though we know all employees are going to leave sooner or later.
If you take the right approach, you can maximize the longevity of your most valuable team members and you can also find the silver lining every time an employee leaves.
Rachel Hadley is president of Kite Hill PR.