Any organization that experiences high turnover, especially persistent high turnover, tends to spend a lot of time, money and resources training personnel and getting new hires up to speed. We tend to get attached to those who come through our ranks and make training, quality expectation, and management easy.
If we are not careful, we may tend to grow attitudinal towards those who “make our job harder”, who may not have the same natural fit as our last favorite employee, or who may require basic training, whereas the last trainee ‘got it’. These predispositions can sabotage our ability to create an attractive workplace for employees.
In a labour market with limited natural resources, they can pin our frustrations on those who haven’t got our background in the industry or organization. Individuals whose goals ultimately lead them through the organization rather than make a home there may also receive our passive aggressive frustrations through behaviours and attitudes.
The secret with high turnover is this: we may be more responsible for high turnover than we’d care to admit. When we let ourselves get set in ideas that pre-determine how good an employee is going to be, in a mindset that judges an employee’s level of commitment against our own level of commitment, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.
That disappointment can eventually work its way back to our employees in the form of judgments, un-supportive attitudes, pre-emptive non-listening, and the like. Unrealistic expectations undermine a potentially beneficial employer-employee relationship with inappropriate feedback and demands. Like it or not, the employee needs to participate in determining his or her level of commitment, support and training needed in order to best contribute to the organization.
The big picture is not ideal employees and effortless management. The big picture is the successful functioning of the organization.
Often, the extent of the problem is below the radar. Passive aggressive behavior on the part of a manager is ‘in payment for‘ a lower level of commitment to the job, or due to the perception on the part of the manager that the new hire or trainee is not trying. The trainee may not be as ideally suited for the tasks and perspectives that make doing those tasks efficient and up to the manager’s standards. These passive aggressive perceptions and their consequent behaviors are not uncommon, especially with managers who have invested a high level of commitment, have a great deal of skill in the jobs they are training, and have taken pride in their work.
Misconceptions about the employee, however, can create a stressful atmosphere, with less patience than is optimal for training the people that are available to fill those positions. In a world of dwindling naturally talented people filling those positions, we owe it to ourselves and our organizations to get these stressful, tension inducing attitudes out of the way get to know our staff and how we may support them, their goals and interests on their journey through our tasks and roles.
Remember, employees are employees. No matter how good they may be. So set your expectations and therefore attitude accordingly.