Beware the Ides of March: 3 Ways Your Company is the Julius Caesar of Employee Turnover

Leadership can be deadly. The unfortunate demise of Caesar, the Roman Emperor assassinated by his own senators, exemplifies how bad things can get when leaders ignore employees. If the following sounds like your organization, you may be bound for some employee turnover this Ides of March.

Ignoring the Predictions

Caesar’s death was foreshadowed by a soothsayer who predicted that the bright day would bring forth the adder. Still he chose to turn a deaf ear to how effective his leadership was. While the ancient Romans relied on fortunetellers, modern day leaders have more scientific methods to predict low employee morale. Talent analytics using employee benchmarks, HR metrics, and turnover rates can capture the wavering vital signs of a company. Companies who take advantage of predictive analytics are more accurate in how they retain staff, decrease employee turnover, improve company brand, and increase productivity. Ignoring predictions in today’s workplace will at minimum, create patterns of workplace inefficiency, and at worst, create a modern day Ides of March where turnover and C-Suite changes put the company’s future at stake.

Failing to Solicit Feedback

Caesar was unaware of how poor employee-employer relations were within his organization. In modern times, formal and informal performance assessments, upwards evaluations, 360 degree feedback, and exit interviews give managers insight into employee appreciation and trust. The 360 degree survey, for example, is a developmental (rather than punitive) tool which allows leaders to see their impact over a period of time. In Caesar’s case, he failed to solicit feedback before and after his reforms. It is especially important to be in tune with employee sentiment before and after key company initiatives. When done well it drives cultural change, and also allows us to measure the progress and ROI. Companies who don’t pay attention to how their people feel will eventually find out the hard way.

Undervaluing High Performers

Brutus, Caesar’s second in command, was the one whose betrayal dealt the most powerful blow. As the poignant “Et tu, Brute?” conveys, Caesar was in the dark about his performance from the colleague he valued most. Critical to success for any business is preserving human capital. In most organizations, a few aspects are universal. Provide developmental opportunities, work/life balance, and actively solicit feedback from the most influential people at the company. Failing to acknowledge the importance of human capital can inspire staff to take their talents elsewhere, often into the hands of competition. Employee turnover of key staff can incite a wave of disloyalty that inspires coworkers to take to the street.

Whether it is ancient Rome or the modern day call center, hospital, or office, managerial dysfunction happens even to the strongest of leaders. While not as carnal as the Ides of March, systemic employee turnover can be devastating.

Employee Retention Idea #42

Start small with your big data and heed your predictions! Take advantage of the data you collect already and trend it over a timeline of 3, 6, and 12 months. Compare organizational metrics currently tracked (e.g. headcount, separations, and performance appraisal scores) across years. Is it up, flat, or turning down? Do you see any red flag trends in the last 2 or 3 years? Bite-sized data reviews (one to two metrics at a time) help you stay in front of any new down-trending finds before they stab you in the back.

The good news is retention is a science. To hear more about how you can leverage predictive analytics or feedback to retain top talent, ask the employee retention experts.


Posted: 3/14/2017

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