Redefining Employment Churn

Within recruitment and employment churn there are some givens. Employees will come and go; there is volatility in most sectors, and there are always implications associated with employee turnover.

If you want to know how to retain good staff then look towards the behaviour of 2yr olds. If not you could end up like this.


If you speak to a psychometric assessment specialist they will no doubt tell you that the key to retaining staff is in recruiting the right person in the first place.

A neuroscientist might well inform you that psychometrics are out of date and that it was psychometrics that got the disgraced Paul Flowers his job as chair of the Cooperative Bank.

An HR specialist will probably state that 75% of organisations in the UK are concerned about staff churn and that the key to retaining staff is in line management engagement techniques.

And a chat with psychologist Kevin Dutton will reveal that every organisation needs a psychopath, not a full-blown toxic one but one that displays some of their more persuasive characteristics….

I think you get my point. Which is that what is needed, foremost, is a good analysis and understanding of perspective, context and culture. The outcome of which should define what place a particular approach takes and not the other way around.

The most critical aspect of both recruitment and employee retention lies in a “deep-seated” understanding of context and being able to see everything as if for the first time. And that’s where the connection with a toddler comes in.

For anyone familiar with the ‘why’ phase you’ll know it is the start of cognitive recognition, when children want to understand everything that is going on around them and have no denial mechanisms in place, just innate curiosity. An openness.

It’s not a given that what will keep a member of staff is, for example, an increase in benefits or a better relationship with their manager or an excellent set of data analysis. What is a given is that – an openness to change, to new approaches, to asking probing questions, and to seeing your colleagues as if for the first time, is what will give you and your organisation the answers you need to keep staff with you.

This openness is a skill you can learn and contrary to belief – it’s very quick to pick up.

Usually the conversations or the questions you are scared to ask are the ones that are most needed.

This thinking is in fact essential not only for retention but for the recruitment process right from the outset. It is a two-way activity where both employee and employer can hold responsibility for knowing what they want and respond astutely to what they receive right from the start.

An understanding of behaviour, of the culture of your organisation and the skills to react with openness and flexibility hold the main keys to successful employee retention. It is not just about conversations or knowledge or tools or actions – it is about a seamless ability to move between all 4 elements.

I am a brazen advocate of coaching. Simply put it is the art of fast succinct questioning that produces action. It is completely bespoke and it can be used at any part of the process. At its very best it asks the questions other people are afraid to ask and it is an independent broker – like a magpie it will immediately identify the techniques best suited to you and your organisation, be it talent analysis, or experiential training!

Like toddlers great coaches are motivated by curiosity – independent professionals with a fresh perspective on an old problem, who are trained to spot what the insider is missing. And the great coaches pass on these skills to great managers quickly and effectively.

As a member of the Ministry of Defence working for the European Union said to me a couple of weeks ago – what’s not to love about coaching – there’s a person 100% dedicated to your success. Now if that’s not smart toddler thinking then what is?




© Copyright 2014 Sharon Kennet at Coaching Nation–all rights reserved. Feel free to share.