Skip to main content

15Five acquires Emplify and relaunches human-centered platform Learn more

404 – Your Best Employees Are Looking for a New Job | Adam Weber

Mar 19, 2020 | 00:00

00:00 00:00

Episode Description

Do you have a false sense of security when it comes to your employees? In our research, we found we found that 72.7% of people are "currently open to a new career opportunity” And those who are open could be the very people you thought were highly engaged.

This week we are bringing back Nick Smarrelli, CEO of GadellNet Consulting Services along with Adam Weber, Chief People Officer and Co-founder of Emplify to discuss the impact turnover can have on an organization. 

Now before you think, “well this doesn’t apply to us.”  Our research found that 63% of people who have been at their current employer for 10+ years are open to a new opportunity. While  77% of people who have been with their current employer for less than 1 year and are looking for another opportunity. So no matter where you fall - this could definitely be impacting you. Let’s hear what insights Nick and Adam have to share. 


Listen via mobile app

google podcast logo icon




Episode Transcription

Welcome back to Insights an Employee Engagement podcast from Emplify. So far we've covered trends on the evolution of the HR role and the impact burnout can have engagement.

This week, we're diving into the eventual consequence of prolonged burnout...turnover.

In our research we found that 72.7% of people are "currently open to a new career opportunity” And those who are open could be the very people you thought were highly engaged.

On our last episode we had Nick Smarrelli, CEO of GadellNet along with Adam Weber to help us as leaders understand the drivers of disengagement.. But in many cases, there are employees who are not necessarily disengaged yet they are open to or even actively looking for other opportunities.

And before you chalk this episode to ‘well this doesn’t apply to me’ Hear me out, because even long tenured employees are at risk for turnover. Our research found that 63% of people who have been at their current employer for 10+ years are open to a new opportunity. And that new employee who you are so excited about is among the 77% of people who have been with their current employer for less than 1 year and are looking for another opportunity.

I don’t need to tell you the impact of turnover to an organization. What I do want to tell you is that even if those numbers don’t alarm you, many people who indicate that they are not actively looking will still take an interview. And what happens when they do?

Nick Smarrelli [00:14:12] And there's nothing that kind of I would say makes me sad with the with the commentary around why I wasn't actively looking. But then I found the perfect job. And whether it's actively or passively, they're still taking that next step. They're calling in for a dentist appointment or they're calling in for whatever excuse that they use or they're giving up time with their family in order to have this conversation. We missed the mark somewhere. And I think they say that as a way to kind of quell kind of whatever self-doubt that that it creates as an employer. But I still look at that as we miss an opportunity here. And I appreciate the sentiment. But the reality is, actively or passively, they are still looking for another job and they realize that your company wasn't their home.And so that's kind of a hard reality to face. [00:14:53]

As a reminder that is Nick. He said a keyword there ‘home.’ What can an employer do to create an atmosphere for its employees where they don’t even want to think about taking that interview and not only keep the door closed to new opportunities but locking it up and throwing away the key?

Nick Smarrelli [00:15:38] speak about this with my managers all the time that employees want to be seen, heard and valued, and I think ultimately as you look at what your retention and turnover mitigation strategy is, is looking at in those buckets, I think really has helped us kind of crystallize our approach or in the times where I mean, right now, I mean, I'll be totally honest. We've got some employees who are frustrated. We rolled out a few new metrics and they're incredibly frustrated by them. And there's been even kind of, I would say, not serious talk. But, you know, is this the right place for me? Have you lost what our mission is? And in my mind, in no way or no capacity have we lost where our mission is. Merely we were just trying to quantify it a bit better. So there is a miss. And so for us, what we've done to kind of help mitigate that is we're setting up one on one meetings with our v.p.'s so that they kind of have a skip level dialog around what this means to them. They can understand what the global picture is around those goals and they can improve. So for me, creating a forum, no matter what you use, whether that's a one on one meeting, whether you're using engagement software or whether it's a, you know, the H.R. director walking around, whether it's those chance meetings in the cafeteria where you hear them and then you report back out. And I think that's the most important part, is if somebody brings you any idea and you do not come back with them with some level of. We went ahead and implement this. It's could be implemented in Q2 or honestly, your idea was terrible. And here's why not all ideas are good. And I I my executive team have told me multiple times how bad my ideas are sometimes. And so I think ultimately is if you do not come back to them, then you're going to also. That's the that's the hard part. Not just you're putting you you're just not you're not listening. You're really hearing. And the value part is, is, again, kind of coming up with ways to recognize really stellar behavior. I think ultimately those three characteristics can help. I would say, in our opinion, can help hold our employee retention rates as high as they are because of that. Fact is, we try to kind of help make sure that, again, we don't rule out things that are perfect. You know, we're growing there's growing pages. There's there's teams that are not staffed in the way that they would like them to be. And there's a lot of things that we're trying to work on at any one point. But I think ultimately, if there's one thing that we've created as a culture is we're willing to listen. We're willing to hear you. We hear you. We see you as an employee who's trying to make this company better. And you're valued enough that we're gonna report back and take the time to say, hey, your idea is great, we're going help make this a reality. So I think we've done a lot of that to kind of help minimize what I would say is turnover. And I think there's a lot of applicability to how do you do seen, heard and valued in your company. [00:18:14]

The one-on-one gets discussed a lot on this show because the reality is those meetings are extremely important. So I asked Adam to break down a 1:1.

Adam Weber [00:00:03] There's I think there's like two components to that because the one is what rhythm's do you have in place that avoid reactive situations? So when you when you do regular one on ones and by regular I mean every single week and you allow your employee to start those one on ones that will flag most when you add in a quarterly conversation where you you know, with the quarterly conversations, for me, it's always I asked that person to show up with one area where they feel like they need to improve or they'd like to develop their skills. And I come with one area as well. We spend time on those two and we see where there's a match. We and a lot we talk about where I might be blocking their success. And then the third component, though, is we talk big picture. We step out of the day to day and we go, let's talk about your future. And as a manager, I should have clarity on that person's future and where they're trying to go and what they're trying to build in their career. And so when I have those rhythms and that's every 12 weeks or we're talking about, you know, how are you moving toward that bigger vision for your life, for that future, for you?] And then my goal as a manager then is to make sure the inside of our company that we're working on that path or I'm clarifying expectations on gaps that I see for them to get there. So then when other opportunities arise, should very rarely be surprised. And sometimes there are situations where. It's a logical yes to them. I had I mean, this was many years ago, but I had a person who came to me and said, I want I want to be a manager by the end of this year. And I was like, can I share with you the steps that need to happen for you to be able to get to that spot? And I'll tell you candidly, I'm concerned that here I don't think you can get to those steps within one year. And but we talked about it. It was super honest. We started working toward the steps. And another opportunity came where I didn't feel like this person had made all the steps to get to that role at our team. And so when the opportunity came up for him to make that leap, I celebrated with him. We went we went out. We had a dinner to celebrate. That was his goal. And he achieved his goal. And I, as his manager, helped him. You know, I helped move him toward that goal. It wasn't the right fit for us, but it wasn't because it just the timing. But it still is not something that can't be celebrated or recognized. [00:02:22]

Adam Weber [00:05:43] think one of the things that hasn't like moved forward as a culture is how we think about transitions for people in general, that we see all the stats and we know that people leave about every three years. And yet when they leave, it feels like this severance of like this deep, you know, ending that doesn't match how often it happens. And so I think just having honest conversations and, you know, no matter how long. My hope is always, you know, at a business like ours or as a business leader, that no matter how long you work at our company, I hope it makes you better. And I hope you added and you made our company better and that we celebrate people for the work that they did.

Adam Weber [00:07:27] And I just think as a culture, we need to improve, though, as a work culture across the board, we need to improve how we celebrate and launch people into different parts of their lives. It is not a we're not signing up for a marriage. We are all giving of our time for a season. And hopefully that season is an elongated season, but it's different for everyone. [00:07:49]

The employee manager relationship is a key driver of both engagement and retention. Many reports show that employees are not meeting with their managers enough.

Now, what I do not want you to get from this episode is a feeling of fear. I do not want you looking back or listening to these stats and worrying that everyone is going to leave you. The reality is like Adam shared that your company may ultimately not be the right place, and that’s okay! But if you are proactive in your approach to leadership you can reduce the surprises.

Adam Weber [00:03:08] I think instead it's inspire the best it is. Give them clarity of what they can be working on to get better and give them consistent feedback. If you have a is, it is very rare where someone will leave a manager who inspires the best out of them, challenges them, gives them feedback and aligns goals. If you like, if you're doing all those things. The person is not is very rare that the person is like proactively looking or, you know, trying to find another job. I think the other thing is just like keeping just having a bit of like a reality check to like in if you think about a company of any size whatsoever that's happening in every single layer of the organization. So there just gets back to Golden Rule, basic life, humanity type of stuff, which is how would you want to be treated in those environments? Because above that manager is just another manager who's dealing with all of these same feelings and tensions and that the the task of being a great manager doesn't change because of that situation. It's consistent, steady feedback. It's clarity of goals. It is a deep, trusting relationship. [00:04:21]

Autonomy along with weekly check-ins, allows managers to remove blockers for their employees and provide support where it’s needed. Before we end this episode, Nick provides a tactical approach to implementing exactly what Adam has shared. He calls the IDP process which is an individual development plan.

Nick Smarrelli [00:20:04] And in that plan, what we do is we create kind of a one year, which is a lot more tactical. It's what certifications are going to seek out, what things you're going to do. If there's a project that touches on this, would you want to step in and work after hours just to kind of participate in that project team? Anything to kind of understand if what gets you to a greater goal, which is, generally speaking, the two in the five year plan. And this is actually updated every year. It's shared with the manager. It's shared with H.R. It's shared with the skip level. Our training development manager is the one who really leads this process. And we actually brought in a training developed manager at 50 employees, which again, if you look from a PNL perspective, is probably a disasterous idea. But the reality is, is it really kind of created this culture of growth? And I think we've done a good job of using that as a forum for self-promoting. One of our biggest items that we do is 100 percent of our managements, no matter what layer, has come into the organization as an individual contributor. So they come in, not as a manager. So they've really been built up. So for us, it's kind of gives people the sense of if I work hard, there's a bigger job for me here. But also on those days, you know, I could have I kind of talk about like everybody has a bad day, I have a bad day. And I think acknowledging some days that, you know what? Some days I don't actually want to go to work. And I'm the CEO of the company. So and that's OK. But what I see as a CEO is I talk in two and five year plans all the time. Employees often don't think into your five year plans are thinking, what am I thinking for the rest this week? And if they're they're unhappy coming in on a Monday morning and they don't see where they're going to be in the longer term, they're going to focus on all the things that didn't go well Monday morning versus I see myself and a new team or I see myself learning something new or I've got a big training coming up in a month or two. And I think just broadening perspective smooths out the bumps. And so I think whether you use a formal IDP process, whether you're just really kind of talk in terms of the long term planning, is really focusing on kind of the future because it's so smooth out the natural ebb and flows of a job. Some days are great. Some days are are tough. And I think by smoothing that out and kind of creating a good average with a good vision that they can kind of chase after. think really kind of helps mitigate those. I'm frustrated. I'm gonna go throw a few resumes I want.[00:22:23]

Thinking about the insights shared there are real costs associated with employee engagement. And I don’t mean cost to fix, I mean costs if you ignore the facts. As we look to wrap up our series on the Employee Engagement Trends, we will talk specifically about the business impact of engagement.

Imagine how much it would cost to replace one third of your workforce this year? Because that’s what you could be facing. We will dig into this more in our next episode. And if you haven’t yet, download the Emplify 2020 Engagement Trends Report at to get even more insights.