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What can managers do to keep good people?  

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Dave Jensen
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May 21, 2018 6:30 pm  

We have another thread running, started by advisor PG, about career expectations and how many early-stage scientists decide to uproot themselves and go to a new employer as opposed to waiting for their career development to blossom in the company that employs them.

I feel like we need another thread -- one that focuses on what employers can do to keep good people?

Please -- if you have comments here, put them up! What is it that you would like your boss to do that would enable the company to keep you longer (and keep you from reviewing job ads with your morning coffee)?

Dave

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DX
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May 21, 2018 7:42 pm  

Hi Dave,

As a first start, it's good for the employer to have a routine conversation with good people (talent) about not only their contineud performance but also their development. This includes a conversation about next steps and, few good bosses do this, but a road-map on how to get there. And the time frame should be reasoable.

The issue with with good talent is that, if they are good, they'll naturally keep their ears to the ground for external opportunies too or get head-hunted.

Today, i think the timeframe when talent becomes good talent (provided they are performers) is about 2 to 3 years in the job, figure the 1st year they're learning the organization and job, 2nd year they're delivering and 3rd year well the itch starts provided they've been high-performers. The issue with high performers is that once they get an "exceeds" on their IPD, well there's only one way to go after that (down), so they'll get itchy quickly and that's the point to start risk-mitigating fast if an employer wants to keep that employee. So the early that conversation is had, the quicker the road-map is placed the better chances it is to ratain that talent. Few bosses put milestones down as well, and that should be done.

I also think there should be proactive discussion about internal moves. Personally, when it comes to internal moves, it should be treated just like an external application in terms of talent management - the problem is there is too much process and politics involved in internal moves (i posted this on a thread if you remember which is in fact the blue-print hands-down) where one has to get endorsement from ones boss and the other and blah blah blah.

Once an employee sess and internal job and expreses interest that should be a signal to treat that employee as the talent that they are and give feedback imeediately - because if they're looking at internal postions, you bet they're looking at external positions and well...lose the talent..better to keep good talent you know that hire talent you don't know in my humble opinion. The problem is today folks not in the know, apply for internal jobs as external applicant would (put the CV in ta data-base, no discussion with the boss apriori, and well the um..fecal-storm begings, which I note shouldn't be the case but it is).

And i think manageres need to know when "training" is not enough. When compensation increase is not enough and the only other option is promotion or move to next positon. Employers will spend 8,000 K USD on a business-class ticket for a 3,000 K USD training course to try to keep an employee happy, they may even give you a measely "excellence award" or "special bonus" (aka a measly amount of bucks in your pocket to "keep you happy". But promotion and internal move...harder and harder to come by, many bosses just don't want to deal with it (even if its within line-promotion, say Manager to Sr. Manager.).

so I think employers need to really take a hard look in the mirror - look at that talent and understand really quick when training and additional compensation is not going to cut it.

Another item that works as well but limited in time is ensure that talent is empowered. A sense of indepedent responsiblity is important as well...known that too has an expiration date.

In PG's thread some one noted on the 2 to 3 year horizon.

And my final point, on the employer side, we're use to talent turn over. Every week you read so and so left the company and then a couple months later, annoncement of the new replacement and then another one leaves, and so and so and so it goes, we're just use to it..cue Queen's "Another one bites the dust".

Best,

DX


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ATF
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May 22, 2018 6:12 pm  

My personal feelings are that higher turnover is a phenomenon that is largely out of the hands of managers at companies. Of course you want to make employees happy, have a good working environment etc., but the reality is in pharma that layoffs are ubiquitous and therefore it makes little sense on the employee side to stay loyal to companies who will not appreciate or value that loyalty down the line. If there is no job security or loyalty from a company, there is no point in being loyal yourself...


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DX
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May 22, 2018 6:48 pm  

My personal feelings are that higher turnover is a phenomenon that is largely out of the hands of managers at companies. Of course you want to make employees happy, have a good working environment etc., but the reality is in pharma that layoffs are ubiquitous and therefore it makes little sense on the employee side to stay loyal to companies who will not appreciate or value that loyalty down the line. If there is no job security or loyalty from a company, there is no point in being loyal yourself...

yeah but that's a different issue linked to consolidation and re-organization efforts, either triggered by M&A or shift in corporate strategy, the latter usually linked to new leadership and organzational structure in an effort to more efficient meet new corporate objectives and ambitions. That's a different story - here what we're talking about is assuming the status re-organzational change.

In the case you raise up that's a different discussion that has been hashed out here on other threads. I do see your point on job secruity and loyality but this more more about folks being "entrepreneural" with thier careers and leveraging our "new world order" to advance careers more closely linked to employee view of readiness and time-horizon vs. that of the current employer or employment situation.

Best,

DX


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PG
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May 22, 2018 6:59 pm  

I think that ATF has a Point in that companies that goes through multiple reorganizations and that frequently lays of people due to causes that you as an individual or your manager cant influence will have a harder time keeping their staff turnover low. If you dont know if you have a job with your current Company a year from now whatever you do it will impact how you Think about career development.

In addition to having a good work environment you need to be able to show your staff that they have a good chance of developing their careers within the Company or the Group of companies. Obviously company size is going to impact the possibility that exists to do this and also geographical location since it might not be realistic to move internationally for all types of positions. To do this you need to have regular meetings with your staff to discuss career develpoment and their career goals and you also need to show that it is realistic to meet those goals within your organization. You also need to show that the Company is recruiting internally for the majority or at least a large part of more advanced positions thereby showing that if you want to have one of these senior positions within this Company the best path to get there is by moving internally rather than externally.


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Dave Jensen
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May 22, 2018 8:42 pm  

My personal feelings are that higher turnover is a phenomenon that is largely out of the hands of managers at companies. Of course you want to make employees happy, have a good working environment etc., but the reality is in pharma that layoffs are ubiquitous and therefore it makes little sense on the employee side to stay loyal to companies who will not appreciate or value that loyalty down the line. If there is no job security or loyalty from a company, there is no point in being loyal yourself...

Thats a fairly negative and grim assessment. I would hate to go to work everyday and have that attitude weighing me down.

I would think that the lack of promotional opportunities then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because people can detect this? Have you considered that someone with a sunny "I'll do whatever it takes to help my company" attitude might end up being then in the position to get the opportunity to move up when it comes?

Dave

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E.K.L.
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May 22, 2018 11:59 pm  

So the early that conversation is had, the quicker the road-map is placed the better chances it is to ratain that talent. Few bosses put milestones down as well, and that should be done.

I second that. It was, in fact, the reason for my recent move. My manager just wasn't (midly speaking) very good at discussing any long term commitments, opportunities or milestones when it came to career advancement. After a few months of such back & forth talking I've received a better external offer and that was it.

And to be honest, if you cannot discuss any long-term engagements, then it does feel like you are a temporary hire anyway.


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tracymurphy17
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June 10, 2019 5:43 am  

Thank you for this, Dave!

Well, for one thing, managers should first select the best people. Because from there, s/he'll be able to create his/her desired workplace environment for his/her team. Aside from the salary, the environment is one of the strongest factors why employees stay in a company. Some even bear with how much they hate their job because they get along well with their other workmates. Another thing is that a manager should be a motivator. Managers should congratulate his/her team whenever they do something great (credits to  https://www.best10resumewriters.com/people-management/  for these ideas). Even more, employees want someone who is genuine and approachable. They'll more likely stay with a boss that they can treat as their friend and leader at the same time! 

Hope these helped! 


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Dick Woodward
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June 10, 2019 2:04 pm  

I think that DX has the timing exactly right - 1 year to learn it, 1 year to master it and 1 year to start looking for the next thing. This describes my career in a nutshell! I think that the best thing that management can do is recognize that high performers are always seeking the next challenge and that they need to keep those high performers challenged - even if it means losing them to another part of the organization. Better to keep talent in the organization than to lose it to an outside entity.

Dick


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DX
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June 11, 2019 9:06 am  
Posted by: [email protected]

Thank you for this, Dave!

Well, for one thing, managers should first select the best people. Because from there, s/he'll be able to create his/her desired workplace environment for his/her team. Aside from the salary, the environment is one of the strongest factors why employees stay in a company. Some even bear with how much they hate their job because they get along well with their other workmates. Another thing is that a manager should be a motivator. Managers should congratulate his/her team whenever they do something great (credits to  https://www.best10resumewriters.com/people-management/  for these ideas). Even more, employees want someone who is genuine and approachable. They'll more likely stay with a boss that they can treat as their friend and leader at the same time! 

Hope these helped! 

Hi Tracy,

All well and nice, but there is the other side of the coin which is: how long do bosses stay with thier employees?  I think in industry and of course dependent on function - bosses have their career agenda too. Gone are the days where the boss sticks around for a a generation constrast that of academia right?  So an employee today can join a company, hired by a boss, and say 1 year later have another.  So there is management to be done there as well as the employee environment situation can and will change.  Motivation and reward then becomes is continuity issue right?  and well few organizations understand today, that these periods of boss transition are also opportunities to lose employees.  

This is the real world right?  Not our father's generation where folks, to include bosses, stick around. 

DX


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DX
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June 12, 2019 1:14 pm  

I also just wanted to add to my comment above re: boss transition as opportunity to lose employees.

What can also happen in this period is that another opportunity emerges which is the employee can and often does become a bit Empowered as they can work for quite a while with a very high level of independance.    These periods, can be a time when the employee will get alot of visability (due to absent boss, usually an interim, the boss's boss) and they have to deliver alot and in fact its actually great development experience..if there is good to be taken from re-orgs/ boss transition etc.

 The risk here is more often, what i've seen, is that these employees are not rewarded "development" wise when the new boss comes in- yes, they may see a compensation benefit (i.e. exceeds objectives for the year leading to say higher bonus and merit based salary increase (not much for the latter in today's world)  but the mismatch here - reward wise - is the ability to get to next level after a period of "operating" at the next level.  As I said it can be wonderful experience and leadership competency boosters!

However, the issue and what generally does happen, new bosses will come in and the employee of not rewarded development wise then have to "prove" themselves all over again (delay on getting to next step) and well what ever reward the new boss can give is nothing more than perhas more training or so called "repsonsiblity" with out promotion, then you have a super super super high flight risk employee who ......will infact find their next development opporunity.......in another company.    No company I've been in have addressed this, usually no courageous enough or well, and well that's kinda like a company "writing you off" right?  despite talent and delivery status.  So......there does become a point where managers (that includes the +2) need to promote .... or ..stop with the empowerment/training and give darn good compensation!! (10 percent minimum raise base for example).  But..you don't see this...again that's a courageous response that can be taken, that can retain an employee.

Because, you do get another problem emerging...that employee can be come toxic.  Complainig all the time, stiring it up.  just yuck.  See it quite a few times.

In my case I didn't get toxic when this happened to me, i was ready for my next title raise (an all of the associated buckets) but new boss came in and well ......as they say....watch it when a good employee goes silent.  That's what happened to me - everybody knew something was wrong with me (save for my boss), those who knew me found my silence uncomforting - i learned that silence,can be a source of tenion later on (amazing actually that me not talking made alot of people uncomfortable)...- politics at the time left me as a blind spot so I was free to do what ever I wanted when I wanted and that meant looking for jobs while working (yes i delivered 100 percent but not above)  Sooo....well ..easy to figure out what happened. 

Yes DX has seen alot..and learned...starting to see why corporations don't like older employees , we don't take things personal. Age and stage related.

 


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Dave Jensen
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June 18, 2019 5:42 pm  

Thanks -- good comments.

In my first full time job, I worked for a guy who had been there for 20+ years, in the corner office as a GM and not going anywhere. The problem with "stuck" bosses is that, while it is nice to know someone well as I got to, they'll have a hard time getting young people motivated to move up the line because their job has been filled for so long and they "aren't going anywhere" as we used to say about the guy who was my boss. I can think of three people the company lost because there was no place for people to go.

So, today's environment where you start with one boss, and maybe have another two or three during your stay is probably a better idea. At least you are exposed to a variety of trainings and learning, and your upward mobility will at least appear to be so much greater than in an organization where the boss sits there like the guardian to the gate,

 

Dave

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PG
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June 18, 2019 9:04 pm  

Today I Think that you have to offer a combination of factors to keep your staff. The first things are mostly about the company and not something that you as an individual manager can influence easily but that I see helps us greatly.

First you should ideally be doing something that feels useful and were you can feel that you make a difference. It is very different from a motivation point of view working for a company that helps fight disease as compared to for example a Company that makes cosmetics. If you can also work on Products/science that you can see have a direct impact on peoples lives it is even better than working on something that might become interesting 10 years from now.

Second you should ideally work for a Company that is growing and has a positive financial development. This creates opportunities for personal development that are more obvious for everyone and also provides resources and funding to do interesting things.

Third if you are working in science you want to feel that you as a company or group are working on cutting edge R&D.

Things that you can do yourself is more about actively working with development plans, actively working with recognition of high performers and acheivements, providing feedback. We haev formalized development discussions two times per year and follow-up on these in our 1:1 meetings between manager and staff that are usually held 1-2 times / month.


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Dave Jensen
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July 30, 2019 8:23 pm  

Great comments PG . . . Thanks for jumping in. 

The biggest issue I hear from job seekers about is just a general lack of recognition. I don't know if this is a generational thing or what . . . but there are a lot of people out there who would enjoy their jobs a great deal more if they had some kind of occasional nod and positive comment from their boss.

 

Dave

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DX
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August 5, 2019 2:03 pm  
Posted by: Dave Jensen

Great comments PG . . . Thanks for jumping in. 

The biggest issue I hear from job seekers about is just a general lack of recognition. I don't know if this is a generational thing or what . . . but there are a lot of people out there who would enjoy their jobs a great deal more if they had some kind of occasional nod and positive comment from their boss.

 

Dave

yes and no.  Most times in my experiences when people say they want recognition, on top of that good job, they want development. Be it promotion or they want thier next role (can be lateral).  They don't want to do what they've been doing.    They nod from the boss is only the tip of the ice-berg. Probe deeper, I bet you find what I just wrote.   And I doubt at all you will hear its about compensation, somebody says that, it's BS, that will only be a short-term remedy.   Traning willl also be a short to mid-term stop-gap that should be clearly linked to a next step timeline. Few ever ever ever have this. Promises, can't and won't be make (in general).

So, recognition = promotion, or lateral move. Not increased responsility without timeline for next title/job.  If that doesn't happen, one has a flight risk employee.

Recognition is not: training (without next step) or compensation.

Couldn't be clearer eh?

DX

This post was modified 4 months ago by DX

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