The people that care the most leave first.
This was a key point in Seth Godin’s recent blog post, “You are not the lowest common denominator,” which references the methodical way that companies (technology companies, in particular) eventually, consistently lower their standards in product innovation and service in order to appeal to a broader audience.
It’s a quick, interesting read, but it’s how we can apply this statement to our current teams or workforce that really appeals to me. I’ve always said that you can size up the leadership, culture, and stability of a company by who is coming and who is going.
Why do the people who care the most leave first? There are many different reasons. They no longer have the freedom to their best work. They don’t have trust or confidence in their leader. They themselves are not trusted. What once motivated them has changed or no longer exists.
Yet, as you likely know, losing people isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes people leave because they don’t want to adhere to high standards. They prefer to work someplace where mediocrity is the acceptable norm. In that case, an employee’s departure might be the necessary ending that your team needs.
As leaders, we want to keep the ones who are competent and who care, and we want to attract the same. If we build an organization with strong leaders and a positive culture, who we keep and who we attract should be the same: engaged, positive, knowledgeable caring employees.
Who is leaving you? Who are you attracting?
Your answer to these two questions reflects directly on leadership, stability, and culture of your organization. If you don’t like your answer, then begin working now to create the kind of environment that attracts the employees you want to retain.