People do not just quit bad AV jobs, companies or managers, they quit faulty organizational cultures. AV employees, whether they’re AV techs, project managers or sales reps, are notoriously hard to hold onto, but there are reasons for that.
Recently, I came across an article that piqued my interest. It was originally penned by a top management consultant and I want to expand on her perspective. The story began when she ran into a long-time friend (and fellow consultant) who had recently left her employer.
Of course, this begged the question of why she had left.
After a discussion with her friend about her departure, she was curious about her friend’s motivation… which prompted some research. After which, it was concluded that “people do not (just) quit companies, managers, or leaders – they (really) quit organizational cultures.”
Her friend’s resignation came as a blow to her former firm. It turned out not to be a snap decision, but most interesting one years in the making.
The most basic answer to “why did she leave?” was a changing culture within the company.
Leadership: if you don’t provide it, they’ll find it elsewhere…
New leaders brought different values, but what they failed to realize was that this fundamentally changed the culture of the firm over time… and the (now former) employee no longer recognized or identified with the company anymore.
In the article I read, a Harvard Business Review article was referenced that showed employees leave both good and bad bosses at almost comparable rates.
The Harvard article shares: “Good leadership doesn’t reduce employee turnover precisely because of good leadership. Supportive managers empower employees to take on challenging assignments with greater responsibilities, which sets employees up to be strong external candidates for AV jobs.”
This leads me to conclude that if the existing culture is not nurturing over time, the AV employees will tend to seek out one that is. So, what comprises an organizational culture?
Here are 4 culture-based problems & potential solutions employers can use to retain AV techs:
1. Problem: Unclear vision and inconsistent leadership
i. Provide a company vision and perspective of where the organization is heading.
ii. Set goals to validate investing time, money, and resources.
iii. Communicate everyone’s role and how it fits into the bigger picture.
iv. Address employee’s personal goals and promote a plan to help achieve them.
v. Set company values that match business decisions.
2. Problem: Conflicted values and beliefs
i. Avoid things that don’t align with employees’ values.
ii. Prevent burnout due to favoritism, gossip, and disrespectful people.
iii. Do not accept mediocrity being accepted as good enough.
iv. Encourage creativity and the expression of new ideas.
v. Recognize and avoid condescending attitudes.
vi. Do not underpay for work or demand things that exceed realistic expectations and stated responsibilities.
vii. Promote teamwork and collective efforts to achieve the company’s mission.
3. Problem: Lack of connection, appreciation, community feeling
i. Challenge AV employees and make them feel connected to the organization and to their AV jobs.
ii. Make places for both extroverts and introverts to produce their best work.
iii. Promote social inclusion and create a level playing field for all.
4. Problem: Organizational stagnation
i. Create a culture where it is safe to fail in the process of growing.
ii. Allow AV employees to express themselves and be heard.
iii. Provide feedback mechanisms.
iv. Avoid promoting impossible wins with unattainable/unrealistic goal setting.
v. Create workplace flexibility.
vi. Avoid pointless/useless meetings.
vii. Avoid waste: time, resources, or opportunities.
viii. Provide learning opportunities for motivation and increased output.
ix. Provide a plan for career growth and future AV jobs.
x. Leverage things that a AV employees bring to the table.
Looking at it from a high level perspective, the intentional (read that designed and planned) creation and nurturing of a company culture needs to be top of mind and part of the business plan.
The company needs to be recognized as a workplace “home” where employees can reside in confidence. This ends up being the reason they stay.