Our organization has roughly 135 Full Time Employees. They range from staff fresh out of college to a 73 year old man, "Tex" who has been on staff for over 40 years. Any organization that has great staff wants to hold on to them. We are no different. However, at some point, many of our staff sense God calling them to a new place. What then, are we to do?
We have developed a philosophy a few years ago that we have tried to maintain. It is this:
We don't want our staff to leave. We want them to be launched.
There is a difference. When staff leave, they have fulfilled their time with the organization. They have done their job. Their time is up. They pack up, and move on. However when staff are launched, we believe a few things must happen:
1. After initially being hired, they are trained well.
I hate it when we hear stories of staff joining an organization and then just trying to figure out what to do. We have been guilty of that all too often. Developing better training is an ongoing process. It is dynamic. We learn much from our mistakes.
2. They are coached along the way.
Someone once said, "sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn." A great quote. We all learn a lot by cutting our teeth at doing it. It is essential, however, that as we do, someone can coach those little tweaks in our methods, that makes us more effective. None of us ever outgrow the need for a good coach.
3. Throughout their duration with our organization, they are able to increase their "portfolio" of skills.
To the millennials, this is highly important. In fact, I've read studies that job satisfaction is tied closer to learning new skills than to the size of the salary. Give your staff assignments that allows them to learn new things. Routine chores in a work environment sucks the life out of people. It is necessary for them to see how what they are doing now is preparing them for the future.
4. If someone senses God leading them away, their supervisor not only blesses their departure, but helps them find their next place.
This is where it gets weird. Yes, at times we try to talk them "off the ledge". We want to keep great staff. But why not just see our organization as the place they work now? It is fun to have an environment when people can talk freely about where their heart is. That freedom is attractive. And when that time comes, it is great to help them to that next place, and then start the process again with someone new. We aren't always good at this, and we are learning with every employee. As the title states, "Our staff RARELY leave." There are some we miss it with, but our goal is to launch them all.
What is your philosophy for your staff? Are you holding on too tightly? What are some other ways a staff person could be launched?
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About Kevin East
Kevin East is the Executive Director of Family Matters. He and his wife Stephanie have five unbelievable kids, two of which they most recently adopted. If Kevin isn't busy with work or family, you'll probably find him in the woods near his house with a power tool. He writes at his blog, "Following to Lead". Connect with him on Twitter at @kevinteast.
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