Turnover is Tricky


Winning over your retained team is an essential task.  And sometimes that's not enough.

A professional services firm’s senior leadership team recently decided they needed to “raise the bar” and address both under-performance and disruptive behavior.  The results: 1) involuntary turnover of 25% of the team; 2) brutal Glassdoor reviews; 3) upset clients.
Hired to identify ideas to bolster employee retention and engagement, we’ve partnered with our client on three key areas to get them back on track—fast.

  1. Add precision and rigor to the interview and selection process. We’ve prepared interviewers to assess both technical aptitude and culture fit. Make good decisions at the outset- it pays dividends.

  2. Build management acumen, especially feedback skills. It turned out most of their messages about poor performance or unprofessionalism had been clear as mud. We want their team to know where they stand, and not be fearful they're "next".

  3. Rebuild trust within the organization, creating clarity and a more solutions-focused organization, with an aligned senior leadership team.

When your competitive advantage is the strong relationships you’ve built with clients/ customers, reliability and dependability is essential.  High turnover has a high cost, and it’s avoidable with management expertise and alignment.  


Building An Intentional Culture


Written by Catherine Cummings, CEO

“People are our most important asset.”

“There is no I in team.”

“Our talent is our competitive advantage.”

We’ve heard them all, and (ideally) in every company we’ve been lucky enough to work in, they truly believe each statement. But rarely do I meet the CEO and head of HR who have taken the painstaking (and worthwhile) time to answer the critical questions about the organizational culture they intend to set:

WHY should someone work at your company?  

WHAT can they expect from their team and organization?  

WHO are they?

Companies aspiring to be a compelling place to work while simultaneously preparing for scalable and profitable growth spend time asking themselves those questions-- and creating a unique career value proposition for talent to thrive in. Sure, there may be a poster on the wall with values crafted at an offsite leadership team meeting,  but that doesn’t mean the words on the wall mirror the day-to-day reality and rarely are those values then used as a foundation for organizational culture decisions..

Why should executive teams take the effort to create an intentional culture?

If you don’t, it gets created for you. Without clarity of expectations and norms, your team will react to each situation without context. The results? Perceptions of favoritism or special treatment, and before you know it, you’re cleaning up people problems that were completely avoidable.

Culture frameworks minimize mistakes in hiring, promoting and structuring teams.  You’re more likely to both attract and select talent that will thrive in your organization, improving retention and likely discretionary effort. The confidence in your hiring process and low turnover then fuels scalable growth-- a win-win.

Clarity is king.  Ambiguity is the enemy. In the absence of information, people will make assumptions, and handling thorny people issues becomes even more difficult.  When there’s clarity around who you are as an organization and how you expect your team to collaborate, accountability is vastly improved.

Culture frameworks streamline all human capital decisions. Where (and how) you invest in your talent requires thoughtful consideration. For example, Some companies waver for months (or years) on the best approach to something as straightforward as a time off policy or tuition reimbursement. With a framework in place, the decision and tradeoffs become far more clear.


INFOGRAPH: 3 Reasons Why Your Corporate Values Matter

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Can Strong Corporate Values Polish Off 5,000 Pizzas?


It’s no secret that tech companies power the world and are accomplishing some of the most innovative discoveries in this day and age. Other companies want to be like them. And most of all, people compete to work for them.

The secret to their success is largely related to their ability to direct their employees towards the businesses key goals.  As other industries attempt to emulate these innovative workplaces, there’s an increasing emphasis on being mission or value-driven and company culture. Corporate values, whether explicitly stated or not, play a critical role in an organization’s culture and strategy.  

So what makes having corporate values different from not having them?

Strong corporate values align an organization’s culture with its mission and goals. This ultimately improves the likelihood of a company achieving their goals and reaching successful outcomes.

Still not entirely sure? Here’s how it works:

An organization’s culture brings people together and develops the bond of a community. When individuals feel a sense of belonging and understand the direction that the company is headed in, they’re more likely to put their best foot forward and work towards the group effort. When there is a lack of organizational culture or weakly established values, employees are less likely to feel inclined to innovate and collaborate with their peers.

But what does pizza have to do with corporate culture?

Picture this:  The Guinness Book of World Records delivered 5,000 large pizzas to your office offering a $1 billion grant to the company that breaks the record for eating the pizzas the fastest. Will you have the leadership and strong organizational spirit to bring everybody together?

Let’s say there are 3,500 people in your company and eight slices on a large pizza. That means everybody would have to eat approximately 11.43 slices of pizza. That’s a lot of pizza!  To put away that much pizza, every single person must be united in their dedication to achieving the goal. They must be in it to win it. But that kind of coalescence can only come from having a vibrant culture backed by strong leadership.


Great Places to Work identified 1,000 firms that reveal a strong correlation between financial performance and employees’ belief in their company’s values. Companies with employees that best understand where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and know that everyone is in it together are the most profitable. This means that if a company does not have strong organizational values, they are likely underperforming and diminishing their potential of maximizing profits (or potential pizza prizes).

It’s easy to undermine the values or cultures of our companies and focus on hard money driven outcomes. What makes certain companies so special is their ability to intertwine both their people strategy with their business strategy. Unfortunately, the perceived road to success is not a straight shot. And as your company faces unforeseen obstacles down the road, your people’s ability to consume pizzas in record time is indicative of your people’s ability to work together and persevere through tough times.