“I’m stumped,” Susana announced. “I talk to my team, give them their assignments, so they know what to do, but then, it just seems they mail it in.”
“Meaning?” I asked. “Mail it in?”
“I can’t put my finger on it,” she said. “The team shows up for work. They show up on time. They do the work, but it doesn’t seem they care. I tried to talk to a couple of them about it, but they just shrugged it off.”
“I know what a shrug looks like, but what did they say?”
“They said the work was okay, that if they wanted something more out of their job, they would just go find it somewhere else. I was a little shocked. I mean, when I was growing up, jobs were scarce, and I felt lucky to just have a job. Finding another job wasn’t easy.”
“And, how did you feel about that job?” I wanted to know.
Susana stopped. “You know, I guess it was just okay.”
“Kind of like your current team?”
“So, what is different between your experience and your current team’s experience?” I asked.
“I used to think it was all about the unemployment rate. You know, supply and demand. Right now, there are lots of available jobs, so I guess it follows that mobility, free agency is pretty high.”
“And, what is the cost of that free agency, to you as a manager?”
“Turnover is a killer. I thought when we came out of COVID, when people’s government money ran out, there would be a glut of applicants looking for work. But the labor market is tight. Finding people, finding the right people, getting them trained up, letting them make a few mistakes is expensive.” Susana shrugged. “Then, if they are the wrong fit, I have to start all over again.”
“Is this just happening to you, or is it happening to other companies, too?”
“You can read about it in the press. It’s all over,” she replied.
“I know you pay competitive wages, so it’s not all about the money. Your work is no more, no less interesting than your competitor’s, so what is it, that would give your company, your team, a leg up in team member engagement?”