Yesterday I heard a story that broke my heart. A nightmarish story of an employee’s first day at work at a new job she was so excited for. Showing up, she was not greeted by anyone and had to figure out where in the building she needed to go. Her computer and other IT equipment were not ready and they had emailed her the password she needed to log in, but of course, couldn’t log in to access the information. Then once set up in the space, she was told by the administrative assistant and a peer that they were too busy for her, so don’t ask us any questions. The office space was a shared space and once the other manager came in, yelled at her that she did not belong in his space and how dare she get in his way. He later locked her out of the office. Complete bullying and toxic behavior. So, needless to say, this is appalling.
As I dug in further, she came to the realization that none of this was about her. The role and program she was intended to fill were brand new and the change management needed to support the integration with the current employees and current programming clearly was not completed. The leadership had failed at setting up this position and the program for success.
As Peter Drucker said “culture eats strategy for breakfast”
The best intentions and the best strategy will ultimately not work if the culture behind it does not create the environment needed for success. In this case, the company invested so much money in setting up the program administratively and operationally, and training new employees but did not invest anything in the change management and integration pieces. Because of that huge misstep, their top recruited employee is likely going to walk away from this opportunity. Although her leaders have said they will step in and manage the situation with her peers, she can see quite clearly the uphill challenge she would have with them.
In a time where recruiting and retaining top talent is incredibly challenging and is likely the number one complaint I am hearing from leaders right now, I am stunned at how very little leaders have put in place to drive retention. Sadly, this might be an extreme Day 1 experience, but it’s not far off.
Leaders – if you want to retain your employees, start with your culture. The mere fact that you hire them and give them the job is not good enough.
Not sure where to start, let’s chat. Don’t let your great ideas and strategies get eaten for breakfast!