16 episodes

As the show built to provide ongoing support for YOUR leadership journey, Leading At The Next Level serves as a real-time resource for addressing some of the biggest and more relevant issues any leader will face - in a way that drives improvement for your bottom line!

Leading At The Next Level Dove Development & Consulting

    • Business
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As the show built to provide ongoing support for YOUR leadership journey, Leading At The Next Level serves as a real-time resource for addressing some of the biggest and more relevant issues any leader will face - in a way that drives improvement for your bottom line!

    The Cost of Constant Recruiting

    The Cost of Constant Recruiting

    Having just wrapped up our look at how high turnover kills so much of an organization’s profitability, it makes sense to shift our focus to the costs involved with recruiting. If we can provide our best team members with a solid reason to stay, the pressure to add anyone with a pulse to the team should be nearly nonexistent. But any time we have to fill a critical role, attracting great candidates comes with a high price tag! As we take aim at this profitability killer, we need to come to terms with what the total costs are (because most organizations don’t capture nearly all of them) and how having a strong leadership culture improves the entire process. Then, we’ll tie it all together with some steps any leader can take to develop a strong pipeline of future team members.

    For more on this, you're welcome to reach out to us directly at admin@dove-development.net to get a 45 Day Trial Access to our COMPLETE Leading At The Next Level program or you can check out Wes's recently released book, What's KILLING Your Profitability? (It ALL Boils Down to Leadership!) that was a #1 Best Seller on Amazon!

    • 19 min
    Give Them a Reason to Stay

    Give Them a Reason to Stay

    Now that we’ve identified some of the causes of turnover, specifically the reasons great team members leave an organization voluntarily and the high costs associated with that voluntary turnover, and we’ve looked at the extended reach of those costs, let’s address this profitability killer by providing those folks with a reason to stay!

    As we wrap up this look at the high cost of turnover, I will base what we’ll be working through on a few assumptions. I realize that can be dangerous, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take! First, I assume that the folks who leave our organizations voluntarily have solid skill sets that are important to what we do. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been with us in the first place, OR their departure wouldn’t be voluntary. I will also assume that their overall compensation package is fair, or at least it was at some point. Again, without that being the case, we probably wouldn’t have had them on the team. Finally, I’ll assume that any team members we’re interested in keeping have predominantly good attitudes. Sometimes, someone with a great skill set and a terrible attitude adds more value by taking their mess to the competition… I’m not suggesting that turnover only kills our profitability when all three assumptions are correct. Still, I’d argue it costs us the most when they are!

    Without at least a foundation of requisite skills, the person leaving doesn’t incur all that much cost—even if they’re an overwhelmingly great person. Sure, we may have had some time and money invested into their onboarding and training, but part of a leader’s responsibility in the hiring process is making sure the employee has an existing set of skills that can translate to what they’ll be doing moving forward. The sooner we identify a mismatch, the better. If that’s after they’ve joined our team, we’d still do well to help them land with another organization rather than dropping them like a bad habit, but choosing not to address the issue won’t serve them or the rest of our team long term. And when we can handle a scenario like this by balancing our candor with care, we’re likely to earn a long-standing relationship with that individual even if they’re not in our organization. We show the rest of our team that we value individuals over short-term profit.

    Now let’s consider that third assumption, the good attitude. I realize that losing anyone who’s mastered their craft can be challenging, especially when we have a significant workload, and finding anyone with the needed skills has been increasingly difficult; skilled labor shortage anyone? Sometimes, though, having a high performer with a crap attitude can do far more harm than good. I’ve seen solid folks walk away from various companies as they were beginning to dial things in because a more senior member of the team was just an ass to them on a regular basis. In many cases, that high performer with a lousy attitude costs us more than their work earns us, and that’s why they may be more valuable to us if they worked for our competition!

    Regarding that assumption about overall compensation, we need to keep an eye on the market we’re in. With the minimum wage in Virginia nearly doubling in the last two years or so, coupled with a global pandemic and what appeared to be a massive labor shortage, wage ranges have shifted a lot—and quickly! I’m not about to suggest that we need to throw money at every individual in our organization. Still, we need to be sure we’re in the same ballpark as any other company that might try to lure them away.

    When each of those things is in place, making my assumptions at least close to correct, there’s one specific thing we need to be sure we’re providing our best people if we want to give them a reason to stay; we need to make sure they see purpose in the work they’re doing! When we’ve invested the time upfront to ensure everyone in our organization knows and un

    • 15 min
    The Extended Reach of Turnover Costs

    The Extended Reach of Turnover Costs

    The high cost of turnover shows up on a balance sheet because it’s a considerable profitability killer. Still, a company’s bank account isn’t the only thing that takes a hit when great team members are making conscious decisions to jump ship! Just as top-down leadership and poor communication play a part in so many other areas of how a business operates, high voluntary turnover impacts far more than just the need to stick a NOW HIRING sign along the street in front of the building…

    An article I found on Indeed.com called “Hidden Employee Turnover Costs: 7 to Consider” lists these:


    The hiring process
    Onboarding and training
    Productivity
    Engagement
    Morale and company culture
    Work quality
    The time the role is empty

    In far too many cases, the only costs I’ve seen organizations consider with turnover are those tied directly to the hiring process—and even then, it’s usually just the expenses that have been paid to an external source: a recruiter, a newspaper or hiring platform, the background check and drug screen fees, etc. I’ve rarely seen a company calculate the internal costs tied to the time invested in creating the job post or screening candidates. Those two alone can be significant even before considering the other six on that list.

    In the fourth lesson of our Recruitment, Retention, & Culture course, we cover the importance of a robust onboarding process (not to be confused with the few minutes many businesses dedicate to what they call “orientation” on an employee’s first day) and the financial impact effective onboarding can have, so I won’t hash all of that out again here. We’ll also go into specific detail later on, showing how much profitability is killed by poor engagement and low morale. Just know that high voluntary turnover weighs heavily into both. Right now, let’s stick with how this particular profitability killer spills over into productivity, work quality, the impact of an empty role, and how those things always reach the customer we’re serving.

    In our Leading At The Next Level program, I shared a lesson where I cited statistics about the time it takes for a new employee to be profitable. In short, the study I referenced showed that the break-even point for an organization hiring someone new was usually around six months, meaning that that team member was costing the company money until that point—just on their individual productivity. There was even more cost involved when you consider that anyone training them also lost productive time.

    Additionally, which employees are most likely to make quality-related errors? I realize this is part of the training curve, but it still comes at a cost… These mistakes lead to work being redone in the best-case scenario, the product being scrapped in many cases, or even an inferior product or service reaching our customer—which generally has a far higher long-term cost than either of the other possibilities!

    So what about costs related to the role being empty? Depending on the role type, it could take weeks or even months to find the right person in the best of times. But when voluntary turnover is already high, this is even more difficult and tends to stretch the time out even longer. What happens to the work during this time? If you’ve ever been in a salaried role and had several weeks of paid time off left over at the end of the year, you know where I’m going with this; the work still HAS to get done… As salaried employees, we take it with us on our vacation or don’t take the time off. When a critical position is empty, that work lands on someone else’s desk—someone who already has a full plate. Sometimes, those folks absorb it by working extra hours, but other times, things fall through the cracks. Either way, this is an added cost of turnover that hardly ever gets captured.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Let’s look briefly at how this can impact our work performance and the overall company culture

    • 15 min
    The Cost of High Turnover

    The Cost of High Turnover

    Over the last several years, I’ve frequently referenced this study:

    According to a Gallup study, “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the U.S. voluntary turnover rate is 23.4% annually. It’s generally estimated that replacing an employee costs a business one-half to five times that employee’s annual salary. So, if 25% of a business’ workforce leaves and the average pay is $35,000, it could cost a 100-person firm between $438,000 and $4 million a year to replace employees.”

    While I believe that alone makes a strong point about how expensive turnover is in an organization, the cost of high turnover can be so much more—and that’s the next profitability killer we’ll address!

    Nearly every time I’ve shared that with a group of leaders, I’ve challenged them to consider how even the most conservative numbers in that quote impact the profitability of their organization. Still, this only captures part of the picture. First, let’s consider how much a company’s average wage is today since the minimum wage has nearly doubled in the last two years—going from $7.25/hour to $12/hour in Virginia as I share this, with $15/hour being the widely discussed target that’s likely to be achieved sooner than later. Now let’s factor in the combination of the Covid pandemic and the “Great Resignation” that’s resulted in Help Wanted signs at just about any business we drive by or walk into on any given day. At the risk of having a flag thrown on me for piling on, think about companies like Sheetz or Walmart offering $17-18/hour as a starting wage for full-time positions combined with the significantly higher minimum wage, which all but forces companies to increase even the entry-level wage for skilled and semi-skilled roles that had been between $14-$17 per hour as recently as 2019. Oh, and we can hardly pretend that all this doesn’t spill over into every other pay range up the company ladder!

    I’m convinced that $438,000 for a 100-person company, the low-end referenced in that now-dated Gallup study, no longer exists. When I see starting wages for full-time retail positions at or above that $35k annual salary in the sleepy (and beautiful) Shenandoah Valley, where the cost of living has traditionally been way lower than the larger metropolitan areas only an hour or so away, I have a tough time imagining many organizations maintaining an average salary under $50,000. And everything I’ve hit on to this point has been tied to those BLS norms. So just how much is the cost of high turnover, and how can we capture the profit it’s killing?

    Before we begin working through any of that, though, let’s ensure we’re on the same page with exactly what turnover I’m referring to—because it ain’t all bad! Let’s be honest; there are times when turnover is necessary. That doesn’t mean it’s not difficult or there’s no cost involved. Still, every business will have situations to deal with where performance isn’t where it should be, or someone isn’t aligned with the culture or values. And occasionally, we get to celebrate a team member’s retirement… We won’t be addressing either of those. The turnover I’ve always been most focused on minimizing, regardless of how high it is, has been the voluntary kind, the kind where a great team member chooses to leave, and it could have been prevented. I believe that’s a significant profitability killer, and two of the things we’ve addressed recently—top-down leadership and poor communication—play a role in driving our turnover percentage up.

    For more on this, you're welcome to reach out to us directly at admin@dove-development.net to get a 45 Day Trial Access to our COMPLETE Leading At The Next Level program or you can check out Wes's recently released book, What's KILLING Your Profitability? (It ALL Boils Down to Leadership!) that was a #1 Best Seller on Amazon!

    • 19 min
    Breaking the Golden Rule

    Breaking the Golden Rule

    Once we’ve come to terms with just how high the cost of poor communication can be and how any poor communication skills in our organizations add fuel to other fires that are killing our profitability, we have plenty of reason to address the lack of communication between our managers and employees. Let’s be honest, though: if doing it were as simple as saying it, would there be any need to discuss it here?

    We’ve already worked through many of the effects of poor communication in the workplace, so I won’t hash them all out again now. What I will do, though, is suggest that I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who wanted to communicate ineffectively with their team—or anyone else for that matter. All too often, I believe it simply boils down to not having the right tools for the job (or even knowing those tools exist)!

    Most everyone I know is familiar with some variation of the Golden Rule: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Truthfully, our society would have much less crap going on if we all did a better job of following it. But while the Golden Rule may solve many of the issues we see in the headlines on any given day, breaking it may be just what we need to address the profitability killer of poor communication.

    One evening several years ago, I received a text message from my son asking, “How do I get people to do what I tell them to do?” He was working second shift in a manufacturing facility at the time, and it was his first evening filling in as a backup lead for the assembly line he had been part of for a couple of years. I answered, “Call me tomorrow morning, because that’s not something I can answer in a text.”

    When he called the following morning, the first thing I needed to know to have any hope of providing him with solid feedback was why he was asking: did he have team members who weren’t doing what they were required to do, or did he believe they were capable of accomplishing more? He was quick to explain that the line team was great! He said they were already the most productive on the shift, but he felt like they could do even better, and he wondered how he could bring that out in them.

    As a dad, I still get excited all these years later when I think back to that conversation. The fact that Matt, in his early twenties at the time, saw more potential in his team and wanted to learn how he could bring it out in them was something I just haven’t seen very often. But getting the results he was hoping for from “having them do what he told them to” wouldn’t be as simple as making a blanket statement to them all at the beginning of the shift. Only a few of them would have responded positively to him if he had communicated with them how he wanted to be communicated with… Like me, Matt is pretty direct and to the point. He thrives on being challenged and will go out of his way to accomplish a task, especially if someone doesn’t think he can!

    Matt could have taken that approach, but I’m positive the results wouldn’t have been anything close to what he hoped for. Instead, we discussed how he could break the Golden Rule with each team member and do unto them as they would want rather than how he would want. Because I knew each of the folks working with him, I was able to give him specific insight that helped him achieve the goal in his initial text message. I was also able to provide him with a simple approach for doing the same thing with anyone else moving forward. He was excited to put it into practice; it was just a matter of understanding how.

    For more on this, you're welcome to reach out to us directly at admin@dove-development.net to get a 45 Day Trial Access to our COMPLETE Leading At The Next Level program or you can check out Wes's recently released book, What's KILLING Your Profitability? (It ALL Boils Down to Leadership!) that was a #1 Best Seller on Amazon!

    • 17 min
    Adding Fuel to the Fire

    Adding Fuel to the Fire

    The cost of poor communication is impacting enough organizations that it’s become quite a hot topic. I found a separate article on Inc.com called “Costs of Poor Communication Reach $37 Billion. Avoid Disconnects by Implementing These Two Things” that referenced the same study I shared before, citing the average loss of $62.4 million per year to the 400 companies for 100k employees. Still, this Inc. article shared another piece I had yet to see from the study. That same study showed that “companies with leaders who possess effective communication skills produced a 47 percent higher return to shareholders over a five-year period.”

    It’s one thing to see stats pointing to how much profitability is being killed by issues like this. However, seeing how organizations that do these things well are capturing that lost profit can give even those of us who have struggled the most a glimmer of hope! While I’ve seen what a large role communication plays in every working environment, I’ve been a part of, I’ve also seen how many other things are impacted by communication, for good and bad. And it doesn’t only apply to the business world.

    Since late 2019, I’ve written a monthly column for a local newspaper about effective communication. The most significant difference between that column and most of our work, though, has been its focus on how communication builds (or tears down) personal relationships just as much as business relationships—and the profitability businesses need to remain sustainable. Regardless of where we communicate, the connections become stronger or weaker based on the energy we invest. And that communication fuels quite a few other fires, for good or bad!

    My goal for that newspaper column has been to provide a resource for the folks who read it that helps them enjoy better relationships with their friends and family members, the people they interact with most frequently. The same tools I share in the column apply at least as much in the business world, because the relationships we build with the teams we lead have direct ties to the ever-important profitability we’ve been looking at here.

    When we’ve built strong relationships with our teams and communicated with them clearly and consistently, we become likely candidates for experiencing the magic of employee engagement and buy-in. When I cover these topics in a group setting, I use the analogy of a rowboat; the actively engaged employees are the ones who have their oars in the water and are rowing just as hard as they can to help the boat reach its destination. Unfortunately, the highest I’ve ever seen any employee engagement study show for these actively engaged folks has been just over 30 percent.

    I don’t believe active employee engagement needs to top out there. We’ll work through the specifics of how we can each address it in our teams when we dig into that profitability killer in more detail. For now, though, I’ll challenge you to consider whether you’ve ever wholly bought into an idea or been as actively engaged as you were capable of when the person leading the team had not invested the energy to communicate effectively with you. (Hint: I know the answer!)

    Poor communication can add quite a bit of fuel to the fire that’s burning up our employee engagement and buy-in. Still, it also creates confusion, and that confusion kills quite a bit of profit too…

    For more on this, you're welcome to reach out to us directly at admin@dove-development.net to get a 45 Day Trial Access to our COMPLETE Leading At The Next Level program or you can check out Wes's recently released book, What's KILLING Your Profitability? (It ALL Boils Down to Leadership!) that was a #1 Best Seller on Amazon!

    • 17 min

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