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Clueless Supervisors


Clueless Supervisors

By John Grubbs


You cannot blame them.  It is not their fault.  They simply do not know any better.  We are facing an epidemic of completely clueless supervisors.  Oh, and by the way, it is happening in the board room as well.  Executives are not immune from the challenge presented by today’s enigmatic workforce. 

Attracting and retaining good employees is getting more difficult.  In fact, in rural parts of the country, it is not uncommon for larger employers to have reached “talent saturation”.  This condition happens when large employers have “hired and fired” or “hired and lost” potential employees in a given population.  Once talent saturation occurs, the organization begins to lessen the qualifications for entry as well as increase the requirements for dismissal.  And so begins the slippery slope towards the utilization of the “Mirror Test” for candidate selection.  If they can pass a drug screen and fog up a mirror with their breath, welcome aboard.

Seriously, the challenge is significant and most companies are being boiled (like the frog) so slowly that they are unaware of what they can do to prevent the erosion of talent in the workplace.  A very well-known company told me that they are struggling with 65% turnover and have no clue how to change things. 

These are real numbers to consider while human resource professionals are rapidly becoming the battle (Front Lines) line for organizational success.  Fortune magazine stated:  “The skills gap is considered a hurdle in the U.S.'s efforts to fully recover from its most recent recession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that despite the fact that 12 million Americans are currently looking for work, U.S. companies have nearly 4 million open jobs. Last year, for instance, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that it was having trouble filling its 6,000 open positions because it couldn't find job candidates in the U.S. with adequate qualifications.”

Training your supervisors and managers to understand the role they play in attracting and keeping the best worker is critical.  The number one reason a person quits a job is the relationship they have with a direct supervisor.  Logic might dictate that the number one reason someone would stay with a job is also the relationship with that supervisor.

A talent strategy is not simple yet most companies have no strategy at all.  Imagine walking onto a football field with absolutely no game plan and becoming startled that you are losing.  Training and developing your own talent is one portion of a successful talent strategy.  However, most companies struggle with this aspect too.  Fortune also stated that the current “skills gap” will impact America’s ability to compete globally. 

Simply put, we are in a race for talent.  Every good company will compete for fewer and fewer skilled employees.  Simultaneously, those companies that have a fortified talent strategy in place will be more competitive, more profitable, and more likely to thrive.  Those companies who embrace the paradigms of the past will certainly fail.

Finally, executives must consider that time is of the essence.  The longer you wait to address this issue, the more expensive it will be to correct.  Training temporary employees sounds silly, yet not training them is far worse.  The war for talent is upon us!  Is your organization ready?

Wee said
Very well said. I am a front line supervisor and have experienced first hand what you discuss in the article. A "pat on the back" will go a long way for an employee. We all need to feel valued and important in both our private life and professional life.
(January 25, 2014 ~ 6:12 AM)
By James

Great Article
Great article. Very informative and thought provoking.
(November 15, 2013 ~ 7:33 AM)
By Shawn Rhodes