Critical Employee Group!

The most amusing thing happened at work today!

But first, I must give you a little background. The Business unit based out of the location for which I work consists of close to 80 employees most of who are new hires or have been with us for less than 2 years. This location serves majorly as a training ground, post which employees move onto different roles based out of our headquarters.

Faced with a higher attrition rate, we decided to identify our critical employee group and work towards retaining them. The whole plan of action was fairly simple – identify critical employee mass, conduct stay interviews, mark them as red, yellow, green based on their propensity to stay and then either create more a more conducive environment for these individuals to stay or mitigate risk.

Today was the first meeting to identify this critical mass. I walked into the conference room armed with exhaustive data on the employees based out of the location – their performance ratings for the duration they’ve been with us, date of last promotion, previous experience, tenure, current engagements and the like. (This data was also shared with the council before the meeting for them to do their homework.)

An hour into the meeting, the team had marked 50 out of 80 employees as critical! When I pushed them to trim the list to no more than 25% (5% more than the ideal), they threw their hands up and asked me to choose. It is then I realized that we never got down to the basics. Not having defined what we meant by “critical” led everyone in the room to form their own definition of the word.  I had my definition tucked in an excel sheet based on various reading material and discussions but it wasn’t customized to the needs of my business.

We adjourned the meeting and rescheduled it for next week – after the word ‘critical’ had been clearly defined and agreed upon. I am still trying to figure out how I did not walk in prepared for this!!


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