If there’s one factor in the Chiumento employee retention model that raises eyebrows it’s Love. On the surface that might sound a bit “soft and fluffy” but in reality, it’s often the glue that holds individuals and organisations together.

Work isn’t just about the practical “nuts and bolts” stuff like how much you get paid, how nice the office is or the day-to-day tasks and activities you undertake. It’s about a sense of emotional attachment too.

That emotional attachment explains a lot. For example, over the last 11 years, I have invested hundreds, probably thousands, of hours doing voluntary work for a community sports club. I don’t do that for the pay – there is none. In fact, it costs me a lot of money traveling around the East Midlands to coach and referee games. I do it because I love it and because I feel valued.

Over many years I have met some extraordinary people who do jobs that frankly don’t pay anything like their open market worth. They stay and do what they do because they too simply love it. That could be a charity whose cause they are passionate about. Or a brand, product or service they totally believe in.

The challenge, as with relationships in our personal lives, is that people fall out of love too.

For example, organisational change can have a big impact on emotional attachment. You see that coming through in exit interviews when people start to say “this isn’t the organisation I joined” or “things just aren’t the same since…”. There’s a tipping point where you change too much, too quickly and the emotional bond can be broken.

There’s also an invisible, and often fine line, between doing something because you love it and feeling exploited. Your pay just slips that little bit too far behind the curve. Or inflation suddenly makes it tough just to make ends meet. Or you get asked to take on “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”. You can only trade for so long on the goodwill that comes from affection.

All that of course points to the importance of regular “check ins” with the team. In a world that’s frantically busy, activity can get in the way of quality conversations. Career development discussions get put on hold. We don’t find the time for that “how are you doing?” chat.

In all that being busy we also risk confusing people doing a great job with people being happy and fulfilled. Not getting enough “me time” from the organisation can create a sense of being unloved and taken for granted.

The pressure on retention means we are seeing things like “stay interviews” coming into the picture. Creating a review point to give individuals a chance to say “I’m not OK”. And the organisation time to do something about it if they are not, By the time that resignation letter hits your desk it is normally already too late. Early intervention is key.

Just like exit interviews, trust is vital to getting to the truth. Stay interviews only work if the individual feels they can speak freely and that what they say will be used appropriately. So who does them is a critical question.

Ultimately the Love factor can make it so much harder to say goodbye. Ending the relationship requires more effort when you’ve invested more of yourself. If you just turn up for the pay then you are an easy target for another employer.

Resignations: Love has a lot to do with it!

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