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Retention Strategy: Teach Communication when a Team's Communication Skills are Already Good!

I recently did an interpersonal communications workshop with a team that is highly functional. To some, the idea of doing communications training to increase the communication skills of a functionally communicative team, may sound counter-intuitive. They're already good at it. Why bother?

But functional teams can slip into toxicity and become dysfunctional very quickly. In many cases it only takes one incident, one slight, one leader who does not say to an employee who is struggling – either at home or at work: “Hey, what’s going on? Are you okay?”

Dysfunction in the way in which a team communicates can only last so long before one of two things happen: 1) Someone quits because they can’t take it anymore; 2) Someone gets fired because they can’t be tolerated anymore. But all too often neither of those things solves the dysfunction – especially if it started on the leadership level or there is a leader who things that the fault is that of the employee only. (Often a leader who is not paying attention is also a cause.)

Taking the tumor out doesn’t always cure the cancer.

Now, let’s put this into financial terms. This Forbes article does a great job of outlining the financial repercussions of replacing employees.

A few years back a colleague told me that companies don’t care about turnover. It’s just part of business. I didn’t believe him then and I don’t believe him now. It may be part of business, but given the cost - is it a part you want to perfect? Wouldn’t it be better to have highly functional communication within and across teams?

If nothing else, it would be one less reason for people to leave the company.

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