High Turnover of Both Senior and Mid-Level Essay

Pages: 9 (3079 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Business - Management

¶ … high turnover of both senior and mid-level managers within Acme Software Company, the bases of job satisfaction are first explored to create a foundation of research assumptions, and next research methods and techniques are next evaluated, with a strategy defined for completing the research. The paradox of a profitable, most likely globally successful software company with revenues of $450M and an 8% growth rate with 3,000 employees seeing significant turnover at the senior and mid-level management ranks signals a fundamental disconnect of personal vision, mission, and values between these key contributors and their superiors, and possibly the company as a whole. What is most often the case in high tech companies that experience rapid and sustained growth is that a culture that places results above all else, including employees, begins to take hold. The need to keep employees involved and identifying with objectives, especially in faster-growth companies, is critical. The first part of this analysis will focus on job satisfaction, followed by an analysis of methods and techniques for measuring job satisfaction.

Setting the Foundation for Research by Evaluating Job Satisfaction

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From the extensive work of researchers for nearly fifty years on the topic of job satisfaction and factors that contribute to it, a large number of factors have been found to most influence how satisfied people are with their jobs. Significant examples include working conditions (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939) and organizational innovativeness (Hurt & Teigen, 1977). More specifically, organizational communication researchers have widely examined the relationship between communication styles and approaches of management and their associated organizational outcomes. A significant amount of research suggests that the frequency and types of communication between superior and subordinate is directly related to job satisfaction (Downs, 1977; Goldhaber, 1983; Hilgerman, 1998; Pincus, 1986). While communicative relationships are not exclusively a determiner of employee satisfaction, research findings have indicated that communicative relationships have a statistically significant effect on predicting employee satisfaction.

Essay on High Turnover of Both Senior and Mid-Level Assignment

Retaining employees so they can achieve job satisfaction is also a critical foundation of the research that needs to be completed. There is also an abundance of research specifically in this area as well, with Kaye & Jordan-Evans, (2000) found that, "Retaining key employees is corporate America's number one problem. A solution means more profitable companies, happier, more productive employees, and more satisfied customers. Once a company has captured talented people, the return-on-investment requires closing the back door to prevent them from walking out" (p. 1). Organizations that understand employee retention and its causes, and acts upon it, will ultimately have a competitive advantage, and for Acme, the need for finding out why their key senior and mid-level managers are leaving is critical.

Further exacerbating the high turnover at Acme is an obvious breakdown in managerial relationships that these key managers leaving indicate. The fact that more high performing senior managers and high performers leave their jobs due to having either a difficult boss to work with, or one that is seen as ineffectual, untrustworthy or incompetent. "In a study of 500 business professionals, conducted by Master Works, 95% said the main factor in deciding to stay or leave their job was whether they had a trusting relationship with their manager" (Barbian, 2002, p. 52). Buckingham & Coffman (1999, p. 34) say,

It's just that your immediate manager is more important. She defines and pervades your work environment. If she sets clear expectations, knows you, trusts you, and invests in you, then you can forgive the company for its lack of a profit-sharing program. But if your relationship with your manager is fractured, then no amount of in-chair massaging or company-sponsored dog walking will persuade you to stay and perform. It is better to work for a great manager in an old-fashioned company than for a terrible manager in a company offering an enlightened, employee-focused culture. "

It's a reasonable assumption that Acme Software has an impressive array of employee benefits and possibly even an onsite ATM, dry cleaner, gym, and other amenities that software companies have in order to attract talent in the first place. Yet even with all these extras, a lack of trust in management will make them all worthless in retention and job satisfaction efforts. As McKeown (2002) says, "The key relationship in retention is the relationship between the employee and his or her manager. Get it right, and acceptable retention is almost assured. Get it wrong and everything else will count for naught" (p. 152). So even if Acme has the best employee amenities in their region, the lack of managerial communication and trust leads to increased turnover as well. In constructing a survey specifically to find out what the turnover is so high, these specific aspects need to be taken into account.

When talent employees leave, the natural inclination of managers they report to is to blame either the demand for their skill sets outside the organization and the fact the company doesn't have the pay scales to compete with the opportunities elsewhere. This is a great rationalization for the manager who is left behind, and is all too commonplace of an approach to abdicating responsibility for any failure to retain key talent (Hvass, Sunnarborg, Fleming, & Ebersohl, 2000, p. 1).

Of those managers who have a best practices level of performance in retaining employees, Kaye and Jordan-Evans (2003) have observed that, "Managers who successfully retain and engage talented people have woven retention and engagement deeply into the fabric of their organizations. They don't treat retention as another event to focus on when time permits, nor do they stamp it onto an already message-laden culture. Instead, managers who are effective in retaining key employees strive to make retention and engagement an ongoing expectation of their management teams." (p. 42).

From the research and literature review completed, a pattern emerges that shows retention to be much more complex and difficult to maintain in all industries. Adding in the high levels of growth and change in the software industry, and the situation becomes that much more acute. The need for moving beyond the "creature comforts" and amenities of a company to create a climate of trust and shared vision, mission and values is critical. Typically however managers in these rapidly changing software companies are more focused on finding their own sense of fulfillment and use of their abilities while at the same time gaining status for their work. An "everyone for themselves" mentality begins to take hold, and often talented and highly marketable managers leave to find opportunities elsewhere. What is paradoxical about these findings is that these dynamics often occur even in the highest growth companies where at first glance the future looks quite promising.

Research Methodologies

With the foundation of research in place, the next task is to define the specific qualitative approaches used for finding out why so many of the senior managers are leaving Acme Software. While interviews are the most widely used qualitative method in organizational research (Casell & Symon 1994) there are also pattern-level analysis approaches (LeCompte & Schensul, 1999), in which the researcher explores various ways of relating items to one another without depending on pre-determined categories. Another approach to qualitative research is the use of. A concealed observation is one where the participants in the study are not aware of the observation taking place. Conversely an open observation, the participants are aware of the presence of an observer carrying out a specific study. (Lundahl & Sk rvad, 1992) Another distinction, that could be linked to the above mentioned, is the division of observations into direct- and participant observations (Yin, 1994, Nonaka, 1994). The first one can range from casual information gathering activities to more formal forms of observation. The latter states that the observer needs to be a part of, or actively participate in, the situation observed (Yin, 1994) and therefore become part of the actual scenario.

Researchers have the potential to encounter both problems and opportunities in choosing one of the observation types. According to Lundahl & Sk rvad

1992) it is a well-known fact that an observer taking part in a social activity can become affected by the studied object's feelings, opinions and behavior but they also emphasize the importance of actively taking part in the social structure in order to better understand the phenomena one wants to study.

Based on these ethnographic techniques, the research strategy is to first complete a series of direct and indirect participant studies, including occupying a cubicle for 30 days near the offices of those managers who have the highest turnover. Also attending meetings and review sessions with key staff members, and potentially visiting several senior-level staff meetings would be excellent to see both the interactions of and values communicated by members of the organization. The use of both direct and indirect studies would also focus on speaking with members of each senior- and mid-level manager's staff as well. These series of indirect and direct approaches to gathering insights will serve as the foundation for more in-depth interviews with senior management,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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