How To Survive The Turnover Tsunami Through A Learning Leader Mindset

Turnover Tsunami.

While catchy and fun to say, the thought of experiencing a massive wave of turnover once society reaches some semblance of normal is causing toxic levels of anxiety in leaders across industries.

As it should. If the predicted Turnover Tsunami makes landfall, the talent landscape in 2022 and 2023 could prove more chaotic than the previous two years combined.

What better way to bridge your current state with an unsettled future state than embracing a Learning Leader’s Mindset, and investing in the Personal Growth and Development of your team?

Preparing employees to fill or backfill critical positions, or simply improve their HQ (Happiness Quotient), demonstrates your invested confidence in their future, generating valuable trust as part of an informed Talent Management Strategy.

It begins with embracing the benefits of change and proactively using them to create a healthy and engaged work environment.

Why Turnover?

Turnover is a naturally occurring process in every organization, reflecting growth on a personal or professional level, or both.

Leaders often find themselves identified as a main contributor to turnover. The popularity of sayings such as, “people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their leaders” has placed the onus for retention squarely on the shoulders of those in charge.

That’s just a bad rap. Unless a leader is unethical or has integrity issues, they’re probably doing a decent job of being authentic and representing the values of the organization. Life is for learning, and mistakes will be made along the way.

Turnover is relationship based, but the relationship in question is often the one a person shares with themselves.

Shifting values, self-discovery, or a subtle change in perspective can divert an employee’s attention to opportunities elsewhere.

Why Tsunami?

Normal ocean waves are generated by wind and tides, which are influenced by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon.

This mirrors basic turnover, a naturally occurring, almost cyclical process.

A tsunami is generated by a large displacement of water usually associated with an earthquake, volcanic eruption, seismic occurrence, or some other catastrophic event resulting from the planet shifting into a more comfortable position.

From a talent perspective, a global pandemic is having a similar catastrophic effect.

Instead of millions of gallons of water being displaced, it is 100+ million people who have been furloughed, laid off, worked to exhaustion, or left totally confused as to what the future holds.

But just as a tsunami will expose aspects of a shoreline not typically visible, so has the pandemic exposed aspects of a normal work environment hidden for decades beneath outdated values, beliefs, and traditions.

The key to survival is immediate recognition, then ascent to higher ground.

Why a Learning Leader Mindset?

I won’t fault leaders as the main source of turnover.  I will fault them for not recognizing and embracing how their employees change over time.

It may be too late to recover the loyalty and trust of some employees. I’m living proof . . . being furloughed provided exquisite clarity as to how far I had drifted from my current role within the organization.

While I didn’t leave my leaders, there was no one person or group of people who could convince me to return. I had made a conscious decision to grow in another direction, and there was no looking back.

For others, though, this is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your genuine care and interest in their future.

By investing your time in really understanding where and who they are, emotionally and spiritually, you are acting from a position of trust.

You may not be able to predict the future, but you can prepare your team to pursue what matters most to them.

Riding the Storm Out

Being in tune with the environment explains how animals can detect natural disasters or catastrophic events and proactively seek shelter or higher ground.

It’s not just their senses, but an enhanced sensitivity that drives an instinctive reaction.

Instinct will remain your primary resource for deciding what direction to ultimately take. Use the following Tall Tim Tsunami Turnover Tips to heighten sensitivity to your environment and potential impact of events around you:

Embrace Your Inner Learning Leader

As a Learning Professional, I enjoy the holistic aspects of growth characterized within turnover.

Change represents rebirth, new inner wisdom to apply in search of one’s higher self. There is endless potential contained within fresh new attitudes and outlooks just waiting to bubble up through performance and discovery.

Of course, I’m not the one who’s working back-to-back 12 hour shifts until someone is hired and completes job skills certification.

The choice of perspective is yours.

Learning Leaders remain optimistic and realistic. Seize the opportunity to embrace the massive amount of change caused by the pandemic. Work and learn . . . together . . . how elements within workday processes and routines can be adjusted to not only maintain but improve performance.

Sharing in the growth experienced through change is one of the most powerful relationship tools available to leaders.

Recognize the opportunity when you see it.

Encourage Turnover

Farmers and gardeners till their soil to make it better, incorporating crop residues to aerate an environment and promote sustained growth.

The same approach can be applied to cultivate a nutrient rich work environment.

If someone shares thoughts of pursuing other opportunities, pledge your support. Help them discover what’s missing or absent in their current position. Commit to providing whatever guidance you can to prepare them to survive and thrive through change.

The benefit is two-fold: First, if a person has reached peak productivity, their commitment will tend to trend downward in the absence of growth opportunities. If you are not able to provide advancement needed, their choice is to naturally seek it elsewhere.

Assisting in this process strengthens your relationship, which may prove valuable upon a return at a future time (the Boomerang Effect).

Which segues into our second benefit: Discovering the grass isn’t always greener, before leaving your side of the fence.

Exploring a potential move can uncover aspects of personal or professional growth a person is currently unaware of. Having open discussions or “Stay/Go” exercises serve to redirect focus to the benefits of remaining part of your team.

Please be careful to remain impartial. You want to hold onto great talent but must be willing to let them go if it is in their best interest.

Curate a Personal Development Plan

Now is the time to have everyone commit to a Personal Development Plan.

Whether it is to support professional growth or to enhance more personal “-ness” aspects of life (Happiness, Wellness, Fitness), working through a structured plan will provide something stable to focus on during unstable times.

As always, ensure you follow the 4 Step Guide to Personal Development Planning:

Development Area: What aspect of life I want to improve.

Behavioral Statement: Why I should do this.

Development Objective: What I hope to accomplish.

Action Steps: How I will track progress and realize my goals.

If you have questions related to Personal Development Planning or need guidance, contact me ( . . . I’ll fly with you.

Prepare Now

No one can predict the severity of a Turnover Tsunami. We can appreciate massive change on the horizon and position ourselves to safely ride out the storm when it hits.

Begin by understanding the basic nature of turnover. Recognize the signs of change or need for growth then proactively partner with your team to navigate impactful “Stay/Go” dialogue.

Be ready for changes as society redefines normal. The pandemic has exposed elements within our environment that are outdated, over-valued, and undermine creativity and expression. Count on people seeking new avenues of engagement.

Unlock your Learning Leader Mindset. Embrace change as an opportunity to refresh relationships, pumping life enhancing nutrients into your team and environment. Remember you choose your perspective, make it both optimistic and realistic.

Once the seas subside, we’ll have plenty of stories to share.

Thank you for spending your Tuesday with Tall Tim Talks!

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