Incandescence (Part I)

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Confrontations

The rest of the weekend flew by without drama and I loved spending time on my own. Pottering around my house, grocery shopping and dancing to music; this was just what I needed.

Monday morning I made my way to the office early as I wanted to be prepared for our Executive Meeting. I grabbed the files I’d been working on relating to Staff Retention Strategies and printed several copies of my report and proposal.

Collating all my information, I made my way to the Boardroom. Even though I’d already done 2-hours of work, I was one of the last Managers to enter the room. Looking around I gave everyone a smile good morning and proceeded to sit down.

Leonard and Bradley sat in their usual seats and started staring down the Managers they weren’t too fond of. As Mr Salvatore entered the room I saw Leonard slouch back into his chair and roll his eyes; his reaction caused me to smirk, but when Bradley glared at me, I quickly regained my composure.

During the meeting, Mr Salvatore turned to me and asked what strategies I had for Staff Retention. I opened my folder and started distributing reports and proposals that I had been working on.

'If I can ask you all to look at Page 1’ I paused waiting for everyone to look at the report in front of them 'this report details staff turnover over the past 12-months. I’ve broken this information into categories. You’ll see 80% of staff that have left our employ are female. Of this, 78% are aged between 20 – 27. What is surprising is 89% of employees have left within 12-months of employment and all employees resigned. Our total staff turnover is current 48%; well above industry and National averages.

I’m not going to stand here and bore you with all the stats; but I do ask that you please take your copy back to your office and review it. If you would like information drilled down specific to your department, please let me know and I will run reports specific to you.

Now rather than focusing on the number of staff that have left, I’d like to draw our attention towards retaining the staff we have. I’d like to implement a procedure whereby no employee can finish with us without conducting an Exit Interview with me personally.

In addition, I would like to host a Staff Retention Event. I would like this to take place in 2-weeks time at a location away from our office. I intend to randomly select 5 employees from each department and as Managers, we will spend time with employees from one-anothers departments. The purpose of this exercise will be to create stronger teams, listen to what our employees have to say and strengthen our internal relationships across the company.

For this to be effective I will need all managers to cooperate and schedule their rosters so that sufficient staff can remain on site whilst the rest of us will be away’.

‘This is nonsense!’ Jackson exclaimed

‘Retaining our employees and improving our business practices is many things Jackson, but it’s certainly not nonsense’ I politely but confidently tried putting him back in his place.

‘This is a waste of everyone’s time, you’re moving resources away from our business, and what about the expense associated with hosting this. What’s the point when we can just ask everyone to email us business ideas’ Jackson shot back.

‘I mustn’t have made my intentions clear enough. Our business lost 48% of our personnel over a 12-month period. We need to address this as the cost to our business is substantial; as the Chief Financial Officer you should know this’ I paused before continuing ‘Not only are we spending a fortune on advertising and recruitment; the cost of lost knowledge and experience is immeasurable. Jackson, with your knowledge of expenditure, I’m stunned that you would perceive this activity as anything other than essential.’

Jackson was about to continue, but to my surprise Bradley stood up and in a stern authoritative tone stated that my plan was going ahead and all managers were to support my initiative. Jackson stood up ready to continue his attack - he was not backing down, but before he could say anything Leonard stood up by his brothers’ side and all but yelled at Jackson to sit down and co-operate. I was taken aback by just how quickly this meeting had turned and how intimidating the brothers could be when united.

The rest of the meeting went without drama. My mind kept wondering back to what had just occurred. Why was Jackson so determined for this exercise not to take place; Afterall, it was his department that lead the charge in total staff turnover. What was he hiding?

Then my mind wondered over to Bradley. Why did he stand up for me? Did he actually have my back or was he setting me up for failure? I couldn’t help but feel he had an ulterior motive; surely it wasn’t as simple as he disliked Jackson more than he disliked me.

Coming out of my thoughts I saw Leonard looking at me with a smirk, were my thoughts that obvious that he could see them written all over my face?

I was glad when the meeting finished; promptly leaving the boardroom and I made my way to my office. I hadn’t realized but hot on my tail was Leonard and as I went to close my office door he appeared.

‘Leonard, sorry, I didn’t see you there’ I said.

‘All good. Are you OK?’ Leonard asked, looking genuinely concerned.

‘I’m fine. Being in HR you get used to people hating and threatening you; after a while it becomes second nature’ I said with a laugh. ‘So tell me’ I continued ‘what is it about these meetings that you hate so much?’

‘What makes you think I hate them?’ he asked

‘I see your body language, slouching back in the chair, rolling your eyes, do I need to continue?’ I laughed and opened my top draw pulling out some donuts for Leonard and I to eat.

Eating his donut Leonard replied ‘It’s the drama, there’s always drama and that’s just not me. I’m happy to work, I just don’t like the unnecessary drama that goes with it’. I nodded in agreeance; the drama of what had just taken place still fresh in my mind.

‘You’re quite the perceptive one aren’t you’ Leonard stated.

‘It’s my job to watch and analyse people’ I replied ‘but I really struggle trying to read your brother. Is he ok?’ I knew it wasn’t right to ask, but his behavior concerned me.

Leonard laughed and shook his head ‘Thanks for the Donut’ he said as he left my office.

Great, I thought. Now Leonard will tell his brother that I think he’s insane. Before I could do anything, Bradley stuck his head in my office. ‘I heard you’re giving away Donuts'

I just laughed and handed him the box, making a mental note to hide my donut stash in the future. ‘Thanks for your support during the meeting’ I said as he was walking out with my donuts.

‘All good’ he replied as he walked off.

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