By Christine Ro September 16, 2021 When key employees resign or are fired, this can define a chain reaction known as “revenue contagion.” This can be particularly the case during pandemic and the Great Resignation.I
It has been years sinceI didn 't quit a job, but I remember it well. When our boss abruptly announced that she was leaving our small nonprofit organization, the boardroom was full of shocked and unhappy expressions. She had turned the organization into a more efficient yet inspiring workplace, and we were all sorry to see her go.
Soon after the arrival of her successor - who had a style very different - I also resigned. My closest colleague followed suit a week later. Another colleague left as soon as she had another job in sight. This meant that nearly half of the employees were gone within a few months.
This kind of massive departure - which management experts call "top line contagion" - is all too common. This may involve multiple employees reacting independently to the same personnel change in policy (such asthe fashionable subion company which lost a third of its stylists after abandoning its flexible working policy). But there is also a powerful psychological effect of seeing your peers leave, which may motivate you to wonder if the grass is greener on their side.
The strength of the d-figure contagion Business depends on the employees who leave and the type of circumstances in which they leave. So, especially in today's uncertain job market, good managers should step up employee retention and recruitment, to avoid ending up at the helm of an unmanned ship.
As with most human behavior, turnover is influenced by society. “A central idea behind our research on turnover contagion is thate people are herd animals. We are inspired by others, ”says Will Felps, professor of management at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. "It 's like in animal documentaries, where a herd of water buffaloes gather at the edge of a river that they collectively plan to cross. They will wait for a few brave ones to jump in and make it across. before doing it themselves. ”
Like the water buffalo, the workers " will wait for a few brave men to jump in and cross before doing it themselves "- Will Felps (Credit:)
These social cues are especially strong when the water buffalo - or colleague - is a leader, co-worker or peer. People in "structurally equivalent" roles are often influenced by each other : "If you notice that someone in the same position leaves, you may not know them personally, but s 'he's in the same job as you, that can be contagious,' says Peter Hom, director professor at Arizona State University, USA.
The social signal is heightened if the departing employee openly criticizes the workplace or brags about a new prospect. A demoralized, unstable and fragmented workforce is likely to seek new opportunities.
And if a good boss leaves, it can trigger workers to quit on the spot (like the struggling restaurant where half the staff resign alongside a good manager- loved) or those that stunt for months (like the hotel company where the resignations of general managers increase the turnover of main employeesipaux ).
“This is really causing a massive exodus. The higher you are, the more likely you are to have almost a ripple effect between levels, ”according to Nita Chhinzer, professor of human resources at the University of Guelph, Canada. “This is where a lot of HR managers I know really shake… they know this is a common thread that can really destroy their talent management efforts that they have been investing in for years.
There is also a contagious effect on the departure of star employees (as in car dealerships where the departure of strong salespeople motivates other salespeople to move on). "Some of my research shows that when the top performers on a team leave the work environment, others suddenly start to reevaluate the relationship with the place.working and thinking about leaving "says Chhinzer. It 's less contagious when a bad performer leaves, because" you think that the output of a poor performance is actually functional enough for the organization and quite desirable ".
Chhinzer says this is a universal model. “Collectivist cultures will be even more strongly influenced by the perceptions of others because they are in a collectivist society; they believe they all belong to the same group. And individualistic cultures are impacted by the exit of others, because we try to maximize our own individual advantage. So that makes us think about our cost-benefit equation at work and wonder if we missed something. "
A pandemic trend has been social media posts by restaurant workers announcing the closure of the business.rce that almost all of the staff quit (Credit:)
A pandemic trend has been social media posts by discount stores or fast food restaurants announcing the closure of the business because almost all the staff have resigned. These workers are not only fed up individually with low wages and difficult working conditions during the Great Resignation . They are fed up en masse.
For Felps, this makes sense, as resignations can be particularly contagious in times of uncertainty . The "proofve social "which lets us know that quitting smoking is acceptable is particularly important" in the face of new, risky or ambiguous situations. Covid ticks all three boxes ".
" So under the current circumstances, if only a few people choose to leave an organization, it will likely cause a number of other people to seriously start looking for a job. other job. "Felps continues." This can cause a domino, causing a tsunami of people to stop over a short period of time. So I would expect there to be a lot of contagion from the d figure. 'business right now. ”
F Ali, 25, and several of his colleagues recently resigned the same day amid a perfect storm of Covid-era instability , mismanagement, difficult conditions and the dismissal of a key colleague.
F Ali (whose full name has been withheld) worked as a filter and receptionistCovid for a for-profit medical facility in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. During her few months of work, many things troubled her: the difference in treatment between white employees and racial minorities like her; management's hostility to efforts to organize staff; and the staff shortage that compromised patient care.
“There were days when we had two nurses on the entire floor of 40 patients,” she reports. “It was not unusual to be outside the building and see the staff who work directly with the patients crying or being frustrated or angry, you know, unable to cope with the consequences of seeing their patients. patients suffer. "
The final straw was when a fellow receptionist and friend, whom F Ali describes as an extremely dedicated employee, was suddenly fired on the pretext that she was using her phone too much (while 'it wasnecessary to use telephones to communicate with colleagues on different floors). "It really broke me, " F Ali recalls. She suspects management has fired receptionists in order to replace them with lower paid Covid screening officers.
F Ali immediately sent an angry email to several executives, criticizing their mistreatment of staff and announcing his resignation. Two other receptionists resigned the same day. Part of it was rage quit s, and as F Ali recalls: "It was very rewarding to come the next day and see one of the senior administrators having to work in the office. "
It is however important to note that these dropouts were triggered by the dismissal of a beloved , reliable colleague whose absence would have made things more difficult for the remaining staff in addition to feeling deeply unfair. She may not have been a star in the sales sense, but she was key to the morale of a company where the staff worked closely together. This matches Chhinzer's research showing that employees who create a pseudo-family at work are more likely to be affected by turnover contagion than employees who work fairly independently.
Many essential workers are not only individually fed up with low wages and hard working conditions - they are fed up en masse (Credit:)
How to stem the tide
An employer desperate to curb an exodus might try to prevent employees from talking to each other about their exit plans, but this would be counterproductive .Likewise, using surveillance to monitor workers' departure intentions . These kinds of tough tactics are likely to breed more distrust and animosity, only making the open door more appealing to employees.
Instead of ending the conversation, be more open on why the staff is leaving will help quell rumors. For example, if someone quits for family reasons, it is less likely to lead to turnover contagion than quitting because of job dissatisfaction. But if there is a mysterious silence around a departure, people will speculate and potentially assume the worst. " One of the caveats that we have for managers is that they have to be very clear about why this person left, if it is not a work-related reason, "explains Chhinzer." We can turn off the contagion of the d-figure. 'business when we find that it wasn ' t a business reason a person left. "
Felps encourages executives to take more positive practical steps to" hush up the shutdown in the egg, "although it seems like a big expense now." The most obvious ways to create barriers at the start is to financially and symbolically express your appreciation for the remarkable efforts of employees during this difficult time. salary increases may reduce profit margins in the short term, ipredict it's better than risking the kind of implosion that can happen when the revenue contagion gets out of hand. "
The departure of key employees is a critical time to invest in remaining employees and in recruiting new employees. Yet too many employers do the exact opposite: try to save money by overloading existing employees with more work, which creates a vicious cycle of stress and resignations .
Unfortunately, F Ali is not convinced that the collective resignation in the for-profit healthcare industry has caused executives to reconsider their approach to retention. "They give bonuses, but they do not increase the salaries of existing nurses," explains F Ali. Most of her nurse friends "quit their jobs for others.Jobs that give them bonuses and higher wages because their own employers are unwilling to keep them at higher wages ”.
If a workplace doesn't address the underlying factors that make revenue contagion more likely among its workforce, it may become the subject of the next viral TikTok video or Twitter photo after the mass departure of its employees. No company wants to be this.