Stretch Key Talent and You May Reduce Productivity in the Workplace

Posted by Ginni Garner on Jul 31 2012

productivity in the workplaceIt’s been a tough couple of years for both the unemployed and the employed, and that includes executives in the workplace. A slow global economy has caused many companies to try to “do more with less” by stretching key executive’s workload farther and farther. The result, says leading senior-executive network group ExecuNet, is “shocking.” The group recently completed a survey of high-level execs and executive recruiters; it found that 57 percent of recruiters rate executive workloads as very high and an additional 25 percent say it’s the highest workload they have ever observed.

We can understand why organizations are tempted to push their key talent to the limit. In a struggling business environment, you need to squeeze all the productivity and cost controls you can out of every department and every individual. Yet, lean on your top talent too hard and you run the risk of lowering productivity in the workplace as executives do jobs that lower level staff should be doing, which can be demoralizing and demotivating to top talent. If these execs finally burn out, they may go running to a different organization once the job market improves. Further, “When a business has to train a new individual for a key spot, such as an executive position, the cost can be enormous for them. Decisions are slower, the workload for other executives surrounding that new hire is greater, and the time it takes for the business to adjust is longer. This can lead to decreased earnings, lower revenue, and a drop off in customer satisfaction, among other factors,” says renowned executive coach Kevin Fleming, PhD.

ExecuNet’s president Mark M. Anderson lists five dangerous consequences employers face if they stretch executives too thin:

  1. Unexpected departures when the white-collar job market improves
  2. Morale problems
  3. Loss of productivity in the workplace among “burned out” executives
  4. Key performers disengage or get mired in operations
  5. Difficulty recruiting new executives

Ginni Garner, President of Sanford Rose Associates - Beachwood, agrees that productivity in the workplace suffers when key executive talent is stretched too thin. As a specialist in executive recruitment for the nutraceutical and natural products industry, she further notes that, “Retention is getting more difficult. As talent becomes scarce due to retiring baby boomers, a decrease in graduates with technical degrees and other factors, companies are going to try to poach from other organizations. If employees, especially key executive talent, have been overburdened or overworked due to the layoffs and downsizing seen over the last few years, then these individuals are likely to accept a better offer elsewhere.”

Companies need to make executive retention and support staff recruitment crucial goals as business conditions improve. To retain your key executive talent, consider increasing salaries, bonuses and counteroffers. In fact, ExecuNet’s survey found that 80 percent of CEOs say their organization will work harder to retain its top talent in 2012, up from 68 percent in 2011. To keep productivity in the workplace high, especially among your executive core, develop a plan to recruit supporting staff who can relieve the excessive burdens placed on these execs.

Want help finding top talent or supporting staff for your key executives so you maintain excellent productivity in the workplace? Sanford Rose Associates can assist you. We serve a worldwide roster of client companies from over 65 offices located across North America, Europe and Asia. What are you doing to preserve the capacity of your key talent?

To make sure your next hire is your best, contact us for a quote.

Topics: workplace productivity, culture of retention, employee engagement, retention, performance, management style

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