Building Organizational knowledge in a high-attrition people business

Running a people-intensive services business is like being on a treadmill. Trapping organizational knowledge is a tough task…with people moving around. Managers in IT, ITES, Retail Financial Services sales, Retail frontline staff should compare notes on this.

So, you hire the kid, send her for a 7-30 day training (depending on your size and EBITDA margin) and she hits the “revenue trail”. In 90 days, 25% get disillusioned with either the support or the pressure or the industry, and half of these start under-performing. Another 25% start under-performing despite trying hard. Of the remaining good performers, 10% start feeling under-compensated (after having agreed on the compensation 6 months back). And there you go – almost half the people who joined you 6 months back are on their way out.

So, how does an organization grow, building on organizational knowledge in such a “fluid” environment ? There are two aspects I am talking about here :
• how to ensure that all employees behave in a consistent manner and,
• how to use the work done by exiting employees ?

For ensuring consistent behavior – I would suggest developing formal processes for sales (pre-sales, sales and post-sales), training, client servicing (activation, up-selling, cross-selling, periodic statements). Make a song-n-dance of releasing this as a Bible / Handbook. We should also include intensive training on Processes in the induction training and in the refresher / on-going training. Periodic Process audit and including process compliance in Business Score-card for increments will also help in evangelizing its importance.

For using efforts of employees, especially those exiting the system – double-coverage of all activities through either supervisor or buddy-system may help. Weekly activity report (in sufficient detail) from all employees will help us get info after employee leaves. In sales systems, getting employees to upload information on leads and prospects also, besides clients will help.

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