Losing Deeply Embedded Employees

Here is a news item with some food for thought around the connection between turnover and productivity.

It addresses an issue --the effect of losing employees who are deeply embedded and well-connected (employees that bridge structural gaps inside organizations)-- that organizations endure all the time, but is usually not managed and not measured. I wonder if leaders in organizations actually care?

The last time I experienced it (during the takeover of my last employer, and subsequent downsizings), one of my colleagues colorfully described the daily loss of these key players as "burning down libraries." Later, when that very person left the company, there was disruption in operations for weeks.

The bottom line: Losses in social capital can impact performance and profit.

The question for business leaders, HR, and OD: Should we care? If you answer Yes, what can we do about it?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 07/17/06

Comments

starbucker said…
Thanks for this very interesting link Terry - I never thought about this "deeply embedded" concept before. And the answer to your question is certainly "yes". All the best.
Astha said…
I love the metaphors you capture: "burning down libraries", "coming out of surgery". So apt.
And it does raise some important questions for the OD personnel:
- How do we handle the broken social networks left behind by downsizing?
- Do we owe something to rehabilitating those who leave? And if yes, how does one deal with this?
- What kind of conversations do we need to have with the management and the employees at this time?
Terrence said…
Thank you both, Terry and Astha, for responding to this entry.

As a veteran of several downsizings over the course of my career, I have a very personal connection to this topic. Though a tough thing to endure, I think it has made me a better and stronger HR and OD practitioner.

Best,

Terry

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