Board’s poor engagement leads
to loss of key personnel

In 2007, two UK and Australian organisations merged and decided they would employ the services of an experienced operations manager (recommended by a third party) to oversee the coming together of workforces.

The board of directors made it clear to the incoming operations manager that, although the merger would bring some rationalisation of resources, the retention of certain highly experienced personnel was considered vital to the fortunes of the new company.

After a number of weeks, the operations manager identified several staff to be offered redundancy packages, and the board conducted exit interviews with them. During these interviews, many comments regarding the operations manager were extremely negative, with multiple references to bluntness and disrespect. But the board assumed this was just “sour grapes” and chose to disengage from what their people were saying.

The broader message sent by that choice, however, was that—in this new company’s culture—the operations manager’s behaviour would be accepted. Consequently, over the next few months three of the senior personnel whose retention had been identified as vital handed in their resignation, each citing dissatisfaction with the operations manager.

Efforts were made to resecure their respective services, but to no avail. All three top performers were lost to the company’s main competition.