Past, Present and Future
By, Ann Hogan, M.Ed., SPHR, SHRM-SCP

What is the best predictor of a person’s future behavior? Past behavior.

It has been shown many times that a person’s past behavior is a good predictor of their future behavior.

This same prediction can be applied to an organization’s behavior. That is why it is critical for an organization to “look back” on their behavior and patterns. When an organization takes the time to “look back” on their patterns and behavior they begin to understand what needs to change to not have history repeat itself in the future.

As we all know, competition in the workforce is fierce and predictably, will only get more challenging. Therefore, it is time for all organizations to assess their past and develop their strategy for the future.

So, how do you do that? Well, here are some tips to begin diagnosing your organization’s past behavior and patterns:

Collect HR Metrics Data – this is a snap shot of your organization at a specific period. Pick three metrics to measure, collect the data, evaluate, and take action to improve upon for the next year. Suggestions would include: Turnover, Tenure, Cost of Hire, Absence Rate, Time to Fill, or Cost of Turnover. All these metrics can tell you a story of the organization’s past behavior. When collecting your data, be sure to not only collect it by total organizational numbers but also by department and site. This will give you a detailed picture of where you may need to address issues. Additionally, you will begin to see what areas within the organization are doing well.

Review Exit Interview answers – When you review your exit interview data, remember, these people are now gone from your organization and your chance of recruiting them back is slim. Although, the answers to the questions often begin show a pattern of why individuals are leaving the organization. Based upon these answers you can evaluate what needs to change.

Evaluate the Hiring Practices – Are you truly hiring the best person for the position? Be sure to look for someone that brings a positive attitude, new ideas and experiences into the organization. Many times, our own biases enter our decision regarding who to hire or that we want to hire someone who is just like us. Be sure to be aware of these pitfalls when interviewing; you may overlook a great candidate. When interviewing be sure you are utilizing a structured interview process with questions based upon the job duties. When analyzing those questions, ask yourself what we can train the individual to do and what experience does the person “really” need to perform the duties. Behavioral based interview questions will give you a start in this area.

Evaluate Employee Termination Procedure – Many times for various reasons, we don’t let individuals go that are not performing to our needs. Additionally, we allow “toxic” individuals to continue within our organization because they may be a producer. Having these individuals within our organization is like letting a cancer grow untreated. As we have all seen lately in the news, these individuals need to be eradicated from our organizations to move forward and create a culture that can flourish. Positions need to be filled with people that give there all to their team and to the patients. Therefore, it is imperative you review your procedures and processes for terminations.

There are several more areas to take a critical look at for your organization to move into the future and in the upcoming weeks we will focus on the importance of Training your Managers, Stay Interviews and Examining your Organizational Culture. In the meantime, begin thinking about the following questions:

Training your Managers – Do you know that one of the biggest reason people leave their jobs is because of their manager or supervisor? Now is the time to evaluate what training and expectations you have anyone who has a leadership role and manages people. Ask yourself if the managers know that they are responsible to retain their employees? Examine your training methods for all managers, supervisors and leadership. Is this an ongoing expectation or a one-time event? Do you reinforce the training within the organization?

Conducting Stay Interviews – Stay interviews can be an important piece to identifying the reasons people may leave your organization. The good news is, if they are done correctly and areas needing improvement are discovered, you now can address those areas.

Examining the Organizational Culture – This is the biggest of them all. What truly is your culture within the organization? Do you have a positive work environment? Do you have a toxic workplace? What does it take to have a culture that encourages and recognizes brilliance, innovation and courage?

It isn’t always easy to do an examination of one’s organization but knowing what we are doing well and where we can improve and taking action will give us a strategic edge in the competition for workforce in the future. The good news is – we can change our future behavior!

Ann Hogan is an employee retention and recruitment expert, HR Consultant, trainer and speaker. She has a master’s degree with a focus on Organizational Performance and Change and is a graduate of the University of Washington Community Health Leadership Institute Certificate Program. She works with organizations to improve retention, customer and employee satisfaction, and communication. Ann can be reached at 303.916.6439 or