Are your lousy systems affecting staff retention?

I was working with a client on the selection of a new data management system. In one of our early conversations, we talked about the “costs” involved with maintaining the current database. The usual costs came up: direct costs like paying outside contractors to maintain and patch the database and the indirect costs of staff inefficiency due to having to manage data in multiple data sources.

I then asked the following question: “Do you think these poor systems have had any affect on staff retention?”

My client asked, “What do you mean?”

I explained, “For example, during exit interviews, has staff ever mentioned that the tools they had to use to do their job were inadequate and that it played a part in his or her decision to leave?”

My client looked at me with a stunned look and said “You know, we’ve had several staff leave in the past two years, and I know that in at least two cases, staff specifically stated that our outdated database affected their ability to do their job effectively. One staff person said she had grown tired of constantly fighting the losing battle of trying to get better tools to do her job, so she finally found another job.”

Think about the tools you provide your staff. Whether it’s your database, your phone system, or any other piece of technology that they need to do their work effectively and efficiently, are you providing them with the best tools you can in order to do their job well? Your best staff will only hang around so long until they decide that it’s time to move on to a place that WILL invest in good technology.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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