Jump to content

Your HR Library

How to kill Rosemary and save employee retention

I have my moments where I am caught pondering various topics and thoughts staring out the window.  I have just finished listening to Jim Collins – Good to Great.  So many great concepts and ideas to process.   

As I was in one of these pondering moments after a strategy conversation over zoom, staring out into my courtyard, I noticed my Rosemary plant was almost dead.  How did that happen I wondered?  Rosemary is usually a very hardy plant that has already tolerated so much.  What changed? 

I have successfully grown Rosemary before to the point it was the overachiever in the garden. That was a different garden to now though.  

I inspected it during my lunch break and observed the environment it was in.  Took note that there were a couple small weeds in the pot.  There was some sunlight, and the dirt was moist.  We’ve had a bit of rain, so drought wasn’t a factor.  I did also notice the saucer under the post was full of water.   

So with that information I went away and did some research, asked Mr Google some questions, and there was the answer on the Yates website.  The last point on the list of growing advice – “Once planted, keep the plant well-watered, but don’t let the water sit in a saucer at the base of the pot” 

There was my failure.  I had left it sitting in a saucer of water.  Now I knew that I looked at all my other pots, and no-one else was suffering.  Instead, some were thriving, even with water sitting in the saucer.  Go figure.   

So now I must come up with a plan to bring Rosemary back from the brink.  I need rosemary for my burger patties this summer.   

After taking her out of the pool of water, I will let her dry out a little.  No doubt, she will need a break from the stress of having her feet in water for so long. I will keep a watchful eye over her and then after a few days (weather dependent) I will give her a dose of fert and continue the almost daily attention. There is still some life in those faded green leaves so here is hoping with a bit of focused attention, I can slow down the dying process and bring her back to full life. 

This moment of reality came when I was pondering on the conversation I had with a director.  It was about a struggling senior employee.  During this conversation I posed the question – is this person in the right place and doing the right things that make them excited each day?  The Director paused and then said no probably not.   

Thinking to my situation with the Rosemary plant there are many similarities.  Some of us are just not suited to the conditions and the environment but still have strengths and skills that add and create value.  I plan to continue having rosemary in my homemade burgers this summer.   

The director and I continued this conversation identifying what environment and conditions would be the employee be better suited to, and how might others be able to influence this, and if there was work better suited to that person.  But our next step isn’t to restructure, or performance manage, it is to investigate and get to the bottom of it with the employee.  This person is an asset and a great team member just not in the right environment with the right conditions to shine yet.    

The other similarity I realised is that Rosemary was suffering because I hadn’t been paying attention to her and how she was coping in her environment. It has been winter and typically the garden is in hibernation, so I didn’t think to check more than once a month.  It is pity I didn’t notice sooner that she was struggling and investigate why, because it turns out I killed her.  Recently Daphne took her spot and I am on the lookout for the right place for the next Rosemary.     

How many employees have you seen leave your business that you could have prevented if you have had paid more attention or had more frequent conversations?