KEEPING SUZANNE CHALMERS INTRODUCTION Suzanne Chalmers, one of the API’s top talents software engineers, asked Thomas Chan, the vice-president of software engineering at Advanced Photonics, Inc. (API), for a private meeting. Thomas Chan had been through this before when valued employees asked for private meetings which ended by announcing that they wanted to quit.
Reasons for leaving the company were anything like the long hours, stressful deadline, need to decompress or get to spend time with their kids…etc. Thomas Chan assumes that the real reason for the staff leaving was having too much money too fast which gave employees financial independence and less motivation.
During the meeting, after Suzanne Chalmers announced that she decided to leave the company, Thomas Chan tried to persuade Suzanne Chalmers to remain with API by offering her one of the following: 1-Giving her two or three months unpaid leaves with full paid benefits; so that she will have time to recharge batteries, 2- Workplace improvements – getting the latest computer technology to do her work or larger workspace with better view of the park, 3- 25 per cent pay increase and more share options,
Thomas Chan also recognized Suzanne Chalmers’ great work by telling her that she was one of API’s most valuable employees and the company would suffer if she left the firm. Suzanne Chalmers responded by saying that she did not have any problems with her workplace and that she has an excellent co-worker. At the end of the meeting, Suzanne Chalmers promised Thomas Chan that she would consider the offer of higher pay and the increased of share options. Two days later, Thomas Chan received Suzanne Chalmers has written resignation from API.
Five months later, Thomas Chan heard that she had joined a start-up software firm in the area after a few months of travelling with her husband. SYMPTOMS AND KEY FACTORS SYMPTOMS Thomas Chan should have realized that the API was having trouble with turnovers because: • Suzanne Chalmers, who is one of the top talents in her area of proficiency, is also leaving the company for a start-up software firm. • There had been instances before Suzanne Chalmers, API’s valuable employees asked for a meeting and then announcing their purpose to leave API. Many of API valued workers have financial independence making them less reason to stay indefinitely with the API • Many of them stated reasons such as stress long hours in API but however, will find work again in the same industry with the same stated problem that API have • The trend that people who left API will join a start-up company a few months later. • Many of small start-up software firms that were specialist, they recruits such as Suzanne Chalmers with better learning experiences, challenges and potential gain in share options.
KEY FACTORS • Suzanne Chalmers, who called to arrange a meeting with Chan. Chan almost intuitively, knew that Suzanne was going to quit after working at API for the past four years. • Suzanne was one of the API’s top talents in that area. • Some employees say they are leaving because of the long hours and stressful deadlines. • They say they need to decompress, get to spend time with their kids, or whatever, but that’s not usually the reason. • Many of the employees who leave API join a start-up company a few months later. Start up firms can be pressure cookers where everyone works 16 hours each day and has to perform a variety of tasks. • API has over 6000 employees, so it is easier to assign people work that matches their technical competencies. • Most of the people who leave are millionaires. • Financial independence gives them less reason to remain with the API. PROBLEM STATEMENT The problem in this case study is high employee turnover caused by the work environment and the lack of employee loyalty. CAUSE/ANALYSIS There are several OB theories and models that can be applied to explain Suzanne Chalmers’ decision: 1.
Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy: says that as a person satisfies a lower level need the next higher need in the hierarchy becomes the primary motivator and remains so even if never satisfied. • Physiological need of her financial independence makes her stable, • Safety by securing her position at API as a Software Engineer in Internet Protocol (IP) expert • Belongings by were a valuable employee at API • Esteem by her high achievement accomplished in her position • Self-actualization is the higher need that Suzanne needs to satisfy; mostly work with more variety and challenge . Learned needs theory: may also be applied as it states that a person’s needs can be strengthened through reinforcement, learning, and social conditions. Need for Achievement (nAch) is a learned need in which people want to accomplish reasonably challenging goals and recognition through their own effort. Thomas Chan offered Suzanne a 25% raise and more share options to stay with an API which did not convince her to stay because of her high nAch. He should have given her feedbacks and recognition for her work effort to motivate her which were in fact lacking in API firm. . Four drives theory: is a motivation theory based on the innate drives to acquire, bond, learn, and defend that incorporates both emotions and rationality. Drives related to Suzanne Chalmers are the drive to acquire and learn. • The drive to acquire refers to the drive to seek, take, control and retain objects and personal experiences specifically that she wants to acquire new experiences. At the same time, Suzanne positively does not have a drive to acquire material goods such as money or physical resources.
In addition, she doesn’t express a strong drive to bond, mostly since she is motivated to leave APL. • Drive to Learn refers to the drive to satisfy our curiosity, to know and understand ourselves and the environment around us. The drive is related to the higher needs of growth and self actualization. In this case, Suzanne Chalmers has already an expert in the Internet Protocol (IP). As a result she will think that she had already learned everything in the API. Therefore, she will join another company to serve her desire to learn more things. 4.
MARS Model: highlights the factors that directly influence an employee’s voluntary behaviour and resulting performance – Motivation, Ability, Role perceptions and Situational factors. Applying the MARS model, it can be seen that Suzanne Chalmers has the ability (her expertise on IPs) and role perception (she was a valuable API employee). The possible reasons for Chalmers behaviour under MARS are lack of motivation as well as situational factors: *Motivation: Motivation represents the forces within a person that affect his or her direction, intensity and persistence of voluntary behaviour.
In this regard: – In this case, Chalmers no longer has the drive (intensity) and desire (persistence) in order to stay with API (direction). Although she had chances to negotiate with Thomas Chan, she chooses to resign than negotiate the improved terms that would keep her motivated to stay in API. She might also that The Company probably can no longer fulfill her need as an employee related to work challenges. *Situational Factors: Situational factors include conditions beyond employee’s immediate control that constraint of facilitate their performances and behaviour.
She would like be motivated and expand her skill variety and job challenge. The company also struggles in offering adequate office space to employees, Thomas Chan himself pointing it out apologizing for the cramped workspace. 5. Employee Engagement and Job Satisfaction: Employee engagement and job satisfaction are very important for a company’s and employee well-being. One reason why the company has a high employee turnover is the job specialization, many of the employees being forced to leave for companies which offer job enrichment focusing on client relationships as well.
Suzanne’s desire is to perform more than her defined job duties, her high level of instruction of work and strong self-efficacy to perform force her to leave the company for a start-up firm. In Suzanne Chalmers case, her meeting with Thomas Chan gave her the opportunity to speak up her displeasure. Instead, she chooses to leave API. Employee’s response to job dissatisfaction is portrayed by EVLN Model i. e. Exit – Voice – Loyalty – Neglect. 6. Work-Life Balance: At present Suzanne have been tasked with high pressured assignments, she might feel that was missing her work-life balances.
This can be seen from the fact that she spends a few months travelling with her husband after leaving API. However, when she has satisfied her work-life balance, she will again try to find work that suit her ideal environment; as the high load IT software firms. ALTERNATIVES 1. Thomas Chan should explore more closely with Suzanne Chalmers the needs of job design and career issues. Instead, he focused on secondary working conditions; size of office. There is evidence that Suzanne Chalmers wants to do something different from IP software engineering. The job seems to be getting routine for her. This is why she left for a start up software firm. . Thomas Chan should increase Suzanne Job Satisfaction, which may differ from the past depending on her capacity and preference. Suzanne might want to try to gain professional experience than technical experience. Some people might hate workload while others are workaholics. In this scenario, Suzanne might have work overload. In Suzanne’s case, her work project was almost completed. To gain her work-life balance back, her option was quitting. Thomas Chan could prevent future staff turnovers by fulfilling employees’ job satisfaction by reducing employee work load, and reduce unnecessary stress and responsibility. . Thomas Chan should increase Staffs’ Motivations, can be increased by rewards such as money, praise and share option, or more feeling successful… To motivate expert staffs to stay with the firm, Thomas Chan could make sure that their comfort is taken care of such as work-life balance and self-esteem needs. Additionally, Thomas Chan could apply the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test to learn more about his staffs style and then make sure he works on motivational program to include options for each individual needs. PROS AND CONS I need to work on this more! 1-