Mentoring: A key tool for talent retention

Any organization that seeks to maintain its competitiveness must seriously consider the issue of talent development and management, especially as regards a clear problem of our time: Employees, especially those of the new generations, do not usually stay in the companies they work for a long time. This involves a series of expenses in time and in money (especially when it comes to training processes,) and it really represents a problem for a large number of organizations around the world. One of the measures that may be implemented to deal with this problem is mentoring. I will first analyze the problem of human talent retention, and then I will get deeper into what mentoring can do to provide intelligent solutions.

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The flight of talent has its origin in the mishandling of human resources which has been made from the management of organizations. The lack of understanding leads to the abandonment of thousands of jobs a year. The reasons for the flight of talent are sometimes ignored by the managers themselves who prefer using imperative leadership methodologies, more typical of the old times, in order to imitate the successes of their predecessors.

Still, it is necessary to understand that the world has evolved since then, and the old models are now historical records for the new generations, which point to circular forms of management, based on internal communication and the promotion of labor well-being. Ignoring the adaptation to the new models of human capital management may lead to a serious problem, which not only impacts the future of the company but, on a large scale, would mean a threat to the global economy itself.

The old forms of leadership are outdated and must give way to the new generations based on communication and mutual understanding between leader and worker. Millennials are the generation that opens the door to change. This generation is providing a continuous evolution to improve this and to adapt to the new forms of management for the coming generation, which is eminently digital. At present, the motivation to work, the fact of achieving a good working weather and the family conciliation are the key aspects to get the workers involved in the corporate culture. The philosophy of work of the present century has its roots in the happiness of employees: A happy worker is a productive worker.

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Now, mentoring is a key tool to retain the best-qualified staff of companies. However, even though it has several benefits, it is extremely important that you learn how to use it and implement it correctly. This strategy is related to progression, growth and professional challenges. It consists of a process through which a more experienced person, the mentor, teaches, assists, offers possible paths and contributes to the personal and professional growth of the mentee by investing time, energy, and knowledge. Mentoring, besides being a catalyst for the continuous learning process in the company, shortens the learning curve and is useful for structuring the training that takes place in the workplace. However, it is necessary to know the process well, as the benefits that can be obtained, the objectives that are pursued, and the frequent barriers for an adequate mentoring design.

Read also: Deconstructing the benefits of mentoring: Is it worth it?, by Suzzanne Uhland

Mentoring should be incorporated as part of the development strategy of people within a company and be considered as part of the values of the organization. The same workers can volunteer to mentor the new members of the company, and, during the execution of this plan, the company will be concerned with the professional development of all of them, since the mentors need to study a bit more to teach.

A mentoring program is divided into stages. First, the mentor and mentee’s expectations regarding the learning process are developed, the objectives to be attained are established, and the sessions are planned. Then, the mentor should take the reins of this process and be proactive, by learning everything he/she can from to achieve the goals. To optimize this program, the company must apply it as a tool to retain and capture talent, with the support of the management of the organization, and, in this regard, it is vital to count on enough resources of time and money.

A successful implementation of a mentoring program benefits the company since the staff feels more positive, participatory, and integrated. It usually increases its productivity, performance, and motivation, and promotes an organizational climate. Mentoring builds technical and managerial skills, optimizes the selection and development of new talent, which is recruited with high potential standards and levels of competence, among others. If you implement this mentoring plan, your employees will thank you for the concern you have for them and their loyalty to your company will rise.

The implementation of mentoring is a great effort for the organization; for each mentor and mentee. That is why the results are really stimulating, taking into account the personal and professional growth which is noticed from the beginning.

Recommended: Why retention will be the biggest Talent Challenge of 2017

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How To Start A Great Mentoring Program At Work

Starting a mentoring program is one of the most intelligent, positively impacting and long-lasting decisions you can make for your business. Mentoring initiatives are something that touches everyone in the company, and they are not directed only towards a specific demographic, but instead, they are available to all those who care about their personal and professional growth, no matter what their current position inside the organization. Mentoring also has benefits that are directly related to individual development but can also boost employee satisfaction and retention levels while at the same time making your company more attractive to prospective employees or individuals in general interested in the organization.

One of the best parts of mentoring is that instead of having to invest in external resources to be brought into the company, you are capitalizing on the assets you already have, mainly the human component of those resources.

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Creating a high-impact mentoring program may not be as difficult as you think, considering all of the benefits that a well-established initiative can bestow upon a company that takes it seriously and decides to use to properly take advantage of everything their employees have to offer. Today in Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we want to talk about the things you need to consider and some of the most basic steps to get started and put together a mentoring program that will surely make a difference.

It only makes sense that the first step to take in the creation of such program would be to define the general and specific objectives of the initiative. What do you want to accomplish? Is this about better preparing your people to remain competitive in the market? Do you want to strengthen the leadership of your organization by helping senior leaders hone their skills while giving junior associates a closer look at the inner workings of leadership in action? Is this all about accomplishing better retention and having employees gain perspective or a new appreciation for their company? Do you want to introduce your people to a new skill and decide to use a mentoring program to do so? The answer to all of these questions will probably provide you with a good idea as to which concepts you must focus on while designing the program and which areas will not be so important when making decisions about putting it together.

Your target audience is very important when you are in the planning stages of the program because they dictate the needs of your design. You have to know what motivates your people, where they are in the career and what would be their logical next steps in a quest for growth. Knowing this information will allow you to come up with realistic goals that can be measured according to the participants’ performance and it can come as a huge help to leaders who participate by giving them an idea of the areas in which they can be most helpful and so that they can self-evaluate to gain a better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses to support the initiative. It is important to remember that a successful mentoring program will always have a strong structure but also be characterized by its flexibility. Remember that no two mentoring relationships are the same, so you must prepare for that.

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It doesn’t matter how well designed your program is, it must have an excellent marketing campaign. People in the organization must know that it exists and in the worst-case scenario, at least know what a mentoring program is. It happens quite often that companies announce a mentoring program and are met with a great deal of enthusiasm by a member of the organization, however, the turnout is low and the actual interest seem lower than expected. This happens because people may not truly understand how mentoring works and what it can do for them. It is important that a program is not simply announced, but that actual training is thrown into the mix. Participants must understand all aspects of mentoring so they can see what they are getting into, understand the positive impact that it can bring into their lives and also know how they can maximize their effort by being active participants in their own evolution.

Mentors and mentees must be paired properly and plan to do so must be made considering all approaches. Sometimes these relationships are born organically, but in some case, the organization must step in and help both sides meet based on the criteria each participant has according to what they want from the program and what they can bring to the table. This step is crucial so you must understand how it will take place. Do not let these partnerships be on their own and forget about them completely; remember the organization must be there and provide support in any way it can since the success of a mentoring program is going to be of great influence to the future of the organization.

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How to make the transition from being a mentee to becoming a mentor?

It is well-known that mentors are important characters that help with the professional development of individuals. This is not an exception for law students who plan to one day become successful attorneys or start their own law firms. Mentors help to break that gap between experienced attorneys and the ones who just graduated from law school.

Mentorship needs to be a both-sided relationship between two individuals: the mentor and the mentee. Mentorship should be enriching and mutually beneficial. However, it is important to consider that all mentors needed to be mentees and that is why it is so important to find the right mentor. Depending on the type of mentor you have will be the type of mentor you will become.

In order for mentees to become great mentors, they need to receive great knowledge from their mentorship experience. Wisdom and useful advice are also important to set some standards and references for the future law mentor.

In this article, Suzzanne Uhland will review what is to be a law mentor and how do mentees take that step to become successful law mentors.

Related: How Mentors Inspire Their People Everyday

Being a mentee

As a mentee, your responsibility is to choose a mentor that can actually suit your needs. This is very important in law since you are only allowed to specialize in certain fields under that approval of a mentor. A mentor is not necessarily someone who sings in for the role. It can be anyone you are close to during the last years of law school or right after graduating from it.

Many mentors come in the shape of superiors who happen to work at the same place that you do. This is why it is very important for you to be surrounded by professionals that can give some key information and advice to your formation. This means that as a mentee you probably won’t have a boss who is constantly lecturing. But, a figure who is always willing to answer questions and help you grow professionally.

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Sometimes, those who once were mentees and now are mentors look back at the history and realize that some of their best mentors were not formally described as such. They were individuals with whom they could hold an enriching professional relationship with.

Those who are about to become mentors after being mentees should always keep in mind the important pieces of advice they once received from their mentors. Being a law mentee is about having the opportunity to observe, meet, and building long-lasting relationships. This happens because in the future you will want to share your skills, knowledge, and connections with those you are mentoring.

Becoming a mentor

Having said that, how do you make the transition from being a mentee to becoming a mentor? There are different answers to this question.

First, as a law mentee, you will have many mentors along your career. This will mean that you will know many attorneys and they will know you back. Having a nice background is highly important to become a successful attorney.

In many cases, a former mentee who is now a successful attorney will become a mentor by simply helping those individuals who just got out of law school. This way, the person who used to be a mentee will start to give hints, advice and pass knowledge to a new generation of attorneys who are eager to learn. This mentor – mentee relationship won’t be formally established but will help the mentee take the right path.

Another way for a former mentee to become a mentor is thanks to the law-student decision. It has been said that mentorship is a both-sided relationship. This is how many law-students or recently graduated lawyers look out for the type of mentor they want to have. After this research takes places, they will approach to their potential mentor to start a mentorship relationship.

When both the mentor and the mentee feel comfortable and find common ground to grow a mutually beneficial relationship, the mentoring process starts. However, this is not yet a formal mentoring relationship. It is an agreement between two people on the sharing of knowledge and experiences.

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The last way in which a former mentee can become a law mentor is by actually growing as an attorney. This will mean that the attorney will have a determinant background in the law practice. Also, it will mean that it is a successful and knowledgeable figure. When this happens, usually a law association spots the former mentee and offers it to become a mentor.

There are some associations in the United States who are dedicated to helping law-students become experienced and well-rounded professionals. These associations look for mentor candidates based on the student’s needs and want.

Bottom line, there is not only one way in which a law mentee could become a mentor. It is a process in which knowledge is gradually gained. It is also a new step that needs to be taken in order to help the new generations of attorneys to come be successful.

How To Boost Your Career By Mentoring

Mentoring is a practice that is becoming more commonplace today in companies that are successful and also care about the development and growth of their employees in both personal and professional fields. Here at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we have explored the many reasons mentorships benefit the individuals involved in the relationship directly and how the company is indirectly greatly enhanced as well by providing the space, guidance, and motivation to harness mentoring as a tool towards evolution.

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In your own career progression, we are sure you can recall the times when you had to learn about a process or find a way to deal with a situation and realized you were faced with learning opportunities. After that, you became aware when these situations repeated themselves and were able to act accordingly based on your own experiences or if you were lucky enough, according to the teachings you received from a coach or mentor you had. Lastly, there is a time in which you are faced with being able to pass your knowledge down to others.

Teachings are in itself a very rewarding experience, but are there other things that I can expect to receive when investing my time and energy as a mentor? Are there other ways to boost my career by participating as an active member in a mentoring program and lending my time towards helping mentees grow personally and professionally?

Teaching is learning

Teaching is a powerful tool that allows you truly gauge your understanding of how things work. People have a tendency to believe that they understand concepts better than they really do. Through teaching, you actually become aware of your understanding as you try to instruct others on procedures or ideas. When you show someone how to do something, you understand details that you may have overlooked before, and thus you gain a deeper understanding yourself and learn from your own instructions as a result.

Building bridges

Having a great relationship with colleagues and coworkers is something that greatly aids the progression of your career. This type of internal networking allows you to have a closer relationship with the people you share your work with and that way you can ensure that people are collaborating and looking out of each other. Mentoring is an excellent way to strengthen those bonds and to create new ones with incoming personnel that has just arrived at the company or who have started their progression through the ranks.

Seeing your worth

Mentoring helps you evaluate your own career advancement and gain perspective in how much you have accomplished. When you are a mentor, you can see how far you have gotten by sharing this time with people who is just getting started in their own profession. Being able to see how you can contribute to the advancement of others and how influential those contributions become is truly uplifting.

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Leadership development

As a mentor, you have to guide and oversee people from different backgrounds and with diverse sets of skills, something that will truly test the potential of your leadership and management skills. Everything about being a leader from the way you deal with adversity in the manner you communicate with others will be tested when you become a mentor. This type of practice will only make you a much more capable manager.

Learning new skills

Everyone you meet can teach you something new. In a mentor-mentee relationship, that statement rings as true as ever because both individuals are given a great opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other in a real-world environment. Do not underestimate how much you can receive from your mentees even when you are the one who is supposed to be mentoring because in most cases both of those terms are interchangeable.

The organization

When you help others become more competitive and advance in their careers, you are at the same time strengthening the organization and giving back to the profession. As a leader, you know that the accomplishment of the mission is just as important as the welfare of the members of the company when you mentor you are helping address both of these factors.

Talent retention

Talented individuals should be retained, and a company must do everything within their power for these people to not just stay in the organization, but to never feel like they have a reason to leave. Mentoring is one of the ways you can contribute to the creation of an environment that makes workers feel appreciated and valued by the company.

Seeing the bigger picture

Mentoring gives you the opportunity to gain perspective from different levels of the organization. Sometimes your own privilege as a senior employee blinds you from seeing the issues that other members must face. This insight is unique and extremely valuable and being in a mentoring relationship allows you to have direct access to that particular stream of information.

 

The Best Uses For Technology In Mentoring Inside Today’s Workplace

Today more than ever, technology is a present influence in every single aspect of our lives. We are using it to stay in touch with those who are far away, it helps us make our jobs a lot easier, we can entertain ourselves but also study, learn and have knowledge about the world we live in, available right at our fingertips.

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That ubiquitous nature of technology has made it so that we always try to find ways to fit it into all of our activities and figure out how we can enhance the way we interact with the things that surround us. When it comes to mentoring, the situation is no difference, as a matter of fact it becomes more than simply a choice that we may feel inclined to consider, it is something absolutely necessary in order to fully take advantage of the tools at our disposal and how we can use them to give mentoring a wider reach and a more effect application. Technology can affect mentoring at the personal level, meaning where the rubber meets the road and the mentor and mentee actually convene to look at realistic work plans to go about achieving their goals. New technological advances are also crucial when it comes to putting together a mentoring program for a company, as these important resources will shape the way the program works, how participants are matched and what sort of impact can be expected from being part of this initiative.

Convenience is one of the main factors that technology enhances and brings with it when involved in mentoring. Starting for example with the breakdown of geographical barriers, as mentor and mentee do not have to be in the same place in order to work together. The location is no longer a hindrance when it comes to finding a mentor, or even a group of mentors that can help someone achieve its goals and grow. Not having to stay in one place in order to receive guidance can help mentees use their time wisely and dedicate energy to their mentoring process that would otherwise be wasted with traveling, or by settling under the wing of one mentor that can only help them with one area of their process. The convenience of technology can allow you to have a coach that can help you find balance with the way you handle your personal affairs and creativity, while also giving you the chance of having a professional relationship with another mentor who aids you with career advancement within your own field of work.

Another great advantage that technology brings to the world of mentorships is the way that it has made communication between people so seamlessly. Constant communication between mentor and mentee is one of the cornerstones of a successful professional relationship and nothing has revolutionized the way we communicate like the new technologies. Today you can have video meetings on the go, send pictures, files, videos and audio files with a tool that you can both carry inside your pockets and that keeps you connected to the largest network in existence. Communication within the new technologies are erasing any type of issues that could have arisen in earlier times when planning how to maintain mentorships partners connected.

Reports, documents, and files pertaining the mentoring process can also be accessed by partners with a simple click through one of the many cloud services that make them editable by all parties involved and immediately update any changes made to them. Remember that having a well-placed system for gauging progress can sometimes be just as important as the progress itself

Training is another aspect that has changed so much and so quickly, that we can laugh today by thinking of our reactions if we were told 15 years ago, that you could find so much training, resources and research material online and that you could access all of it from your phone. Companies are understanding this and seeing the great benefits that it brings to their employees. E-learning paired with mentoring programs that are relevant and that take advantage of technology are great not just for the mentees, but also for mentors who in most cases, are people susceptible to continue using time-tested practices but tend to ignore technological breakthroughs that could exponentially enhance their own methods.

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Technology breaches the gap that sometimes appears when we talk about mentoring being a two-way street, as younger generations are better adapting to the changes innovation brings about and can contribute to the partnerships by coming up with strategies and ways to use those technologies to make the most out of the mentorship. Working together to find these strategies is an excellent exercise for participants and also a great way to adjust your mentorship to benefit all parties involved at the moment, and perhaps even those who will come afterwards.

For more great articles on mentoring and how you can make it work for you, check out our publications at Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog.

How To Set Up A Mentoring Program

The benefits that a mentoring program can offer your company are many and we have even covered them here before on Suzzanne Uhland’s blog. The importance of mentorship programs to employee career progress and advancement of company leadership is evident and an opportunity that every organization should seriously consider as a stepping-stone of its own success. One of the most alluring aspects of a mentorship program is the fact that is relatively free for the company because it utilizes resources the company already has in order to offer employees a training opportunity.

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So how should you go about it? What is the best way to get your mentoring program started in a way that will cause the most impact and positively motivate your employees to actively participate and proudly promote?

The very first thing to do when you are thinking about implementing a mentoring program in your company is to take the time to clearly define what is the exact purpose of the program. What specific benefit do you wish to achieve from creating the program and offering it to your team? Identifying the needs of your company is absolutely crucial to defining the goals of your program and tailoring those aims to answer the demands of the current status of the organization. A mentoring program cannot be created thinking it will be a one-size-fits-all solution for your company, instead, you should focus on a particular aspect and you will most likely see that other benefits will come as inevitable but welcomed side-effects. If you want to create a mentoring program to welcome new employees and help them get acquainted with the culture of the organization and their role in the company, you need to plan that strategy differently from that of a program geared towards conserving top talent or developing leadership skills from your potential future managers. A successful mentoring program should be planned with both flexibility and structure in order to give participants the clarity of goals to be achieved while at the same time cater to their specific individual mentoring needs.

Finding participants for the programs is the next logical step after the structure of it is set in place. It is obvious that the novelty of a mentoring program will create a lot of expectations and normally these initiatives are met with enthusiasm and curiosity. However, it is important to take advantage of this momentum and turn it into actual participation. Don’t believe for a second that simply being interested in the program means that possible participants are already aware of its benefits. One of the main reasons these programs seldom fail is due to lack of promotion, so putting in place a strategy to let team members learn about the existence of mentoring initiatives is just as important as actually educating them on the many benefits of participation. Stakeholders and key personnel at the top of the organization also need to be properly introduced to the concept of the program and its advantages.

Making the program attractive to mentors is also of high importance. In a way, mentors are the most valuable assets a mentoring program has, so you need to be focus on strategies that make participation attractive for them in such way that they are motivated to make time out of their busy schedule and dedicate it to mentoring interested individuals. Remember mentoring is a two-way street and those being guided are getting a benefit that is comparable to those that are given the opportunity to set an example and provide advice on someone else’s professional development; a commendable endeavor that can teach them a lot about their own skills and setbacks.

Matching participants is something else that requires planning, dedication and it can be considered one of the most challenging aspects of creating a mentoring program.

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Those interested in being part of a mentoring initiative will bring all kinds of backgrounds, skills, learning styles and individual needs that must be considered in order to provide them with the best environment for growth and also the best opportunity to give back. Instead of simply finding a way to dictate matching from high up the chain, it would be a lot more beneficial to allow for the process to be more organic by allowing mentees to have a say in the pairing process. Regardless of how you go about this, it is important to consider profiling participants and gathering enough information about them individually in order to best find strategies for matching to at least have a place to start. Sometimes people like to work with others whom they share interests with, graduated from the same alma matter or at least have similar views on some subjects.

In some cases, one mentor can be assigned to a group of individuals instead of simply pairing them with one single person, all of that depends on the organization and the desires of those involved with the program.

 

8 Ways Mentoring Can Benefit Your Company

A mentoring program in the workplace is a great tool to provide junior or new employees with guidance about the organization, their place within the market and their own professional future. By having a mentoring program, a company can benefit its members throughout all levels of the organizational structure, something that logically will help the company grow and become more competitive and efficient.  

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Here in Suzzanne Uhland’s Blog, we have talked about many aspects of the mentoring relationship and how it benefits both parties involved, but today we want to use the opportunity to focus more on the organization. Companies are the breeding grounds of mentoring relationships and being such, they are also greatly benefitted by promoting, sponsoring and encouraging the continuous utilization of this amazing business tool. Mentors, employees, organizations and the professions involved are all beneficiaries of the great work that can be accomplished through mentoring and that is why companies that employ this tool and take it seriously can see the difference compared to those that choose not to.

Employee Career Development

Everybody knows that employees that are educated and given the time and tools to worry about their own career development, will become even more valuable to the organization and will most likely choose to stay on board longer. It goes a long way to educate your workforce as they will become more efficient and at the same time understand how much the company cares about their own future. Mentoring is a way to continue the education of your employees and enhancing their value for the organization.

Lower Turnover

As we mentioned before, happy and educated employees will stay with the company. The reduction of turnover rate is not something that is affected only by the training of your employees, but also by many other factors that makes them feel valued within the company. Your mentors are key into the reduction of those turnover rates as their advice is crucial to their mentees and their help building the skills necessary to stay relevant and overcome possible professional frustration and adversity.

Development of Company Leadership

Mentees are undergoing valuable training that is turning them into the future leaders of your company. At the same time, your current leadership is polishing their skills and facing daily challenges provided by their participation in the mentoring program. These programs are one of the greatest ways to enhance leadership skills in the organization without having to go outside seeking that training.

Time Saving

Mentoring programs are great at saving time spent finding solutions to challenges and answers to concerns that may be raised by your workforce. Mentors are also great tools for training your new employees and thus reducing the time they have to spend in formal training when taking a more “on-the-job” approach. This way of training is great because it introduces the employees to the challenges of the real world instead of the possible scenarios they can find in a training classroom. The quality of mentoring doesn’t compare and it will prepare your people better for what they will have to face in the market.

Diversity

Mentoring is a great way to bring employees together to share their opinion, knowledge, and ideas in a way that is not as formal and that allows for a more comfortable platform for an exchange of that information. We all understand the immense importance of a workforce that is diverse and that is able to bring all of those skills together in order to enrich their work experience.

Perspective

Mentors and mentees can provide each other with a unique perspective about the way they approach challenges. These types of exchanges are extremely valuable for all parties involved, including the company itself. Think about the way mentees are able to see things from the perspective of your customers more often than employees that have been with the company for long. That type of insight can also be reserved when a person who has been with the organization for a long time, is able to teach their mentee how the goals of the company align with everyday operations.

Networking

Business mentors occupy their position because of all the hard work and experience they bring to the table. It is obvious that these types of people understand the business environment quite well and can help mentees find contacts with people who may be the solutions they are looking for in their own predicaments. Companies are greatly benefited by having employees who are well connected within the organization just as much as if they are also well connected externally.

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Someone To Talk To

Mentors are great people for mentees to vent about their own frustrations within the organization in a way they feel safe and that will give answers considering not just one side, but instead the entire spectrum of the issue. Mentoring partners always work together to find solutions, so giving that opportunity to your employees will save you the trouble of people leaving your company because they feel they do not have a place where to voice their concerns.