20 Ways to Lose Employees
If you’re like most employers in today’s competitive market, you want to retain your star performers and motivate others to become more productive, eventually becoming stars themselves. But are you actually taking the steps to do so? Or are your organization’s and/or your managers’ practices actually serving to disengage your employees and encourage them to go to a competitor. Before we look at sure-fire ways to do the latter, let’s look at some statistics.
Always wanting to stay ahead of the curve, Canada is certainly aiming to do so in the realm of turnover. According to a 2018 LinkedIn survey, at 16% turnover, we currently rank fourth in the world (just a few small percentages away from stealing top place from France at 21%). While the research we reviewed didn’t indicate whether turnover was voluntary or not, a 2018 Mercer study showed an average of 20% turnover, broken down as 12% voluntary and 8% involuntary. Some of the top reasons cited for leaving included lack of advancement, training, fit and/or job satisfaction.
Yet another 2018 survey conducted by Neilson showed that of 2000 North Americans surveyed (50% Canadian and 50% American), nearly three quarters were currently looking for other work or would definitely consider leaving, if the opportunity was presented.
The cherry-on-top Gallup survey results (tracked over the last 17 years) indicate that about 50% of employees are not actively engaged, but rather show up just in time, watch the clock, do the absolute minimum and then leave on the dot. A further 20% are ‘actively disengaged’, in the sense that they’re at work in body, but generally not in mind. You can do the math from there: this leaves 30% of employees who are actively engaged, regularly producing high quality work and willing to go over and above. Now consider that in a separate study, Gallup found that 70% of employees indicate they’re only recognized once per year, if that. Let’s hope this 70% doesn’t include your star performers… need we say more?
If you want your organization to be part of the above statistics, here are some sure-fire ways to disengage your employees and help show them the door.
- Hire the wrong employees to begin with; while they may have the skills to do the job, be sure they’re not aligned with your values and culture
- Don’t show recognition or appreciation, particularly if it’s customized to them, or if they go over and above; or if you do, only do it once a year during your formal “go through the motions” performance review
- Let your inner control freak out and micro-manage constantly; never empower them or give them autonomy
- Don’t connect their roles to the broader goals of the company, or how their work impacts customers and the bottom line
- Keep them in the dark and don’t tell them about your direction or objectives
- Don’t allow them to grow, learn, and take on new responsibilities; keep them in the same role year after year without any challenge
- Discount any feedback or ideas they bring forward; and for fun, every once in a while make jokes about their ideas
- Always close your door and be clear that they’re inferior; treat them like children when you emerge from your office
- During meetings, assume the position of “talking head” and bore them to tears
- Play favourites with your team and make it obvious
- Only follow the minimum employment standards; and for goodness sake, never go above and beyond them!
- Don’t make expectations clear (make them guess!!) and/or make unreasonable expectations
- Let them get away with bad behaviour; why bother with consequences?
- Be consistently unavailable; don’t respond to emails or requests for conversations
- When you’re meeting with employees, check your email and phone regularly
- Don’t lead by example; arrive late, go home early, take long lunches
- Ensure that managers never walk their talk, nor be held accountable
- Distrust before trust; they need to earn it!!
- Don’t acknowledge their lives outside of the workplace, or give them flexibility
- Most importantly, NEVER allow your employees to have fun at work!
If you’re thinking that by doing the opposite of the above actions, you might in fact facilitate active engagement of your team and reverse the trends in the statistics we noted earlier, you’re absolutely right! It takes awareness, intentional action, training and accountability to engage employees–and your supervisors/managers must be the champions. Keeping in mind that employees typically leave managers (not jobs or companies), if as a leader/employer you want to attract, engage and ultimately retain the best, we suggest you start there.