Bestselling author Ken Blanchard mentioned in his book, “Heart of a Leader”, that each person has different motivations for the work they do or to stay in a job they are in. Some are motivated by the financial reward, others by the work environment, still others by the relationships they have nurtured. A sense of fulfillment, a challenge for doing a specific work or the sheer love for a job may also serve as motivating drive for some. Thus, a leader also advises managers that they should know what motivates their best employees if they want to make them stay loyal to the company for a long time. Out of these different motivations, an employee’s relationship with his/her manager is one of the biggest reasons why employees leave or remains stick to their jobs. Therefore, if you are a manager and find that employees, especially your best ones, are leaving your company, you have to evaluate your actions as a manager too, instead of just putting the blame on employees most of the time. When it comes to mistakes, here are 11 common ones that managers commit that drive their best people away.
You Overwork Your Staff
There is a reason why 40 hours a week is the average working time of most companies. Research by an expert team from Stanford reveals that a person’s productivity declines after putting in more than 50 hours of work every week. Moreover, working more than 55 hours every week becomes even more counterproductive as productivity drops much lower. No matter how talented your employees are, if they have more than they can handle, they will get burnout. It can also make your employees feel like they are workhorses being punished, especially if they cannot see any reward or benefit from doing so.
If there is a need to put in more hours, promote employees or increase their salaries. There cannot be anything more motivating for an employee than to be recognized for the hard work he/she has done. Moreover, a motivated employee is always willing to contribute more for the good of the company, even putting much longer hours when necessary.
You Don't Care About Them
One of the biggest drives for employees to stay put in a company is a great working relationship with their co-workers and, most especially, with their bosses. More often than not, a lot of people leave their jobs because they cannot endure their managers. On the other hand, a good employer knows how to show that he/she cares for the employees without compromising their professional relationship. What separates good bosses from the bad is empathy. A good manager knows how to empathize with his/her people by celebrating their successes, understanding the tough times they are going through whether at work or home, and always challenging them to reach their full potential, no matter what happens. Your people will see if you genuinely care for them. When they do, you have earned their trust and loyalty. If your people think that all you care about is the output and the production yield, it won’t be long before they start packing their bags and leave you.
You Break Your Promises
“Promises may fit the friends, but non-performance will turn them into enemies.” These are the wise words of Benjamin Franklin and do not only apply to friendships but any relationship. Nothing is so big a deal breaker than a broken promise. When you break a promise, you also break that person’s faith and trust in you. If you honor your word, you earn your employees’ trust and respect because you have proven yourself to be a trustworthy and honorable leader. Moreover, if you don’t honor commitments, you are sending the wrong message to them — if my boss doesn’t accept his word, why should I?
You Hire And Promote The Wrong People
A talented person does not necessarily mean that he or she is a good fit for the company. However, a lot of managers get blinded with talent and achievements and forget to assess whether the prospective employee is a good fit for the company’s culture and value, before hiring them. If people do not share the same value and culture, it is hard to build rapport and it will make the work more difficult. Worse than hiring the wrong people is promoting the wrong person for a position. Another great spoiler of your zeal is seeing someone who doesn’t deserve the promotion pass you by on his way to the top. If such is the practice in your company, don’t be surprised if you see massive turnover.
You Don’t Allow Them To Pursue Their Passion
Studies have shown that people who can pursue their passion at work are five times more productive than someone who has no passion at all. How can you help your people pursue their passion? By allowing them to get curious and find a solution instead of telling them what to do. It does not mean letting them do whatever they want to do but allowing them to contribute using their ideas and solutions.
You Don’t Challenge Them
Have you ever imagined doing the same thing for 20 years and so you can even do it with eyes closed? The picture that comes to mind when you think about the scenario is that of a heavy, tired person, who has ceased to become productive and efficient. Challenges and difficulties are a must in our lives. They make us feel alive and push us to grow. It might look tempting to imagine a life without hardships, but you will soon find out how boring it is if the same thing happens again and again.
Now, take a look at your employees. Have they become less productive and inefficient over the years? If so, they are most probably bored and unmotivated. How do you get them out of this rut and make them feel alive again? Challenge them and give them feedback regarding their performances. Once they know where they are, they will know what to do.
You Fail To Develop Their Skills
Providing training to your employees to nurture and develop their abilities makes them feel that you want them to be successful. It conveys the message that the company is also concerned about their personal growth. Aside from training, allowing them to take on new challenges stimulates their creative and innovative mind. When employees are free to explore solutions and new methods, they will become more involved. Consequently, if they are involved, they won’t leave.
You Love To Micromanage Them
Micro-managing is a sign of distrust. When you constantly nag your employees about what to do and insist on what you want, it will tire your employees, and you will soon find yourself running the whole show ALONE. It is understandable that, as a business owner, you’ll be concerned how your company is performing and you will often be tempted to tell your people what to do and how to do it. However, remember the reason why you hired them in the first place. You placed them there because you know they have the talent and the skills for that particular area. If you remove that right by micro-managing them, you are killing that creativity and enthusiasm.
You Subject Them To Unnecessary Meetings
What else kills productivity other than having long, pointless meetings? Unless the matter is urgent, use email or chat to tell your employees what you want to convey. Useless meetings bore employees who would rather finish what they’re doing. You don’t give them the big picture all the time. If your employees do not know where they are going, it’s like a soccer team running in different directions. What will happen? You lose. Worse, they will quit because they will get tired of running around in circles. It’s the same thing if you don’t share what your goals are with them. On the other hand, if you tell them where you want to see the company going and ask them to contribute, they will feel much more valued.
You Don’t Do Your Share Of The Workload
Everyone hates the boss who goes home early while he forces his employees to stay and work late. It’s true that there are unpleasant and tiresome jobs that need to be accomplished, but if your employees see that you don’t do your share of the workload, they will resent you for that and quit.
You Don’t Praise Them Properly
Praise is a short action that produces lasting effects if done consistently and regularly. Praise increases a person’s confidence, self-esteem, pleasure and pride. Studies have revealed that when a person feels appreciated and recognized, the brain releases dopamine, the hormone that is responsible for controlling the reward and pleasure center of the brain. Dopamine is also known to unleash creative and innovative thoughts.
According to a survey conducted by the Gallup Organization, which involved 4 million people, employees who regularly receive praise and recognition were more engaged, more productive and more likely to be loyal to their companies.
Bringing It All Together
If you don’t want people to leave you and your company, consider the points discussed above and evaluate how you treat your employees. Your best employees might stick around for a while, but their talents will allow them to find different options. What can you do to gain their loyalty in the long term?