If You Want to Improve Employee Satisfaction, Try This Controversial Practice
Sometimes employees need to find other opportunities to reach contentment.
Career dissatisfaction is something that we all struggle with from time to time. We’ve all had situations where we thought our lives would improve if we only had that one thing that was missing.
If you lead a team, there's a high chance that you’ve encountered difficult situations where an employee wasn't satisfied with how much they earned, their title or with an organizational change. When employees are discontent, their focus shifts from doing their job to worrying about themselves — and the quality of their work could suffer. How you address these scenarios will define you as a leader. Sometimes the discontentment is easily resolved with a raise or a promotion. Other times giving in to an employee’s feelings of dissatisfaction is a trap. Either way: The faster the situation is resolved, the better for you, the employee and the business.
Consider the practice of an annual interview with another company. Encourage each of your employees to interview with another company every single year. It may seem scary or unfamiliar, but the pros far outweigh the cons. Here are just three of the many ways this practice will amplify your leadership.
Strengthens commitment to cause
In Jim Collin’s Good to Great, he writes about getting the right people on the bus. He’s not only talking about competency in their work, but also their commitment to the organization’s mission. You should hire people because they believe in your company’s mission, and not just because they're proficient at a set of tasks. As obvious as that sounds, attachment to a company mission isn’t as sticky as leaders hope. When people’s desires and motivations change, they begin to wonder if the grass is greener at another company.
Asking your team to interview somewhere else can strengthen their commitment to you as a leader and the company’s mission. This practice says "I want what’s best for you, even if what’s best is achieved somewhere else." Exploring other options can be a good reminder that they have a great opportunity with a great leader at a great company. Sometimes, however, interviewing somewhere else helps the employee decide it's time to get off the bus. Maybe this creates short-term pain for you and the company, but in the long-run it’s always healthy. The best teams are full of people who want to play a small part in a larger mission.
Demonstrates you are for the person, not just the company
Let’s face it: At some point, all good people move on to bigger and better opportunities. That’s life and that’s leadership. Whether your employees decide to take another job or keep their seat on the bus, they'll certainly know that you care about them and their career. It says a lot about you as a leader when you openly encourage your employees to interview somewhere else.
Practice outside interviews and you'll have fewer people leave you because they know you care about them. When employees interview with other companies, they are comparing the potential of working with a new leader to working with you. You'll have an advantage over any new leader, because they know you want what's best for them and their career.
Adds clarity to discontent
After interviewing elsewhere, many employees will come back content and ready to get back on mission. They'll realize that maybe a 5% increase in pay isn’t the answer they are looking for, or that the promotion they thought they wanted comes at a price they weren’t willing to pay. Sometimes, they interview elsewhere and are offered an opportunity of a lifetime. That’s excellent news. After all, we care about our people and want what's best for them.
There's a saying that employees don’t leave companies, they leave leaders. There’s really no downside to asking your team to interview elsewhere. In this practice, they may discover the grass isn't always greener on the other side, and come back with a renewed sense of purpose.
Related: The Importance of Clarity
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor