I recently ran into a friend of mine who works for a Fortune 500 company. He’s absolutely miserable, and while he’s been looking for another job, he’s been doing the absolute minimum he can to keep his boss off his back. He’s just marking time, and while he was running down the list of things he hates about his company, it occurred to me there’s something we can learn from my friend’s misery. Here are the things we need to be on our guard against, the ways in which we destroy employee loyalty.
- Demand 24/7 access. Your company is your baby, and it makes sense for you to work around the clock to nurture it. You can’t expect your staff to make the same commitment, though. We need downtime to rest and recharge, and pushing your staff to be available all the time will push them away.
- Require your employees to do work they hate. We all have unique skill sets, and if you’re forcing your staff to work outside their areas of expertise, not only are you not getting the most from them, but you’re also damaging company morale. Take the time to sort your staff into jobs they enjoy.
- Call your staff “human resources.” I just sat in on a meeting in which a guy lamented the fact that his company was “low on human inventory.” He’s a real gem, that guy, and he is probably clueless about why the company can’t recruit and retain great staff. I see that it’s because he treats people like numbers. If you value your staff, treat them like human beings.
- Require your staff to make the company part of their social life. Not only do you need to allow your staff to keep their private lives private, but you also should avoid the potential for inappropriate Facebook posts about your company. Don’t tell your staff you want to see them promoting your business on their personal social media.
- Blame the rules. You’re the boss. That means it’s up to you to make and adjust the rules as necessary. If you’re hiding behind rules you’ve made to explain your decisions, you’re missing an opportunity to earn staff loyalty by demonstrating your flexibility and changing rules to benefit both your staff and your business.
- Ask for feedback and ignore it. If you ask for input from your staff, you owe it to them to consider their suggestions. You needn’t implement everything an employee suggests, but you need to make it clear you value your staff’s input.
- Use money as the sole motivator. It is important to compensate your staff fairly, but there are a host of other benefits that can matter even more than money to your employees. If you focus on finding ways to challenge and reward your staff that have nothing to do with a dollar, you’ll learn just how effective fulfillment is when it comes to retaining good employees.
- Put your company ahead of your staff. If your employees feel like you care more about the bottom line than anything else, you’re liable to lose them at their first opportunity to jump ship. Make an effort to support your staff, and you’ll have ‘em for life.
Many times we push our staff away completely by accident. We think we’re doing the right thing for our business, but we end up making decisions that are penny wise and pound foolish. Take a step back and make sure you’re avoiding the common traps and strengthening your staff’s ties to your company.