By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
Employee retention is a huge topic that simply can’t be discussed in a meaningful way in such a short digital space. There are an infinite number of variables that contribute to a person’s professional contentment and it is simply impossible to legislate against personal preferences. Having said that, many companies appear to have trouble identifying the reasons why employee dissatisfaction is so high.
I am sure we can all agree that high staff turnover is extremely costly – recruiting and onboarding are expensive and the lost productivity can lead to major delays on projects. However, many companies still ignore these facts when confronted with the decision of having to let someone go. Employers are often guilty of failing to look inwards when faced with an underperforming resource and almost always assume that the failing is strictly on the part of the employee. Such ignorance can be a leading cause for high employee turnover and costly talent loss. Here are some ways to help stop the bleeding:
Most managers recoil in horror when confronted with the idea of having to deliver a performance review. And, in all fairness, I am sure most employees patiently sit through them only because the prospect of a raise may be in the offering. Despite these negative perceptions, there is a great deal of value to be found in a performance review if it is performed often and well. Having frequent touch points with your staff can be invaluable as they provide a structured and formal mechanism to follow-up on areas of focus or concern. There should never be any surprises during a performance review as both parties should be very involved with one another.
A major component of any performance review should be receiving feedback from employees. Personally, I have been involved in countless performance reviews throughout my career and I have rarely been asked for any in-depth feedback with regards to my work, company, boss etc. While things are certainly evolving and companies are rapidly waking up to the fact that the digital age has brought upon a much more equitable balance between employer and employee, many companies have yet to embrace this new way of thinking. Without knowing about the realities of your employees’ work lives, it is impossible to make any improvements. Motivating employees has become a far more complex proposition in recent times and opening up the dialogue is the first step towards any conflict resolution.
We have all worked with that one person who has fully checked out and does the bare minimum to simply not get fired. Most managers probably dream of the day that they can fire this person and bring in someone hungry who can perform the job with greater passion. But is this the right way of thinking? Clearly, this person has the talent to succeed in the position but is simply not being challenged or engaged enough to provide the energy that is lacking. Providing the right framework around this person to encourage success should be the employer’s main focus. Planning a costly recruiting cycle may be the kneejerk reaction but there are far more effective and inexpensive solutions to this problem.
As a long-time manager and former small business owner, I have had to make some very difficult staffing decisions over the years. And each time I have been confronted with such a decision, I always ask myself a simple question: “is this the right move for the business?” Often, we can get caught up in personal issues or misinterpret other people’s actions that can impact our decisions. Of course, we are all human and unable to fully detach our personalities from our jobs, but anyone making important decisions on behalf of a business needs to be as objective as possible. Yes, Jim in Accounting may be curt and somewhat anti-social but does that impact his work and his value to the company? Just because you may conflict with someone at work or disagree with their approach to their work, you need to determine if their behaviour is detrimental to the business or simply something that bothers you personally.
This may sound like total corporate speak but all managers need to be able to actually manage their staff. The point of being a manager isn’t simply to pass down work and make sure people are arriving to work on time. There is a great responsibility bestowed upon you to engage, motivate and help your subordinates succeed in their jobs. If an employee does not feel that their work (and, to a higher degree, their career) is being properly stewarded, they are surely going to look elsewhere. No matter where you are in your career, you can always use the help and encouragement of someone else who may have the experience or knowledge that you are lacking. So, before passing judgement on Jim, take a look at what you can do to ensure that you aren’t spending the next 3 months with a big hole in Accounting.