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7 reasons employees leave

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  • 1. Concentrated Knowledge™ for the Busy Executive • www.summary.com Vol. 27, No. 6 (2 parts), Part 2, June 2005 • Order # 27-15 HUMAN RELATIONS FILE: PERSONNEL/ ® How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It’s Too Late THE 7 HIDDEN REASONS EMPLOYEES By Leigh Branham LEAVE CONTENTS THE SUMMARY IN BRIEF The Process of Disengagement In The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, employee-retention expert Pages 2, 3 Leigh Branham knocks down the wall that separates employee from employer Reason #1: The Job or — and even management from senior leadership — in an effort to forge an Workplace Was Not as Expected open discussion on employee disengagement and what organizations need to Page 3 recognize and actively pursue in order to retain their best and brightest people. Reason #2: The Mismatch Using a voluminous amount of interview and survey data, Branham isolates Between Job and Person each reason, tells companies what to look for, and translates the needs and Page 4 desires of employers and employees into a common language, enabling compa- nies and their most valued human resources to better understand one another. Reason #3: Too Little Coaching and Feedback Page 5 What You’ll Learn In This Summary Reason #4: Too Few Growth and ✓ How companies and employees can better communicate their Advancement Opportunities expectations of one another. Pages 5, 6 ✓ The importance of finding the right people to fill the right positions at Reason #5: Feeling Devalued the right time. And Unrecognized ✓ Why coaching and feedback are critical to engagement and retention, Pages 6, 7 and how companies can form deeper relationships with their people. Reason #6: Stress From ✓ What the new career realities are in today’s business climate. Overwork and Work-Life ✓ Why some managers are hesitant to recognize employees, and what Imbalance senior leadership can do about it. Pages 7, 8 ✓ How to help employees maintain a consistent work-life balance and Reason #7: Loss of Trust and minimize their levels of job-related stress. Confidence in Senior Leaders ✓ How managers can regain the trust and confidence of their employees. Page 8 Published by Soundview Executive Book Summaries, P.O. Box 1053, Concordville, Pennsylvania 19331 USA © 2005 Soundview Executive Book Summaries • All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited.
  • 2. THE 7 HIDDEN REASONS EMPLOYEES LEAVE by Leigh Branham — THE COMPLETE SUMMARYThe Process of Disengagement Why They Leave Employee turnover is not an event — it is a process of Employees begin to disengage and think about leavingdisengagement that can take days, weeks, months or even when one or more of four fundamental human needs areyears until the actual decision to leave occurs. not being met. These needs are: There are several sequential and predictable steps that ● The need for trust. Expecting the company and man-can unfold in the employee’s journey from disengagement agement to deliver on its promises, to be honest and open into departure. These are: all communication with you, to invest in you, to treat you ● Start the new job with enthusiasm. fairly and to compensate you in a fair and timely manner. ● The need to have hope. Believing you will be able ● Question the decision to accept the job. ● Think seriously about quitting. to grow, develop your skills and have the opportunity for advancement or career progress. ● Try to change things. ● The need to feel a sense of worth. Feeling confi- ● Resolve to quit. dent that if you work hard, do your best, demonstrate ● Consider the cost of quitting. commitment and make meaningful contributions, you ● Passively seek another job. will be recognized and rewarded accordingly. ● Prepare to actively seek. ● The need to feel competent. Expecting you will be ● Actively seek. matched to a job that aligns with your talents and your ● Get new job offer. desire for a challenge. ● Quit to accept new job, quit without a job, or stay Hidden Reasons and Practical Actionsand disengage. People complain of poor management when what they Many managers are so busy or preoccupied that they want is good management. They complain of favoritismwouldn’t notice where their employees were in the con- when what they prefer is an even playing field. Alongtinuum if they wore signs around their necks that pro- the same line, in describing the seven main reasonsclaimed “Trying to Change Things!” or “Becoming Less employees leave, one comes ever closer to pinpointingEngaged Every Day!” Managers need to better under- what it will take to make employees want to stay withstand the signs of discontent before they lose their best an organization and be more fully engaged. Those sevenand brightest people. reasons are:The Deliberation Process (continued on page 3) There are two distinct periods in an employee’s The author: Leigh Branham is the author of Keepingthought process when he or she considers leaving a the People Who Keep You in Business and the foundercompany. The first period is the time between his or her and principal of the consulting firm Keeping the Peoplefirst thoughts of quitting and the subsequent decision to Inc. He is an authority on employee engagement and theleave, when disappointment and even bitterness can set best practices of organizations that continually boastin due to an array of possible circumstances. exceptional retention. The second period of the deliberation process is the Copyright © 2005 by Leigh Branham. Summarized bytime between the employee’s decision to leave and the permission of the publisher, AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, Newactual leaving. The chances of a manager gaining York, NY 10019. 238 pages, $24.95. ISBN 0-8144-0851-6.renewed commitment from an employee in this period Summary Copyright © 2005 by Soundview Executiveare not very good. This is why managers must keep Book Summaries. www.summary.com, 1-800-SUMMARY,their antennae up and be alert to the signs that an 1-610-558-9495.employee is just starting to disengage when there is stilltime to do something about it. For additional information on the author, go to: http://my.summary.com Published by Soundview Executive Book Summaries (ISSN 0747-2196), P.O. Box 1053, Concordville, PA Soundview19331 USA, a division of Concentrated Knowledge Corp. Published monthly. Subscriptions: $195 per year in the Executive Book Summaries®United States, Canada and Mexico, and $275 to all other countries. Periodicals postage paid at Concordville, PA andadditional offices. ROBERT SMITH – Contributing Editor Postmaster: Send address changes to Soundview, P.O. Box 1053, Concordville, PA 19331. Copyright © 2005 by DEBRA A. DEPRINZIO – Senior Graphic DesignerSoundview Executive Book Summaries. Available formats: Summaries are available in print, audio and electronic formats. To subscribe, CHRIS LAUER – Senior Editorcall us at 1-800-SUMMARY (610-558-9495 outside the United States and Canada), or order on the Internet at CHRISTOPHER G. MURRAY – Editor in Chiefwww.summary.com. Multiple-subscription discounts and corporate site licenses are also available. GEORGE Y. CLEMENT – Publisher2 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  • 3. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave — SUMMARYThe Process of Disengagement Matching Mutual Expectations(continued from page 2) The following practices have been found to signifi- ● The job or workplace was not as expected. cantly raise the probability of new hire success, satisfac- ● The mismatch between job and person. tion and longer-term retention: ● Too little coaching and feedback. ● Conduct realistic job previews with every job candi- ● Too few growth and advancement opportunities. date. With every potential hire, initiate a frank and open ● Feeling devalued and unrecognized. discussion of job activities, performance expectations, immediate work team, working conditions, rules, poli- ● Stress from overwork and work-life imbalance. cies, work culture, management style, the organization’s ● Loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders. ■ financial stability or other topics where surprises need to be minimized. If you lose candidates by divulging theReason #1: The Job or truth about the job or workplace, you probably would have lost them anyway shortly after hiring them.Workplace Was Not as ● Hire from a pool of temp-to-hire, adjunct staff,Expected interns and part-time workers. When workers come aboard on a contingency basis, they have a chance to Every day, new hires enter organizations with a wide experience the ups and downs of the job firsthandrange of illusions and unrealistic expectations. Some stay before they and the organization have made the commit-and adapt, some disengage and stay, and many disengage ment to a full-time relationship.and leave. At the root of their disenchantment is an expec- ● Hire from current employee referrals. Currenttation that was not met. In some cases, the employee’sexpectations may have been unrealistic, and in some employees tend to realistically describe the job andcases, they were not. When all is said and done, it doesn’t workplace to those they are referring. They have a vest-matter. Quite simply, unmet and unrealistic expectations ed interest in maintaining the friendship, and they areboth cost a business untold millions of dollars. You may generally motivated to minimize surprises.never see an exit survey with a checklist of reasons for Create Realistic Job Descriptionsleaving that includes the choice “unmet expectations,” but ● Create a realistic job description with a short list ofit may well be the number one reason employees leave. critical competencies. When a company’s list of “idealThe Psychological Contract candidate” competencies is too long, it unwittingly nar- Noted leadership expert and educator John Paul Kotter rows its pool of candidates. The company also lays theexplained misaligned expectations in terms of a “psycho- groundwork for another problem later on — that the newlogical contract.” He defined this as “an implicit contract hire will not be able to meet its performance expectations.between an individual and the organization which specifies ● Allow team members to interview candidates. Whenwhat each expects to give and receive from each other in a those who would work with the new hire as teammatesrelationship.” Matches and mismatches can occur based on are allowed to take part in the interviewing process, thethe four sets of expectations in this “hidden” contract. interview often more accurately reflects the needs and When an employee realizes that the employer cannot competencies of both parties. It also creates greatermeet a key expectation in the contract, there is often a “buy-in” from team members while sending them thefeeling of having been betrayed, as if a real contract has message that their opinions count.been broken in bad faith. This can become the “shock” Hire From Withinor turning point that begins the downward cycle toward ● Hire from your pool of current employees. Whendisengagement and departure. you hire from within, you take less risk of turnover, The more clearly an employee understands his or her because the inside candidate is already well versed inown expectations, the higher the probability of a match in the ways and expectations of the organization.expectations. Many new employees fresh out of college, ● Create a way for candidates to “sample” on-the-jobhowever, are only dimly aware of their needs and desires. experience. Many companies have begun using CD-That problem is compounded when the organization is also ROMs that simultaneously test the applicant’s aptitudenot clear about what it expects, which is often the case. for the position while also providing a glimpse of on- The psychological contract changes over time as the the-job realities.expectations of the employee and the organization change. ● Survey or interview new hires to find out how to mini-With each change in expectations, open communication mize new hire surprises in the future. Based on the feed-serves to keep both parties in alignment, or may lead to a back received from these, you can minimize misunder-mutual agreement to renegotiate or break the contract. standings and head off any potential disillusionment. ■ 3 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  • 4. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave — SUMMARY upgrading of talent. The best employers have a seri- Allstate’s Written ous, resolute mind-set about talent that begins with a fundamental belief that the organization’s future ‘Psychological Contract’ depends on getting and keeping the right people in the Some employers, such as Allstate Insurance Co., right jobs, and they leave little to chance when it comes have created formal statements outlining what to recruiting and interviewing. employee and employer can expect from each other. ● Follow a consistent and thorough talent forecast- They believe employee loyalty improves when the ing and success-factor analysis process. Before company and employees clearly know what is recruiting, your organization should engage in a talent expected. Among the expectations are: forecasting process based on key business objectives From Allstate to the employee: that drive talent needs. Focus your attention on pivotal ✓ Offer work that is meaningful and challenging. jobs that create the most value for the organization. ✓ Promote an environment that encourages open Understand what makes top performers successful in and constructive dialogue. those positions by assessing your best and brightest ✓ Advise the employee of performance through employees. Then, supplement your interviewing process regular feedback. by using the same assessments to screen job candidates. ● Cast a wide recruiting net to expand the universe ✓ Create learning opportunities through education and job assignments. of best-fit candidates. The larger the selection, the greater the chance you’ll get a good fit. Avoid imposing From the employee to Allstate: too many restrictions in terms of job requirements. You ✓ Perform at levels that significantly increase the can also expand the pool of candidates by changing the company’s ability to outperform the competition. job itself or by creatively considering new sources of ✓ Take on assignments critical to meeting busi- talent you’ve never before tapped. ness objectives. ● Follow a purposeful and rigorous interview ✓ Willingly listen to and act upon feedback. process. Train all hiring managers in behavioral inter- ✓ Take personal responsibility for each transac- viewing, in which candidates answer questions with sto- tion with customers and for fostering their trust. ries of how they handled a given situation in the past. You can also use multiple interviewers to get a well-roundedReason #2: The Mismatch view of a candidate. Always check several of the candi- dates’ references, without fail: It’s time well spent.Between Job and Person ● Track measures of hiring success. Track the quali- Research over the last 25 years has shown that 80 percent ty of hires, not just cost-per-hire, by quantifying theof workers feel they are not using their strengths on a daily qualitative aspects of each candidate.basis. When you consider it closely, though, it’s almost sur-prising that 20 percent of the working population does get Job Task Assignmentto use their strengths daily. The key missing ingredient in so Here are some practical tools and ideas that managersmany companies is management’s lack of passion for get- can use to assign tasks so that workers can be moreting the right people in the right jobs. Why is this so? engaged through the use of their motivated abilities: While many obstacles come to mind, the greatest of ● Conduct “entrance interviews” with all new hires.them all is a basic lack of understanding about the nature Meet with new hires during their first week on the jobof human talent. Some managers believe employees are with the specific purpose of uncovering their greatestinterchangeable parts to be moved into whatever slots strengths and talents.most need to be filled. Others believe skills and knowl- ● Work to enrich the jobs of all employees. Some jobsedge are more important than talent. Those two miscon- are more easily enriched than others, but it can be sur-ceptions often lead to short-term solutions that ignore the prisingly easy to make a significant impact withlong-term success that can result from focusing on prop- employees and increase retention.erly matching employee talent with appropriate jobs. ● Delegate tasks to challenge employees and enrichBest-Fit Selection Practices their jobs. Employees might not have the patience to “pay their dues,” but you can enrich their jobs and provide for Companies with strong reputations for selecting the them a more meaningful role in the future by delegatingright talent and keeping employees well matched with tasks you might not have considered before. ■their jobs seem to have certain best practices in com-mon. Here are five of them: For additional information on getting compliance vs. getting commitment, go to: http://my.summary.com ● Make a strong commitment to the continuous4 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  • 5. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave — SUMMARYReason #3: Too Little Five Steps for Successful CoachingCoaching and Feedback There are five essential steps in the process of Performance coaching and feedback are essential for being a successful coach:employees because they help employees answer four Step 1: Get the employee’s agreement that a prob-basic questions: lem exists. 1. Where are we going as a company? Step 2: Mutually discuss alternative solutions. 2. How are we going to get there? Step 3: Mutually agree on action to be taken to 3. How do you expect me to contribute? solve the problem. Step 4: Follow up to measure results. 4. How am I doing? Step 5: Reinforce any achievement when it occurs. The answers to these questions constitute much of what This process is focused on producing positivegives meaning to an employee’s efforts. Companies need behavior going forward, not for assigning blame orto give feedback and coaching to make sure that employ- motives for past behavior.ees’ efforts stay aligned with organizational goals and theexpectations of direct supervisors. This alignment is a ing feedback. Introduce “upward evaluation” systems —necessary precondition for employee engagement. allowing employees to give feedback for managers — and incorporate coaching and feedback competenciesHow to Coach and Give Feedback into the list of key competencies you require of all lead- The dynamics of manager-employee relationships are ers. The only way to ensure coaching practices andcomplex, but in the best-case scenarios, with a good faith mechanisms are working is to hold your managerseffort and the right approach to coaching, employees can accountable for making them work. ■be re-engaged. Consider implementing these practices: ● Provide intensive feedback and coaching to new hires. For additional information on emotionally intelligent leadership, go to: http://my.summary.comPlan how you want employees to spend their first week onthe job and spend time with them during that initial period.Discuss your performance expectations in detail, and askthe employee to draft a performance agreement that sum- Reason #4: Too Few Growth andmarizes his or her objectives. Make it clear that giving feed- Advancement Opportunitiesback is your responsibility and getting feedback is his or So much has changed in the worldwide business cli-her responsibility. You must both be proactive in your roles. mate and in the way businesses now operate that the ● Create a culture of continuous feedback and coaching. impact of those changes on the careers of individualsConduct informal, on-the-job feedback conversations with working in organizations needs to be acknowledged.your employees in addition to formal performance reviews. Downsizing has changed the loyalty contract between ● Train managers in performance coaching. Make employee and employer, and it has also heightened thesure your managers understand the five-step process for level of stress over job security. Focusing on short-term,successful coaching. (See sidebar on right.) bottom-line results has created pressure on management ● Make the performance management practice less con- to reduce costs and push workers to do more with less.trolling and more of a partnership. Most experts on per- Productivity gains have come at a cost — in reduced jobformance management systems report that companies satisfaction, stalled job creation and stagnant careers.achieve greatest overall satisfaction and effectiveness with A new career contract has not materialized in most orga-feedback systems in which managers and subordinates nizations, particularly ones that value control over autono-partner in handling performance issues, rather than having my and self-direction. Most employers of choice, however,managers simply perform annual HR exercises with vague communicate clearly that employees must take the initia-objectives that tie performance rank to pay scale. tive in their own career development. They also give their ● Terminate nonperformers when best efforts to coach people the tools and training needed to accomplish this,or reassign don’t pay off. Despite your best efforts to enabling them to be the best they possibly can be.coach nonperformers or change the nature of their jobassignments, sometimes it is simply best to let the How to Grow Employeesemployee go. All too often, other valued employees Here are the kinds of practices that serve to maintainknow when that time has come long before the manager a balanced approach to providing employees with thedoes, and failure for management to act can adversely growth and development opportunities they need to stay,impact the commitment of those valuable performers. and stay engaged: ● Hold managers accountable for coaching and giv- (continued on page 6) 5 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  • 6. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave — SUMMARYReason #4: Too Few Growth andAdvancement Opportunities AT&T Re-Engages(continued from page 5) ‘Plateaued’ Employees ● Provide self-assessment tools and career self-man- There will always be employees who reach aagement training for all employees. Many talented per- plateau and start looking for new challenges. AT&Tformers may not understand, cannot articulate and often re-engages and retains “plateaued” employees with aunderuse their greatest strengths. Organizations should program called Resource Link, which functions as anprovide workshops, software or other tools to aid in-house temporary service. Through this program,employees in increasing their self-awareness and employees with diverse management, technical orenhance their goal-setting efforts. professional skills “sell” their skills to different ● Offer career coaching tools and training for all man- departments for short-term assignments.agers. Provide company-sponsored training and tools to to be the best possible mentors for your employees.help managers to be better equipped to fulfill their respon- ● Keep the career development and performancesibilities as coaches. Some organizations even requestmanagers to use the same self-assessment tools available appraisal processes separate. Many companies haveto employees, enabling them to benefit from them as well. directed managers to have discussions with employees about career opportunities at the six-month interval ● Provide readily accessible information on career between annual performance reviews, separate from dis-paths and competency requirements. Give employees cussions of performance. This enables all involved toaccess to job descriptions, listings of competencies, and focus on career development, as opposed to job appraisal.educational requirements they will need to qualify forother positions within the company. Review All Talent Effectively ● Create alternatives to traditional career ladders. Do ● Build an effective talent review and succession man-not penalize top performers by forcing them to pursue agement process. Organizations must address the diffi-management positions as their only route to higher pay. culties in preparing leaders and talented professionalsCreate higher-level technical positions with increasing for organizational opportunities that might not yet exist.responsibility and commensurate pay. This includes the “B” players who form the backbone of ● Keep employees informed about the company’s your organization but are not necessarily on the leader-strategy, direction and talent need forecasts. Your best ship career track.people need to be kept informed about the company’s ● Maintain a strong commitment to employee train-evolving marketing and growth strategies, and the career ing. Don’t fear the possibility of training employees thatopportunities that will accompany them. then leave your company. Train your employees so they ● Build and maintain a fair and efficient internal job- can leave, or else they’ll leave. What if you don’t trainposting process. Do not rely on job-posting systems to them and they stay? ■let people know about new positions. Get the word outthrough career workshops and other, less formal ways. Reason #5: Feeling DevaluedHire From Within Whenever Possible ● Show a clear preference for hiring from within. And UnrecognizedConsistently pursue internal hiring as the first option, Everyone wants to feel important, yet many organiza-going outside the company only when no internal candi- tions manage to make their people feel quite the oppo-date is available. site. It could be seen as a lack of simple appreciation, or a greater focus put on making numbers, and not valuing ● Eliminate HR policies and management practices employees. Some employees might feel like a merethat block internal movement. Include wording in com- number — that no one in any kind of position abovepetency descriptions, performance reviews and the like them listens to them or even knows they exist, muchthat indicates that managers do not own the organiza- less work there. Managers who do show some apprecia-tion’s talent — the organization owns it. This will keep tion might not show it in a timely manner, or themanagers from “hoarding” your best performers and rewards given might have little if anything to do withblocking them from upward (or even lateral) movement. what the employees truly find valuable. ● Create a strong mentoring culture. Formal mentor-ing programs help increase opportunities for everyone, Reluctant Managementdevelop future leaders and enhance employee retention Managers might be reluctant to recognize employeesat all levels. Make mentoring one of the competencies for a number of reasons. Many of them might simplyfor which your managers are evaluated, then train them (continued on page 7)6 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®
  • 7. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave — SUMMARYReason #5: Feeling Devalued determined are more likely to be satisfied in their work.And Unrecognized ● Monitor the pay system to ensure fairness, efficien-(continued from page 6) cy, consistency and accuracy. Survey your people on the fairness and consistency of your pay system. Also, getnot know how — they came up in the company with managers to ask employees what recognition programssuperiors who took a laissez faire attitude toward recog- they would consider to be good incentives.nition (“If you don’t hear from me, you’re doing a goodjob”). Others might simply fail to pay enough attention Remember to Say ‘Thanks’to the performance of their people to know when some- ● Create a culture of informal recognition founded onthing worth recognizing has been done. sincere appreciation. Say “thanks” to your people for Others have crises of confidence — they don’t know their efforts and find different ways to recognize themenough about an employee’s job to know the difference (a free lunch, a half day off, a gift, etc.).between average and superior performance. They might ● Make new hires feel welcome and important. Letbelieve they will be perceived as insincere or phony if new people see how your products are made, marketedthey praise people. Or, they are simply afraid to recognize and sold. Let them talk directly with customers to seesome and forget others. None of these are excusable, but it the impact the product has on those who use it. Letdoes help to understand the thought and/or emotional them sit in on sales calls. Provide them with testimoni-process behind the recognition decisions managers make. als and articles about your organization. ● Ask for employee input, then listen and respond.Pay Practices for Engagement and Retention Employees are hungry to be heard. You cannot afford not to Here are some of the best pay practices that many seek, listen to and implement their ideas. Conduct regularpre-eminent employers have begun to embrace to better meetings and surveys to enable them to share their input.engage and retain their talent: Act on good suggestions, and give credit where it is due. ● Offer competitive base pay linked to value creation. ● Keep employees in the loop. Share information asThe need to provide increased value to customers has led soon as you can to avoid rumor-mongering in the ranks.many companies to link base pay more to value creation Share it face to face when possible.and less to rank or years of service. This results in somecompanies paying lower-ranked employees more than Tools Are Investmentstheir managers, if they are crucial to providing value. ● Give employees the right tools and resources. An ● Reward results with variable pay aligned with busi- organization might look to save money on software, hard-ness goals. Because of an increased focus on productivity, ware, furniture and equipment, but thinking of thesemany companies are turning to new pay practices that things as only costs is shortsighted. The right tools at therequire employees to put more of their pay at risk in right time are investments — not only in productivity, butexchange for greater rewards if the company achieves in sending a message to employees that they are worth it.business objectives. While some employees balk, the more ● Keep the physical environment fit to work in. Timemotivated among them tend to find the risk well worth it. and again, departing employees complain of cramped, ● Reward employees at a high enough level to moti- noisy, hot, cold, messy, dirty, obnoxious or unsafe work-vate higher performance. Variable pay awards to ing conditions. Ask yourself, “How would I like to workemployees should be higher when the bottom-line where my employees work?” If you can’t answer inimpact of their results is significant, when that result is positive terms, it’s high time to change things. ■difficult to achieve, when it takes longer to achieve, andwhen base pay is more at risk. Reason #6: Stress FromUse Cash Rewards for Immediate Recognition ● Use cash payouts for on-the-spot recognition. Overwork and Work-LifeReserve 1 to 2 percent of your base pay budget for cash Imbalancepayouts or lump-sum payments to recognize top per- It is sobering to consider all the things there are to beformers in the current time frame. These rewards have stressed about in the workplace — overwork, personalityterrific motivational power, particularly when given as conflicts, forced overtime, disorganized supervisors, gossip,quickly as possible following an achievement. harassment, prejudice and so many others. Workers get ● Involve employees and encourage two-way commu- stressed when they must sacrifice family time to work extranication when designing new pay systems. Let employ- hours, when they must deal with the insensitivity of someees in on the process behind your pay system — sur- co-workers, and when they really need a personal day butveys indicate that those who understand how their pay is (continued on page 8) Soundview Executive Book Summaries ® 7
  • 8. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave — SUMMARYReason #6: Stress From Overwork andWork-Life Imbalance Sweets and Sweet Vacations(continued from page 7) CDW Computer Centers give employees freecannot take one because their company does not offer them. Krispy Kreme doughnuts once a month and free Dairy Queen ice cream every Wednesday in the sum-These are the people who consistently work late, work mer. If the company meets sales goals, CDW offersthrough lunch, work through sickness, take work home and an “old-timer” benefit to anyone with three years ofexpress frustration in myriad unhealthy ways. service — a free trip for the employee and his or her Company leaders must determine whether their organiza- family anywhere in the continental United States.tion’s culture is unhealthy, or even toxic. When you forceworkers into choosing between having a life and a career, senior leaders to set the tone and the example.your organization has a toxic culture. Workers are not mere- This isn’t always easy, particularly when employeesly resources: They are people. You should be empowering already have a number of issues with their managers andthem, not attempting to control them. Address these things, leaders. They complain about a basic lack of trust andthis culture, or your employees will — by leaving. integrity in leadership. They might feel management isEngagement Practices to Avoid Imbalance out of touch with day-to-day reality. Or, they might feel that leaders are concerned only with their own greed, Employers of choice enable employees to maintain a and not with the needs and concerns of workers.life balance by doing the following: You can see these issues manifest themselves in the ● Initiate a culture of “giving before getting. Make the ” effort and conduct exhibited by the work force, in a lackfirst move in maintaining employee loyalty. If you demon- of enthusiasm in the workplace, and in the increasingstrate an initial willingness to trust your employees by giv- complaints and questions about policies and practices.ing valued services, they are likely to reciprocate in kind. You can see it in managers who begin to question the ● Tailor the “culture of giving” to the needs of key talent. decisions and actions of senior leaders, or even in activeMatch your benefits and work-life services to the needs of resistance to leader initiatives and change efforts.your people in the form of nontraditional work schedules,extra holidays or even simply comfortable office space. Practices That Inspire Trust and ConfidenceTreat them in such a way that they never want to leave. Here are three things leadership can do to combat ● Build a culture that values spontaneous acts of car- these impressions, to offset and reverse a loss of trust ining. Relieve employee stress and generate more loyalty senior leaders:by sending your people cards or gift certificates, creat- ● Inspire confidence in a clear vision, a workable planing weekly “rituals” (“Pizza Thursday,” for example) or and the competence to achieve it. One of the first require-simply providing a sympathetic ear when they need one. ments of trust is competence — people will only follow ● Build social connectedness and harmony among leaders they deem to be capable. Employees want toemployees. Part of the glue that binds people to workplaces know that the organization will be successful, and thatcomes from the relationships they form with other employ- they can be assured of their place in it, going forward.ees. Actively encourage these relationships by assigning You must be able to inspire that confidence, and maketeam projects, creating cross-functional teams, organizing decisions and directives that reinforce that confidence.group outings and allowing employees reasonable time for ● Back up words with actions. Do what you say youpersonal “hallway” or “water cooler” conversations. are going to do — there is no easier way to cut off ● Encourage fun in the workplace. Not everyone has employee cynicism and disengagement. For example,the same idea about what does and does not constitute don’t expound on how “people are our most importantfun, but most would recognize that fun activities asset” shortly before you slash the training budget.(planned or unplanned) can be highly effective stress- Don’t talk incessantly about quality, then push yourbusters. You want to keep employees from burning out, people to do their work in less time than it takes to do itparticularly in high-stress positions. ■ right. That is the stuff of Dilbert cartoons; it’s not the way great companies inspire and retain employees. ● Place your trust and confidence in your work force.Reason #7: Loss of Trust and Take the opportunity to engage and inspire your people byConfidence in Senior Leaders enacting policies that show you trust them. If you have an authoritarian, micromanaging style, get rid of it. When you Senior leaders are challenged with creating a cultureof trust and integrity that strengthens the bonds of give that kind of power away, you increase the collectiveemployee engagement. While this challenge is shared power of the organization to innovate and meet new chal-by all managers and employees, it is incumbent on lenges, thus enhancing your own power in the long run. ■8 Soundview Executive Book Summaries ®