All businesses experience turnover, and how you deal with that turnover says a lot about your attitude, your values, your willingness to learn.
It also says a lot about your future potential for attracting new employees.
Do you have a culture of turnover?
Plenty of employers who clearly have morale issues do little or nothing to uncover the cause of the problem. Or, if they do find the source, they choose to do nothing about it. Then, when employees leave, these employers are somehow surprised. And angry.
They get mad at employees for deserting them, being disloyal, or “using” them as a stepping stone to a better job. In their minds, the anger is justified. And the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the departed employee.
The final step in this dysfunctional cycle is vilifying the former employee to anyone who will listen. “He wasn’t very good at his job. She was a poor performer, anyway. They were bad for the team. Don’t know that person got hired in the first place.”
For frustrated supervisors and managers, bad-mouthing their former employees might feel good for a few minutes. It might even make them feel like they aren’t part of the problem. But it certainly won’t help these organizations solve their long-term turnover issues. In fact, it will do just the opposite.
When a leader takes to badmouthing staff who choose to leave, it can have a major effect on employee morale, and not in a good way. If engagement was already on a downhill slide, this negativity could very well send it into an all-out free fall.
Who needs who?
Sometimes, employers like to think that their employees need them, or that they are doing their staff a huge favor by simply employing them. Internally, this helps justify treating their employees any way they want, regardless of fairness or compassion. It can also justify feeling betrayed when they leave, and speaking poorly of them after they’re gone.
What these kinds of leaders are missing is that this behavior is stunting their future success.
Who wants to recruit a friend or recommend a peer to work at a company where she’ll be bad-mouthed and considered incompetent if and when she chooses to leave? And if the employer is saying those things about former employees, what are they saying about current employees? Word gets around in these situations. Company reputations can easily be created (or destroyed) and talented people will stay far away from this kind of treatment and drama.
The truth of the matter is that you need your employees.
Without them, your organization can’t run. You can’t accomplish your goals, make your numbers, or experience growth. Heck, you might not even be able to keep your doors open.
Employers are not entitled to employees
If an employer really wants to keep their employees on staff, have employees who are genuinely interested in helping the company grow more successful, and become a magnet for talented people, they need to start by realizing they’re not entitled to any of those things.
Building this kind of culture requires creating an environment where people are:
- Valued for their contributions
- Acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts
- Asked for their opinions, ideas, and participation
- Respected as people and not just units of production
If these things aren’t happening in your organization, your turnover issues will never be resolved.
Learn from the churn
Sure it’s easy to put the blame on “bad” employees who leave and call it a day. But if you never explore the root causes of your turnover, you’ll never be able to improve it.
If you’ve got people walking out the door on a regular basis, it’s time to do some digging. Ask your remaining staff members what they like about working at your organization— and what they don’t. Make your survey quick, easy, and anonymous. And then be open to hearing the truth. Not only will you learn the real reasons people are leaving, you’ll also learn where you can improve as a leader and as a company.
Instead of using your voice to diminish your employees, use their voices to make your business a better place to work.
At Raffa Financial, we provide long-lasting benefits strategies to take care of your business and your employees. Located in Rockville, Maryland, we identify and manage complex employee benefits challenges for businesses all over the greater Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC area.
Photo by Alexander Pokusay