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Declining Employee Loyalty? Here are Your Cures.

by David Gee, staff writer on Staffing Talk

How do you keep employees for the long term and inspire them to be productive and do great work? By paying them more? Offering them the opportunity to work for an awesome brand? Providing really cool working conditions or lots of perks?

Maybe not, at least according to the results of a recent survey of companies with the highest amount of employee turnover.

Some places generally regarded as cool places to work such as Amazon and Google and casino operator Wynn Resorts made the list, as did Warren Buffett’s moneymaking machine Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

So what gives? The presence of at least a couple of those companies is no surprise really. Tech companies are constantly hiring software engineers, and in a hyper-competitive job market, said engineers are constantly getting offers to job jump for greener pastures.

Some of the organizations listed employ lots of sales people, another functional area with lots of traditional turnover.

The same is true for the service industry, accounting for the inclusion of a Las Vegas casino operator.

But Les McKeown, the President and CEO of Predictable Success, a leading advisor on accelerated business growth, says in this post there are other factors.

Below are the four key ways he says will ensure that your employees remain engaged and loyal, regardless of the size and type of your business:

  1. Good communication. Would you stay in a relationship with someone who rarely, if ever, communicated with you? Probably not. Nor will your employees.
  2. Consistency. Sometimes good employees leave for clearly defined, explicable reasons, but often they leave for reasons that even they find hard to articulate…Almost always at the heart of such a separation is something mundane: an undermining sense of disrespect caused by simple, but persistent, inconsistency in how they’ve been treated.
  3. The opportunity to do great work. No one worth their salt is going to hang around while you do everything important or exciting yourself, or play favorites with who gets to do the good stuff. Give people the opportunity to do great work.
  4. A decent, non-toxic manager. The rise of the now-ubiquitous ‘employee engagement survey’ has mostly happened because of the cowardice of most HR departments in dealing with a single, glaring issue: toxic managers (it’s easier and less politically dangerous, to conduct a survey and pretend to do something, than face down a cadre of entrenched bullies or incompetents).

Benedict Carey of The New York Times wrote in this piece that bully bosses actually enjoy making subordinates squirm and run for cover. Why do cruel bosses not only survive, but also thrive?

“What we’re finding,” said Dr. Calvin Morrill of Berkeley Law, and author of The Executive Way: Conflict Management in Corporations, “is that some of the behaviors that we think most protect us are what in fact allow the behavior to continue.”

There is a lot of truth to the ‘my boss sucks’ exit strategy though. It’s often said “Employees don’t quit their companies, they quit their bosses.”

A Gallup poll of more than a million employed U.S. workers concluded that the number one reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor.

What do you think of the list of key ways Les McKeown says will ensure that your employees remain engaged and loyal? Agree? Disagree? Would you add something or take something else away? Do you think companies hide behind employee engagement surveys or exit interviews, and then refuse to address the real issues they might highlight?