When you should start to worry about your team leaving you...
Having a member of staff leave your business, particularly a high performer, can (but not always) have a detrimental effect on the outcome of your monthly business goals. Whether this is a highly successful salesperson who generates lots of revenue for the organisation or an extremely organised and thorough administrative staff member who makes paperwork and clerical tasks look easy, having somebody who you can rely upon day in and day out can leave a really hard hole to fill.
So how we do go about trying to stop this from happening? What can we do as business owners to prevent this? Is the onus on us to do something about it or do our staff need to just get on with it?
Unfortunately, there’s not one solid answer that will help. People leave businesses for several different reasons but when lots of people start leaving in a short space of time, something is usually going on that is acting as a catalyst.
I’m going to talk you through what some of these could be and will give you a good idea as to how to stop large masses of staff leaving the organisation at any one time.
We’re living in a digital age. If Covid has showed us anything, it’s that technology works better than we thought. Zoom/ Microsoft Teams/ Google Meets allows us to have face to face meetings virtually without ever having to leave the house.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still believe there’s nothing better than face to face interaction. It’s a great way to build better relationships. But that doesn’t mean that sometimes I want to travel into work every single day, particularly if I’m feeling a tad under the weather or if I’ve got a trip planned to one of my kid’s schools/ the doctors/ dentist/ gym.
Lots of staff want this flexibility and the ability to choose their working location. If you don’t need to travel into an office because you can physically do your job from the comfort of your own home, saving yourself money from travelling in the process, why wouldn’t you? Since Covid, more and more organisations are allowing their staff to work from home if they can do so successfully.
If you’re an organisation that isn’t, you need to seriously start thinking about why? If the answer is ‘I don’t trust my staff to work’ or ‘I’ll never know what they’re up to’, quite frankly, that’s your own trust and management issues. Regular one to ones and check ins with your team will soon determine whether they’re working or if they aren’t. And if they’re not working, you know there are processes to manage this. Where you have good, solid staff members who want to work in a hybrid scenario and aren’t allowed to, there’s only one thing they’re going to look to do. Leave and go to an organisation that will allow them the flexibility they desire.
So maybe it’s time to start thinking about your approach to hybrid working. It’s a benefit staff appreciate and most of the time, they’ll want to come in anyway because they miss the social interaction with others. But by allowing them the choice, you’re showing your willingness to benefit your team and their wellbeing.
Underpaid and Under-appreciated
Not everybody is motivated by the same motivator. Some people couldn’t give a flying hoot about their salary as long as they’re getting the praise from their managers and the just rewards of appreciation. Some people couldn’t care what their managers think as long as they’re getting the salary they deserve at the end of the month.
Every company will have budgets which are strict in the sense that if they’re broken, it could cause the collapse of an organisation. However if it’s a case of not increasing staff salaries because it’s going to cause a decreasing profit margin, then maybe this could be something to look at. Happy staff members mean better work being completed; the profit margin will look after itself if staff are performing to the top of their capabilities. I’m a genuine believer that by looking after your team, they’ll look after you. The happier the staff member is, the happier your clients will be which will mean more repeat business and recommendations.
Saying thank you every once and a while really isn’t a big ask either. We’re all human; we all have an innate desire to please other people and hearing the words ‘thank you’ and ‘you’ve done a good job’ really goes a long way. It still shocks me to know there are CEO’s and Directors out there that look at hierarchy as ‘them and us’. This is so outdated. It should be ‘We’ from the very begininning and nothing else.
There’s a quote I see probably once a week on LinkedIn that says ‘People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers’ and as much as I hate to say it, it’s true. You could have the best job in the world but if the person you report into is a massive dick and treats you like shit, you’re going to leave.
I’ve always made it a priority in any management role to be more than a manager to my staff. I’m not saying you need to be somebody’s friend and go to bingo with them on a Thursday evening (however you can do so if you wish), but be the arm around the shoulder when things aren’t going well; be the motivator as opposed to the dictator. Telling somebody what to do as opposed to showing somebody what to do is massively different and by rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in when the going gets tough, it really shows what type of leader you are. Because that’s what managers should be right? Leaders. Not dictators. Not do what I say and not as I do.
People will work their socks off for people they respect, and you earn respect by being respectful. Not treating them like a number and demanding results. If work and business is the only part of your conversation with your staff, you’re doing it wrong.
How can your staff relate to you in this type of relationship? You should show an interest in them. Ask them how their day is going. Do they want a drink? What’ve they got planned at the weekend? How are the family?
We’re all people – you, me, the homeless person on the street and the millionaire in the mansion up the road. We all need to eat, breathe, sleep and yes, be treated with respect.
To finalise, if you have a freefall of staff leave quickly, it’s more than likely going to be because of one of the above. Now it’s up to you to take the bull by the horns and figure out why.
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