Top 10 Ways to Guarantee Your Best People Will Quit

best people

Keeping your BEST people – the impact of company culture 

I recently came across the ‘Top 10 Ways to Guarantee Your Best People Will Quit’ written Mel Kleiman. He has kindly agreed to my reposting his list.

Before getting to that list, here are my own musings on this subject (and its relevance to Vancouver’s current employment picture) Mel’s list and contact details follow below.

There has been much speculation about what is going to happen to local talent when all of the American global tech giants have fully expanded into Vancouver – Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Salesforce, Twitter, Samsung, Imageworks, etc., etc. The media tells us the US won’t allow enough H-1B visas to support their hiring needs – hence, the move to Canada. The reality is that the feds are making it more challenging to process visas here, too.

hiring frenzyYes, we all know there will be a fast flurry and hiring frenzy accompanied by initial excitement and interest from top performing talent in every organization. Some of these people may be feeling like their salaries haven’t kept pace with the rest of the country or increased appropriately over the last few years. Some may feel they are being undercompensated for their contributions while those really exceptional people may feel under-utilized or overworked because they are carrying the load of much less talented people. The best of the best will be at greatest risk. This is not to suggest that the next 20% will also be vulnerable for a variety of reasons.

There are reports that suggest the lowest performing staff members are often the most engaged. These people are the ones recruiting their friends and neighbors to come on board. They rave about the company because, in their minds, it is a fair and undemanding workplace. We have all heard complaints from frustrated top performers that comprehend lower expectations and perceive that lower performers are lazy and sloughing off. Is this why they consider bolting? Or is it that they resent being paid the same wages?

In the nine to twelve months after the initial movement of people has started and the scramble to replace lost employees, what will the landscape look like? It has been suggested that we will see an migration of people from the front lined right up to management levels. The challenge of finding, training, and retaining excellent workers is never simply confined to specialized, high-tech, or high-finance industries.

Retain your BEST People – Look for your challenges & plan to remedy ASAP

leave jobKeeping your BEST on your time takes work. Time and time again it boils down to a combination of factors that may or may not be obvious on the surface of the business. Evaluating, recognizing and addressing these issues are always important but they are going to be even more critical over the next few months. Look for:

  • Weak leadership
  • Ineffective management
  • Toxic culture
  • Lack of recognition
  • Malignant individuals
  • Uninspiring or confusing organization vision and focus
  • Financial risk

It is time to really consider what can create an ideal workplace –  one that is built around a harmonious and respectful environment, where expectations are delivered clearly and feedback from both sides are communicated and understood. Many of the characteristics of a healthy company culture are recognized when the organization choose to:

  • Encourage the flow of information so employees know what’s really going on. They require knowledge to be successful in their jobs – particularly in volatile environments where it’s already difficult to keep everyone aligned and where workers at all levels are being asked to think more strategically, act more economically and put in extra time and effort
  • unclear communicationTap the full range of people’s knowledge and talents and does not confine them to traditional diversity categories
  • Invest in people and support their efforts to magnify their strengths and stretch their abilities. Ensure employees can become even stronger contributors
  • Acknowledge that people want to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves – and more than just producing financial results – they want their company to stand for something
  • Demonstrate how the daily work makes sense, has shared meaning and value
  • Put in place rules that people can believe in because, like families, all organizations need structure and boundaries

Jack Welsh, one of the world’s most respected and celebrated CEOs, has a very specific philosophy about employee management and engagement. He says:

  • Constantly praise and reward the top 20%
  • Provide proper coaching, mentoring, guidance and goal setting to motivate the 70% in the middle to move to the top
  • Replacing the bottom 10% obviously must be addressed immediately but first find out what are the reasons behind the poor performance

Leaders who are able to appropriately manage and motivate their people retain their best talent. Think of a ‘fit’ company as a modern and well-engineered means of transport – its purpose is to successfully deliver everyone and everything to the desired destination.

“Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”
~Jim Collins, author, Good to Great


Top 10 Ways to Guarantee Your Best People Will Quit

Mel Kleiman articleHere are 10 ways to guarantee that your best people will quit:

10. Treat everyone equally. This may sound good, but your employees are not equal. Some are worth more because they produce more results. The key is not to treat them equally, it is to treat them all fairly.

9.  Tolerate mediocrity. A-players don’t have to or want to play with a bunch of C-players.

8.  Have dumb rules. I did not say have no rules, I said don’t have dumb rules. Great employees want to have guidelines and direction, but they don’t want to have rules that get in the way of doing their jobs or that conflict with the values the company says are important.

7.  Don’t recognize outstanding performance and contributions. Remember Psychology 101 — Behavior you want repeated needs to be rewarded immediately.

6.  Don’t have any fun at work. Where’s the written rule that says work has to be serious? If you find it, rip it to shreds and stomp on it because the notion that work cannot be fun is actually counterproductive. The workplace should be fun. Find ways to make work and/or the work environment more relaxed and fun and you will have happy employees who look forward to coming to work each day.

5.  Don’t keep your people informed. You’ve got to communicate not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. If you don’t tell them, the rumor mill will.

4.  Micromanage. Tell them what you want done and how you want it done. Don’t tell them why it needs to be done and why their job is important. Don’t ask for their input on how it could be done better.

3.  Don’t develop an employee retention strategy. Employee retention deserves your attention every day. Make a list of the people you don’t want to lose and, next to each name, write down what you are doing or will do to ensure that person stays engaged and on board.

2.  Don’t do employee retention interviews. Wait until a great employee is walking out the door instead and conduct an exit interview to see what you could have done differently so they would not have gone out looking for another job.

1.  Make your onboarding program an exercise in tedium. Employees are most impressionable during the first 60 days on the job. Every bit of information gathered during this time will either reinforce your new hire’s “buying decision” (to take the job) or lead to “Hire’s Remorse.”

The biggest cause of “Hire’s Remorse” is the dreaded Employee Orientation/Training Program. Most are poorly organized, inefficient, and boring. How can you expect excellence from your new hires if your orientation program is a sloppy amalgamation of tedious paperwork, boring policies and procedures, and hours of regulations and red tape?

To reinforce their buying decision, get key management involved on the first day and make sure your orientation delivers and reinforces these three messages repeatedly:

  • You were carefully chosen and we’re glad you’re here;
  • You’re now part of a great organization;
  • This is why your job is so important.

This article was originally published in the April 2013 issue of Humetrics Hiring Hints newsletter

Mel photoMel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit.

Solving IT Search & Leadership Challenges

JKS Talent Network is an exclusive Priority Search Practice specialized in the recruitment of Mid-Management to Executive Level Talent. We yse a fresh perspective and a purposeful approach.

Contact by email or call Janis directly @ (604) 731-2073  

Why not subscribe to News & Views and you’ll never miss a blog posting?

Feel free to repost, retweet or forward this content.

Expect More Than a Recruiter with Talent Search Consultant Janis Strathearn