I’ve done some recruiting during my career, and the first thing I ask an applicant is, “Which company did you work for before, and why did you leave?” Money only rises to the number 4 or 5 reason for leaving a job. Things that come to the top of the list are:
Lack of managerial support
I want to do a good job but the managers either do not support what I do, or they get in the way.
Lack of control over my environment
I have some great ideas on how to improve things around here, but I do not have the authority to change anything.
I don’t know where I stand
I work hard and try to do my best, but I do not get any feedback about my performance specifically about how I can improve and contribute more.
Lack of Recognition
I never get recognized for doing something well. We can all use some positive stroking once in a while. I know I do because it makes me feel good.
What the employee is saying is, “I want to do a good job. You are not allowing me to do a good job here, so I am going to do a good job somewhere else.”
Do you have a business that suffers from high turnover, low employee morale, and low productivity? Do you feel that nobody wants to work, and therefore you cannot obtain and retain employees that perform well and stick around? When you point your finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you!
I know it’s humbling, but you must first accept that you are the root of the problem. Perhaps you do not provide your employees a proper work environment that nurtures their spirit and allows them to feel good about the job they are doing. Maybe you think you must do everything yourself. This trap can be escaped, but you must change the way you perceive the role your employees play within the organization. They must be considered and treated as valued contributing members of the group.
Simple steps to follow are:
- Sit down and map out your organization according to functionality and place a person in charge and responsible for that specific area. I find it best to start out with what I call the “three-legged stool.” The legs consist of Accounting and Administration, Sales and Marketing, and Operations. From there other possible functions to include could also be Quality Control, Research & Development, Shipping, Estimating, Project Management, Purchasing, or Inventory Control. Each company is different, and there is no right or wrong. The key element is to isolate each group with a “team leader” of ideally 4 to 7 employees in the group. According to Hans Selye, a Hungarian endocrinologist known for his studies of the effects of stress on the human body, a group tends to become less efficient with less than 4 or more than seven members. It’s only human nature and the way we work best with each other.
- Create a list of the areas of responsibilities for each “team leader” or manager, what the position will be accountable for, and how they will be held responsible. We want to empower the leaders to make many of the day-to-day operational decisions that affect the employees in their group. Be specific.
- Announce the changes to the employees. A group meeting would be best and answer any questions they may have by saying you are improving their work environment, providing them more support to make their jobs more efficient and effective, and improving communications for them to be more productive. This message goes a long way toward reinforcing the changes that are in their best interest.
- Set goals and objectives for the groups that are of benefit to the company for cash flow, generating revenue, or cutting costs. Some easy targets could be attaining $12,000 in invoicing daily for the Sales Department, managerial reports ready by the 8th of each month for the Accounting Department, or inventory levels not to exceed $2,500,000 for the Inventory Manager. Quantitative goals work best since they are easily measurable. Track these goals with periodic updates utilizing graphs in a location everyone can monitor.
Next, have these managers meet once a week in what I call an “Actioneering Meeting.” They meet once a week to identify, prioritize, and set forth actions towards solving selected issues. Meetings only last 15 to 20 minutes with a specific agenda:
10 minutes follow-up on last weeks designated responses (brief and to the point)
5 minutes next week’s problem to solve and actions to be taken (who, what, when, where)
It’s amazing what getting your people involved positively does to the morale, work environment, and tempo of the organization. Make it exciting to come to work again. Attend these meetings but only as a casual observer. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: