Did you know one of the main reasons people stay with a company is their boss? The other side of that coin is, they leave their company because of their boss. I remember a conversation I had with my niece a number of years ago. She was in her mid twenties working for a shipping company and her job was to schedule containers being shipped worldwide. She enjoyed what she was doing, but was looking for a job. I asked her why? She said the owner of the company was always yelling at people and using profanity. I remember suggesting to her that she could have a conversation with him and tell him this was really uncomfortable for her. She didn’t want to. Nor did she ever tell him the reason she left.
My niece has come into her own now and is able to tell a manager when something they are doing makes her uncomfortable. But I have to wonder how many people leave jobs because of the behavior of their managers? I am not talking about inappropriate comments or actions of a sexual nature which are abhorrent. Rather I am speaking of never having time for an employee, rudeness, language, raising one’s voice, etc. The sad part of this, is people leave and don’t say why. Some companies have exit interview policies. Even with exit interviews, as we have seen in the #metoo movement, people do speak up but those they speak to, for whatever reason did not bring the information to the appropriate people. Unconscious collusion? Fear of shooting the messenger?
Lacking the courage to speak up is a serious problem. I don’t know how we got to this point. Perhaps the fear that employees experienced about losing their jobs during the great recession 10 years ago. But, not speaking your voice is a serious problem. It creates lethargy, and passivity. Results in settling for complacency and mediocrity. Not speaking one’s truth breeds ineffectiveness not only at work. It’s like an ether that surrounds us wherever we go. . At its worse, it creates a costly “revolving door” syndrome in the workplace.
The financial outlay of hiring a new employee may appear to be less today than in the past because of technological advancements and online marketplaces. It takes time and money to hire a new employee. Time of the HR manager if there is one to write the job posting, read resumes and schedule appointments. Consider the time away from duties for other employees to interview prospective hires and sometimes fill in for them. This is lost productivity. Bringing someone onboard also takes time and energy. Training them, making them feel at home. There may not be a dollar sign associated with these costs-but they are costly. Some stats say 150% of the annual salary of the job.
What can you do? Put time aside each week to have coffee or a shake with an employee and ask them how they are doing. Invite a few people who work for you to have lunch with you together. At meetings acknowledge when you have learned something about yourself and your behavior. You begin to set a new tone for your organization. Let people see and experience your humanity. Breathe. Watch your breathing. Allow your breath to go down to your belly. Allow yourself the luxury of a good belly laugh perhaps at yourself.