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July 14, 2021

High Turnover? Here are 3 things you're doing wrong as a boss


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Tired of paperwork?

Let’s begin with this article with a hypothetical: You are a business owner or someone with a leadership position in your workplace, and you have noticed that in the past year, a large percentage of your workforce has either quit or been replaced. So you start asking yourself, what exactly could be going wrong?

Well here are 3 things you might be doing wrong as a boss that is causing your labor turnover levels to skyrocket. Without further ado, let's get started.

You are telling everyone what to do

Micromanagement is a management style where the manager or leader monitors their subordinates and team members extensively. This implies being fully involved in their work and limiting the workforce's innovation, independence, and input.

Related: A field service manager’s guide for modern leadership styles

More often than not, this harms the rate of participation and the work experience for your employees. A micromanaged team will likely feel suffocated in their work environment. Nobody will work well in a constantly tense environment with limited freedom. Micromanaging breeds distrust between you and your subordinates, which in turn results in excessive stress, frustration and eventually burnout for both you and your staff. It also makes you lose sight of the bigger picture because you too will be focused on the day-to-day.

It is understandable that as an employer or team leader, you would want to know if one of your workers is falling behind. However, micromanagement is not the answer. Measures such as effective time tracking of tasks and regularly scheduled performance evaluations can help you stay up to date on exactly how your staff is faring. 

In the words of Joe Apfelbaum, you need to “micromanage the process, not the people”. 

You may be unappreciative without even knowing it

This can be the case in a number of ways: 

Neglecting employee feedback

“Good leaders listen before they act. And the best leaders prioritize listening to their best people.”

Employee feedback is a valuable piece of information whose goal is to improve processes within a business. When employees share their opinions about a certain aspect of the business, it is best to listen to what they have to say. Whether the feedback is considered or not is an entirely different issue that only leadership can decide on. Nonetheless, acknowledging the employee's contribution builds trust and confidence in the workforce.

According to GALUP, Only three in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that at work their opinions seem to count.

Leadership can easily get caught up in the moment and forget the importance of employee feedback. We have all been subject to this, an employee approaches to discuss their opinion about a certain client, job or process within the business and we sit there observing but not listening. As a result, no action is ever taken and the employee feels as if the time he spent worrying about the business was a waste. These moments are usually the main drivers of high turnover within a company. What needs to be done in these scenarios? There is only one answer to this question: If you want people to feel like their opinions matter, you must always acknowledge and, whenever possible, show you have taken action based on their input. Do this and results will follow.

Poor compensation

Poor compensation or underpaying your employees can put you at a great disadvantage. Let us say, for instance, that you have one of the best architects in town working for you in your construction company, and it is revealed that the salary you have been paying them is considerably lower than what other architects in your town get paid. This will make it very easy for you to lose this exceedingly competent employee to another company that can offer them a higher and more appropriate wage.

Underpaying your workers is one of the easiest ways to make them feel unappreciated and unwilling to continue working for you.

Related: How to create a desirable compensation plan

Not being the best boss you can be

If you are not being the kind of boss that you would want to work for, then how do you expect your staff to be happy working for you? Negative interactions, lack of understanding, and zero show of empathy towards your workers is another quick way to make them feel ill at ease and unappreciated under your employment.

Your staff have been overworked

Research has established one thing: you do not want workaholics or overworked staff running your business. Staff that work for an excessive amount of hours in a week are not “overachievers”. They are overworked. And it should come as no surprise to you if such staff soon hand in their resignation letters.

Overworking, simply put, is unhealthy for anyone. It results in a person having a poor work/life balance and will cripple one’s availability to take advantage of opportunities for growth or development. Let’s face it. Everybody wants to get promoted and climb the ladder in their place of work. However, if a person is doing a ton of work in their office and still is not experiencing any vertical mobility, there is no way such an employee can be satisfied.

Now that we have established 3 major things that may be causing high employee dissatisfaction in your business, here’s what you should be doing to remedy the outrageous level of staff turnover that you have been experiencing:

Hire the right people: The best way to ensure employees do not leave you is to make sure you are hiring the right employees from the jump. Your job descriptions should be clear and concise- both to yourself and to the candidates. And then be absolutely sure the candidate is a fit not only for the job but also for your company culture.

Macro-manager: This is not to say that you need to always take a hands-off approach towards employee supervision. However, since you have been experiencing extreme staff turnover, you should minimize any excessive scrutiny of the work your staff are doing, and allow them to make use of their discretion more often.

A few advantages of macro-management include:

  • Higher job satisfaction.

  • Boosts the workforce's morale.

  • Enhances employee trust and loyalty.

  • Better employee engagement.

  • Builds a positive work environment.

Keep compensation and benefits current: Ensure that you are paying employees fair wages for their work (or better) and offer them competitive benefits.

Promote gratitude and other positive behaviors: Encourage prosocial behavior between you and your employees, and in the workplace as a whole. When people in a workplace are given the opportunity to connect with one another through expressions of appreciation and other positive behaviors such as acts of generosity, the workers will be healthier, happier, and less likely to jump ship any time soon.

Also, show your employees they are valued and appreciated by giving unique recognition to individuals or groups who have set themselves apart through their outstanding work. Be careful as this may foster a competitive spirit in the office, but maintaining positive relationships with all your staff will help to keep it healthy.

Pay attention to employee participation: It is paramount to ensure that all your staff is playing an active role in the day-to-day running of your business. Build a culture of engagement and inclusivity in your company by encouraging staff input, feedback, innovation, and autonomy.

Prioritize employee happiness: Start by building trust. Trust is a mutual emotion. Your subordinates will trust you only as much as you trust them. Therefore, you must drop any negative management styles that will obstruct an environment of trust in your company. 

Find ways to cultivate and nurture respect in your workplace and invest in your employees’ happiness by offering them good work incentives. All of these will pay off in the way of increased staff retention.

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