I can’t believe he left! What was she thinking, it’s not gonna be any better there. You know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
These are some of the most popular reactions from companies who continue to lose key employees. And I stress the word “key” because mediocre employees never leave. Key employees, those defined as progressive thinkers, customer advocates, or challengers to the status quo will always have opportunities to go elsewhere. It’s the employers responsibility to create an environment that is so loved and appreciated that these folks never entertain leaving.
Okay, some reading this may say, “wait a minute, it’s not my job to make people love their job, after all I’m already paying them and that’s where my responsibility ends.” To you I say think again. Leave your “you’re lucky to be employed” feelings at the door. Look around you. Today’s top employers are winning by providing employees with work that is meaningful, purposeful and an environment that is respectful and fun. No it’s not just about having fun, but that’s a necessary ingredient that can’t be ignored. Like leaving brown sugar out of your chocolate chip cookies, fun left out of the work environment will lead to work that’s bland, boring, and even bogus.
In a recent Forbes article on the things make a company great to work for, the number one ingredient for a great place to work was a strong culture. People spend more time and energy working to improve and succeed in a place where they are challenged, supported, and trusted. When you work for a company that micro manages, does not promote professional development, and reserves decision-making just for the company gods, you’re likely to end up with a workforce that’s numb, unengaged, and just looking to get through another day. Meaningful work simply cannot be done in this type of environment.
So to the managers and business owners running your companies as if you’re the only one(s) with ideas, it’s time to open your eyes. Stop running and start leading. Stop micromanaging and start providing opportunities for people to make decisions. And perhaps most importantly, especially for those entrepreneurs that started their business, stop thinking everyone is out to get you. While some people subscribe to the belief that paranoia is something every business person should have, I believe that paranoia should be reserved for your competitors. Be paranoid that your competitors are out to get you because they are. But don’t be paranoid that your employees are plotting to take you down. Trust them. Trust is one of the most powerful gifts a leader can give his or her people. Trust empowers, and empowered employees make for remarkable results.