2014-02-14

Employee Retention & Other Myths




Over the past few months, I have come across this  business quote over and over again, on various social media channels.
While I was among those who applauded the apparent wit behind it and found myself relating to it, both as a business owner and as someone who spent 13 years in the corporate environment, I must admit I have grown tired of seeing it over and over. The reason is perhaps related to the fact that it oversimplifies the issue of employee retention while falling into abstract stereotypes of corporate roles. It is just too simplistic, too shallow as an assumption; so bear with me a bit here and allow me to dive more into what employees I would not want to retain and why.

Employees and managers come in all shapes and sizes and they walk into the corporate environment pre-molded by their education, their cultural background, their family upbringing, their past experiences in life and work and their own expectations for the future. For any setup, retaining an employee is a delicate balance between all these factors along with the mandatory needs of the business itself.
It is for this very reason that we can sometimes discover employees who stick around with the same employer for years without any getting human development benefits while others would walk away in spite of huge perks. So how to tell if your employee is a match for your leadership style and whether they are in it for the long run?
Here is my own personal list of things to watch for. I am not an HR expert and this list is based on my experience, my gut feeling and years of being disappointed by both employers and employees alike. Here are the people I would not want around me in my business environment:



  • The Acute Politeness: Exaggerated politeness is for me an immediate red flag. Email signatures with expressions like "Respectfully yours" and other sugar coatings are just someone who is trying to make themselves seem small and vulnerable enough so they get away with something way bigger, like stealing your client's website for example and reselling it to someone after a quick make-up job.
      
  • Buddy Buddy:
    Pretty much like the acute polite person, this one has no boundaries, they think that by cozying up to management folk, they can gain some sort of immunity to actually having to do the job they were hired for. It's an equal opportunity cross-gender syndrome, and those who fall for this tactic are way too many, unfortunately.
       
  • The Collector:
    If you ask to take on every project that passes under your nose or if you make a purpose of not missing a training and you act always like you are racing the clock to do as many things as possible, this will make me think you are just passing by the company and looking to gather as much momentum as you can before you leap onto your next stop.
       
  • The Office Decoration:
    If I can't tell you apart from the Dieffenbachia that's sitting next to your desk you might as well go find another place to work. People who succeed in staying that inconspicuous are in my book either not skilled enough and prefer to keep this under wraps or sneakily planning to do something you would never see coming.
       
  • Little Miss Precious:
    My use of the word "Miss" here is not directed towards women. This title is unisex. If you are too precious to move your sorry a..arm, arm...yes that's the word I was looking for, then you probably belong on a shelf, in a closet, in your parents' living room with all the rest of the kitsch collectibles they probably have lined up in there.
       
  • George Costanza: if you don't know who's that, google him. If you want to know why, watch this:


However, subordinates aren't always the ones to blame, even for managers and high level executives misconceptions rule and appearances can be deceiving:
The Marketing Manager is not always a show off , the CTO isn't always right, the HR Manager is not always nice, the CFO is not always stingy and the CEO is not always the champion.

Bottom line, no one is irreplaceable! Not the employee, not the manager and not the business, we all go our separate ways in life and try to find the perfect angle where our view of the world aligns with how we have grown comfortable seeing it. Go ahead, Instagram that!