As a leader, it's your job to ensure that employees have the resources, support, and confidence they need to thrive in their roles and the company as a whole. So even if you're paying competitive salaries and perform quarterly reviews, you may be scratching your head as to why yet another staff member has submitted their resignation.
An employee that quits was likely disengaged long before they handed in their notice. And to make matters worse, there are likely many others who will soon follow suit. Negativity can spread like wildfire, destroying company morale and any hope of a solid culture in its path. It's no wonder that employee retention is a continuous challenge for many leaders who are struggling to keep talent.
Yes, there are many reasons as to why an employee has decided to leave, and yes, some of those are out of your control. However, poor leadership is always the underlying culprit. So instead of pointing the finger, start looking inward and ask yourself: do you treat people like employees, or stakeholders?
There's a fundamental difference between the two. The first sees people as subordinates rather than equals. Leaders are guilty of this all the time, even though they may not even realize that their actions (or lack there of) are communicating a very clear distinction between employee and employer.
But when you view employees as stakeholders, there's a vital difference in how they perform. Not only do they view their jobs as an opportunity rather than an obligation, but they also feel invested in seeing the company succeed. Engaged employees collaborate more, complain less, and are proactive in their roles. In other words, they become the type of team you've always dreamed of for the company.
Unfortunately, you can't just circulate a company-wide email stating that you want employees to feel like owners and hope it sticks. You have to work for it, breathe it, and above all, lead with it.
It can be difficult for employees to feel like they have a stake in the company when they have no idea what the goals and intentions are. To stay united, you have to stay transparent. Share losses, gains, setback and wins. When they know where the company stands, you have a better chance that they'll stand with you.
Micromanaging communicates that you don't trust them. It creates those hierarchical roles, and reminds them that they're employees, not colleagues. Resist the urge to meddle and simply back off. Remember that you hired them for a reason, so let them do their job so you can do yours.
Keep Them Accountable
While you should never micro manage, you also don't want to completely desert them. There's a difference between intervening and checking-in. The best way to do this is by setting the expectations from the get-go. Before they start a project, let them know that you'll be sitting down to review their progress bi-weekly or monthly in order to offer support, resources, and feedback. This way they know they know in advance what their responsibilities are, and how you expect them to execute.
Allow for Mistakes
A leader understands that a successful employee works from a place of freedom, rather than fear. To instill a culture of ownership and cultivate innovation, mistakes are going to be apart of it. When they do happen (and they will), don't fix it for them. Let them solve the problem, that way they can learn what went wrong and how to avoid a similar fate in the future.
Say Thank You
If you want employees to feel like they have a direct impact on the success of the company (because they do!), then celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small they may be. Do this one-on-one, as well in front of their peers. This way you can sincerely let them know just how important they are to the team, and your staff will see that you value the work they're doing.