While certainly longer than the 10 days from the movie, did you know that your employees will decide in just a short 45 days if your organization—your team—is right for them? And sadly, more than 20 percent usually decide it’s not. In this article, we’re sharing how to to lose an employee in the hopes that you don’t!
Spoiler alert: Don’t worry, this isn’t a how to lose an employee article…we also give you 3 ways to save an employee in 45 days if you keep reading.
In most cases, the number one reason a team member leaves is because of the manager-employee relationship. In fact, a GoodHire survey found that 82 percent of workers would quit a job because of a bad manager or friction with their boss. When you factor in the loss of productivity your team experiences when they leave, the gut punch to morale, and the time you invested in finding your new hire—which is often double the amount of time they actually spent on the job…we’re talking upwards of a 90 to 120-day hiring process—it’s really expensive and painful to lose new employees, or any employee, to issues like this. So here’s how to lose an employee fast.
Here’s How to Lose an Employee Quickly
Play hard to get…
As a people leader, your job is hard. You’re both a strategic leader and have to balance the day-to-day tasks and goals for yourself and your team members. Most of your day is consumed with 1:1s, team meetings, project-specific meetings, and reporting up to executive management. Your time is stretched thin, so while you’re not eluding your new hires intentionally, it could come off that way to them.
The first 45 days of managing a team member is like the honeymoon phase. You’ll have to set aside time each day to check in with them, while scheduling formal meetings. Add in a series of exploratory conversations and key questions so you can gain insights into your new employee. Find out what they like (or don’t) about their new position, learn about their expectations, and solve budding problems quickly.
Serve up cookie-cutter training & onboarding…
Of course, the administrative, IT, and general company overview are entirely necessary components of any onboarding process. But, when you stop to consider that every new hire is a unique individual with different ways of learning, communicating, and retaining information, it only makes sense that training and onboarding is personalized to each individual. Does it take more time, effort, and planning? Sure, but it also ensures your new hire feels valued—like they belong and are worth investing in—which results in increased employee satisfaction and motivation and a higher likelihood of retention.
Undervalue diversity of thought…
Many of us are creatures of habit and doing something ‘because we’ve always done it that way’ just feels comfortable. But being closed off to different ways of doing things, new ideas, or other ways of working is a surefire way to create conflict between yourself and team members. Plus, managing people in ways that are comfortable to you, in ways that expect people to adapt to your working and communication styles, usually doesn’t lead to innovation, breakthrough ideas, or creative problem solving. When you create a team dynamic that allows people to bring in diversity of thought, the unique experiences of their background—and they know you’ll be open to it without fear of penalty—you’ll create a strong foundation of belonging and begin to achieve team goals in ways you might not have considered before.
Why the Manager-Employee Relationship Matters So Much
You are the conduit through which employees receive important communications, understand company values, and experience belonging, growth, a sense of purpose in their work, and so much more. Your influence is impactful and often underestimated — and, in fact, the manager-employee relationship is perhaps the most important one in an organization.
According to this Gallup finding, managers account for 70% of the variance in team engagement. When there’s a focus on improving the employee-manager relationship, the outcomes are shown to be well worth the effort. For example, RedThread’s research revealed that companies with effective managers realize a higher NPS score and greater engagement. Positive manager-employee relationships management can increase productivity, creativity, innovation, and collaboration, while reducing employee absenteeism and turnover.
Similarly, a report from UKG earlier this year found that 46% of managers said they were likely to quit because of job-related stress. Unlike individual contributors, managers are caught in the middle — expected to deliver on the demands of the business and to guide, coach, and relate to their reports in very humanistic ways. Hybrid work environments, along with employees’ changing expectations of their employers, have shifted the manager’s role and level of support needed. In fact, Betterworks’ State of Performance Enablement research shows that only a quarter of managers get the support they need to manage distributed teams. Under half receive some support, and about a third receive support either rarely or not at all.
The bottom line is that organizations — specifically, those leaders with the most authority — have the responsibility and ability to adopt practices that will strengthen manager effectiveness and, ultimately, the manager-employee relationship. Besides that, why run the risk of losing good employees to something so solvable?
3 Ways to Save an Employee in Less Than 45 Days
When you don’t make the time, provide templated training, and undervalue diversity of thought, you’re sure to create friction—and it can show itself in a variety of ways. If you find yourself saying things like:
- ‘We don’t have time to discuss this…’
- ‘This is the situation and here’s what we’re going to do…’
- ‘I’ve got so much on my plate…’
- ‘That’ll never work…’
You are probably building friction with your employees, damaging the manager-employee relationship, and don’t even know it—that is, until they quit. When employees pick up vibes that you don’t like them or their ideas, that they’re not being treated fairly or feeling valued, or the differences in communication styles are causing misunderstandings, they’ll start to think of an exit plan. And who can blame them? It’s simply self-preservation.
So before all that happens, consider that these three things can help you build positive manager-employee relationships that will encourage better productivity and collaboration among teams. When there’s mutual respect between a manager and a worker, there’s more willingness on both ends to offer support and perform well.
Understand what makes your employees tick
It’s no great secret that everyone works in different ways and that diverse working styles or work energizers can often clash and lead to conflict. Nothing hurts productivity and growth like a manager and employee who don’t know how to work together. All employees have different styles of working that draw on their strengths and weaknesses. And these different styles or work energizers make up a team dynamic. For teams to work together effectively, they should be aware of each other’s ways of working, and leaders need to be able to manage different work styles to their advantage.
As a team leader, you have to understand and manage a variety of work styles every day to be effective. So let’s start with a quick little assessment. This test might sound a bit like you are at the eye doctor, but we promise it will be painless. Simply pick option 1 or 2 for each of the following questions:
- When it comes to solving problems, do you tend to be more (1) Deliberate or (2) Decisive?
- When it comes to relating to people, do you tend to be more (1) Reflective or (2) Outgoing?
- When it comes to your work pace or level of urgency, do you tend to be more (1) Steady or (2) Spontaneous?
- When it comes to processes and procedures, do you tend to be more (1) Cautious or (2) Freeform?
Now count up your ONEs and TWOs. If you end up with 3 or 4 ONEs, your overall work style is oriented toward stability. If you end up with 3 or 4 TWOs, your overall work style is oriented toward change. If you end up with 2 ONEs and 2 TWOs, you bring a balance between stability and change orientation.
On any given team and depending on size, you may want at least two different types of work styles present. At minimum, you’ll want to understand a person’s work style and then figure out how to use it best.
There’s a popular decision-making practice where employees assume different thinking hats. For example, one employee may be tasked with coming up with new ideas. They’re encouraged to bring unpredictable or possibly outlandish ideas to a meeting. Another employee is then tasked with being more discerning. They ask questions and assess the risks of different ideas. By assigning team members a specific hat, at different times, for different projects, it opens up space for more inclusive discussions where a variety of ideas and perspectives can have a seat at the table. It’s a great way to bust dreaded group-think that often stifles innovation. This approach shows that every work style is a strength when expressed in the right situations.
Tailor training to your employee’s personality
When it comes to training, the old “one-size-fits-all” tactic just doesn’t cut it anymore. Just as in other facets of their lives, they expect a personalized experience. With a more tech-savvy workforce than ever before, online learning platforms are a big hit. Some organizations are even rethinking training content altogether and how they can better cater to diverse learning appetites, ensuring greater effectiveness in the long run. Fortunately, training and creating an environment that values continuous learning doesn’t have to take a ton of time and is easy when you leverage AI.
For example, say you have a new Gen Z hire that needs to email the head of sales, John, every week with reported leads. The problem is, they hardly know John and have no idea how John likes to consume information. With an AI tool that uses your company’s previously recorded psychometric data, your new hire can use pre-supplemented suggestions to ensure their emails are comprehensive and useful for John, despite never meeting or hardly interacting with John. This AI-fueled approach to “on-the-fly” training can extend beyond emails to all communications, ultimately helping your employees learn new skills and making their contributions to the business more impactful. When you support your new hires like this, you’re setting them up for success and building a strong relationship out of the gate.
Foster a sense of belonging
When a team can see and understand how each person brings unique work-style strengths to the team, their capacity for better collaboration increases. Use a psychometric-based assessment to measure your team’s unique culture and determine the shared strengths of the team, as well as each individual team member. Then use your team meetings to talk about how those differences have benefited the team.
Ensure you actively bring in your more reflective team members, as they may not readily volunteer what they are thinking. Tap into people who are wired for a specific topic. For instance, ask your freeform team members to come prepared with some new ideas. Leading team meetings with intention makes the meeting outcome more productive, and it allows you to draw on different team members’ strengths.
Here’s an example of how you can better manage a real go-getter on your team. You’ll want to be very direct with this employee. Tell him where he stands, what needs to be done, then get out of his way and let him do it. He’s all about getting it done. This team member will appreciate knowing where he stands with you. Meeting each employee where they are when you interact with them in meetings will go a long way toward fostering the trust you need to execute on the vision you have set for the team.
How to Lose an Employee: “It’s like a Manager’s Cheat Sheet for Working with Others”
But we know what you’re thinking…how can you possibly expect me to keep track of everyone’s learning styles, communication preferences, and work styles? The good news is that you don’t have to.
With every interaction, with any employee—new hire or not—you can see the personality traits of your colleague to understand what motivates them and how to best communicate with them.
We told you earlier that we know how to find out these things about your coworkers. We asked employee Ray to take a 10-minute assessment, and we learned that Ray is inquisitive and likes to gather as much information as possible.
Now, when you reach out to Ray, you won’t feel defensive or bombarded by all of Ray’s questions because you know he thinks like a “Scholar” and that’s what scholars do. What’s even better, you don’t have to track, monitor, or remember any of this. With every email and interaction, you can simply write your message and then have generative AI re-write in the way that best suits Ray’s personality.
No more friction. Just productive conversations and meaningful connections.