Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by McKenzie Brower. Her opinions are her own.
Turnover is inevitable, but your rates don’t have to leave you struggling to learn new names every few months while your employees file out the door. You might revel in consistent applications hitting your desk as this is a sign of an attractive business… isn’t it? Actually, with every new employee comes a big cost, as the cost of a new employee is estimated at between six and nine months’ salary.
To avoid these costly mistakes, you have to start making some executive decisions to keep your talent on board. Poor management is a huge detriment to employee productivity and loyalty, and failing to recognize the biggest faux pas could eventually cause your business to go under if left unchecked. But don’t bail out just yet; take the time to find out the most telling signs of poor employee management.
1. Overworking and undervaluing employees
When times get tough and your business needs extra help, it’s natural to fall back on your employees for assistance meeting deadlines, especially your top performers. While it’s alright to push your employees past their comfort zones every once in a while, consistent unpaid overtime and false promises of reward eventually lead to burn-out, and yes, resignation.
Once employees go past 50 hours per week, their productivity plummets, and after 55 hours, productivity is so low that your employees might as well be coming in part-time.
It’s okay to give your employees a greater workload if it’s a reasonable amount followed by an immediate reward. Employees appreciate a challenge that gives them the opportunity to stand out from the rest, but only if they feel that their hard work is valued. After all, no one enjoys doing more work for the same price tag.
You can also go the extra mile and thank your employees directly after a job well done, giving specific praise about the feats they accomplished. Motivators go a long way too, so find out what gets your employees in the office every day; some appreciate bonuses, while others only require simple acts of public recognition.
2. Failure to tap into your employees’ talents
When you take the time to really get to know your employees, you’ll discover a hidden treasure trove of beneficial skills that you can add to your company’s professional repertoire. And, in turn, if employees feel that their abilities are being utilized, a sense of appreciation for the company and your management style will grow and flourish.
To neglect these qualities, however, will likely insult your employees, making them wonder why they took the job in the first place.
Ideally, these measures should take place during the hiring process. When you evaluate candidates, be sure to ask questions that get employees talking about their passions and interests; the goal here is to get them animated about the things they love so you can use that knowledge for future reference in assigning tasks.
After you’ve hired an employee, you should check in with them often to see how they’re doing and if they feel like they can take on more responsibilities. If they have suggestions for you, keep an open mind; restricting them to an arbitrary job description will only make them feel as though they’re wasting their time when they’re on the clock.
3. Poor attitude from management
Perhaps the worst thing that management can do is foster a toxic work environment. If you’re in a leadership role and you have a bad attitude, whether it’s from stress in your personal life or another reason, it will put your employees on edge. And when it comes time that they need your advice or assistance on a matter, it’ll be difficult for them to get the nerve to approach you since your reactions are so erratic.
This sense of dread can be enough to result in no call, no shows so the employee won’t have to deal with a fearsome Monster Boss explosion. And besides, nobody wants to be that guy.
To build better relationships with your employees, focus on bringing a positive attitude to work every day. If you need to make adjustments to your workload so that it’s more manageable, take the time out and do it. No amount of work is worth the toll on your peace of mind.
Another thing to work on is your active listening skills when talking to employees. When the company knows that there is an unconditional open line of communication at all times, problems will be resolved faster and this turns into a mutually beneficial cycle of work getting done when it needs to be done, and thus, a peaceful work environment is established.
4. A conservative, inflexible approach
Changing up your management tactics is never a bad idea. Inflexibility, stagnation, and by-the-book methods are all the best ingredients to a recipe of frustration and dissent in your employees. This is especially true for younger employees, who cite flexibility as one of the top priorities in their job search.
All kinds of industries have been transformed by companies that were willing to take risks with innovative new approaches. Just consider what rideshare companies have done in a few years despite the fact that the taxi model had been around for decades. Look for ways your company can evolve, and listen to your employees’ suggestions on how you can improve things.
Strive for an office culture with open communication, where everyone feels free to share their opinions, rather than opt for the more traditional, authoritarian approach.
5. Passing the blame
As a leader, it’s important to share in the glory when things go right and accept responsibility when things go wrong. Blaming other employees for issues will ruin their morale and lead to rifts in your company culture, resulting in a chain reaction where people are scared to make mistakes and look to pass the blame to the person in the next cubicle. Employees won’t trust each other, which will make it difficult for them to work together and reduce productivity around your office.
You should always point your employees in the right direction when there are areas needing improvement or mistakes that need correction. But you should avoid publicly blaming a single employee for any issue, no matter how well-deserved you might believe it is.
Remember that your company wins and loses together as a team. Give all your employees credit for successes. When your company has an issue, it’s on you to take responsibility since you’re the leader. In turn, your employees will respect your humble approach and follow your example to strive for improvement.
Being a good manager is all about building the right habits and avoiding the common issues that cause employees to leave. When you do this, you’ll be someone who employees love working for, which means employee retention will be higher and you’ll get more productivity out of your team.