Yet, when asked about employee retention, Andrew Benett, global president of Havas Worldwide, said, “the people in our employ continue to be neglected, taking a backseat to the various other matters that occupy our workdays.”
In an article for Fast Company, Benett offers “tips” on how to lose “your most dynamic, highest-potential employees.” His litany of worst practices (that is, things not to do) include the following.
How to Fail at Employee Retention – Hire for the Past
Benett suggests you look into the future of the role you are hiring for. Don’t, he says, “Choose talent based on what worked before.” Another common mistake is focussing on a candidate’s previous work history, ignoring his or her ability to adapt to the ever-changing workplace.
Dismiss Values and Mission
Employee retention is tough when you are sending the message “anything goes in pursuit of profit,” leaving employees to guess about which behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable. Instead, spend time “articulating to your workers why they come to work every day and how the greater community benefits.”
Group Teams that Produce Predictable Results
If you want to retain top talent, don’t be afraid to take some risk. Many managers hesitate to mix generations and skill sets, and still put together homogenous teams that produce “stale and predictable solutions that excite nobody—but might be safer.”
Cling to an Autocratic Management Style
With the rise of the millenial workforce, leaders today must adapt. You will lose at employee retention – especially this talented, younger generation, if you don’t embrace new approaches to management, and instead “reward the old-fashioned, autocratic style that stifles unorthodox, creative thinking”—the type of management that “feels threatened by youth and dynamism.”
Measure Performance by Hours, Not Results
Establish policies that closely monitor employee behavior and show that you “don’t trust your talent to use their time wisely.” This is a sure fire way to see your best people head for the door. Also, don’t discourage use of social media and “forbid personal activities during nine to five” – when you want employees to be available to work on the weekend, as needed.
Promote Employees with no Knowledge Beyond Their Own Areas
Don’t set employees up for failure, by targeting employees for lateral promotion, particularly those who lack “exposure to different parts of the business.”
Leave Finding Great Talent to HR
Don’t: Adopt the attitude that senior staff must be detached from talent recruitment and retention, and leave this vital business function to HR. Never assume that “the staff who must deal with the minutiae of personnel issues also be visionaries in hiring.”
Avoid Sharing Information
Here’s another sure fire employee retention fail: Instead of open and transparent communications, “keep decision-making securely ensconced in the airless bunker of the executive wing.” Don’t allocate power to employees “lest they suddenly become entrepreneurial and unpredictable.”
Forget About Training
Since employee training costs money (“and employees will probably jump ship with their new skills”), make sure your staff continues to do the same things over and over again, with no change in performance. This is a negative mindset to adopt, as the happier and more stimulated your staff are, the longer they are apt to stick around.
Hire from the Outside
Bad leaders don’t recognize the talent they already have around them. Instead of developing their own workforce, they hire outsiders and demoralize employees “by stifling their ambitions for increased responsibility.” Then, when they announce that they’re leaving, these same leaders often “express astonishment and outrage.”
Don’t make these mistakes, and you’ll have a much better chance at not only keeping the top talent you have at your organization, but attracting the best as well.