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Top ten ways to get your staff bolting for the door

Written by Robert Ordever on Friday, 23 November 2018. Posted in HR, People

Jack Frost is spreading a chill in the air and the countdown to Christmas is officially underway. So with workers already mentally checking out, what errors are employers making when it comes to keeping staff motivated?

Top ten ways to get your staff bolting for the door

With the summer holidays now a distant memory to make room for dark and chilly nights, keeping staff engaged at this time of year can be particularly challenging. For those organisations that care about staff engagement, it’s probably best to avoid the following which are the top ten ways to disengage your staff – quickly.

(1) Have no sense of company purpose

Just focus on how the company can make more money and cut costs. After all, why do employees need to know that their company has a clear vision about where it is headed? Leave the vision – if there is any – to the people at the top, leaving the staff to focus on the day-to-day stuff.

(2) Hire a group of puffed-up, power-hungry managers

Ideally they should be skilled at taking credit, apportioning blame and micromanaging. After many years of political games and sucking up, ego-filled managers have earned their position, so now’s not the time to give humility and trust a go. Staff need to be told what to do and how to do it and it’s the manager’s role to keep them on the straight and narrow.

(3) Provide limited career opportunities

Staff have been hired to do a particular job and so why provide opportunities outside of this? With one in three employees often bored with their work responsibilities, make sure leaders take the view that today’s generation don’t know they’re born. “Just crack on” should be the company-wide approach.

(4) View appreciating staff as pointless and fluffy

Staff should just appreciate having a job and being paid a decent wage and not waste the company’s time and money on so-called recognition schemes. It's not a theme park so why should employees have a good time? 

(5) Ensure only the higher echelons of the business know what’s going on

Any communications from the business leaders should be occasional, formal and only by email to ensure staff are fully aware of the company’s pecking order. Leaders should remain locked away in their offices, only speaking to staff on special occasions. When such verbal encounters do take place, all staff must be briefed by their managers to appear interested, ask questions and look presentable.

(6) Ignore HR when they talk about staff wellbeing

Staff should just “get on with it and stop moaning”. Employers aren’t babysitters. This approach to wellbeing should be filtered across the company via hearsay and poor Glassdoor reviews.

(7) Make sure staff are on call 24 hours a day

If a work email is received in the middle of the night, waiting until the following morning to answer it is simply slacking. Such an employee is clearly not committed to the job.

(8) Create a working hours competition

Applaud the employee who is first into the office in the morning and the employee who is the last to leave at night. Frown on those who arrive at 9am and leave at 5pm – anyone would think they have lives outside of work.

(9) Don't provide any employee feedback until the annual appraisal

Then is the perfect time to tell staff what a rubbish job they're doing and bring-up examples of poor performance from ten months’ ago.

(10) Leave innovation to the people in charge

Staff who are caught trying new things should be disciplined. The way things are done will be the way things have always been done, so why rock the boat now?

For those businesses keen to get staff running for the door, they should apply some or all of these handy suggestions which have been tried and tested by many – now failing – organisations. For all other companies looking to succeed, probably best to avoid them with a bargepole.

About the Author

Robert Ordever

Robert Ordever

Robert Ordever is the Managing Director of workplace culture expert, O.C. Tanner Europe. Robert joined O.C. Tanner in August 2014, as People and Operations Director. From luxury retail at Harrods to Premier League football at Fulham Football Club, Robert's operational and HR background has given him a real passion for creating a workplace culture that truly gets the best out of its teams.

Robert holds Chartered Fellowship of the CIPD and has specialised in the field of Human Resources for over 17 years.

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