Perils of the End of Recession

The recession ain’t all bad.  For one thing, your employees are a captive audience.  Not many other options out there for them.

But with the recession ending, and jobs returning (well, soon, I’m pretty sure…), the leader has to ask herself the question:

What am I doing to keep the good ones from leaving?

And to answer that question, you have to first ask another one:

Why do employees leave organizations?

Research shows the top answer is that their bosses suck … oh, sorry, I mean “dissatisfaction” with their bosses.  So …

How good a boss are you?

Don’t know?  Wrong answer.  Leaders strive consistently to understand how they’re being perceived.  Whether through 360’s, honest one-on-one conversations with direct reports, a suggestion box, an open-door and open-mind policy, a truth-or-dare agenda item at regular staff meetings — whatever.  Leaders who don’t know how good a boss they are — in the eyes of the people around them — either are not paying attention, or don’t want to know, or both.  Either way, that ignorance can cost the organization dearly.  When good employees leave bad bosses, who’s left to run the place?  You got it.

How well-positioned are you to retain your best employees once other jobs start appearing?

But to circle back to the original question:  What am I doing to keep my good employees from leaving? the big-picture answer ought to be “motivating them.”

And how do you do that? Well, if your guess was “money,” you lose.  Despite popular misconceptions, “money” is not at the top of the list of employee motivators.  For what is, check out Plank 5 (“Understanding Motivation”) in our book The Leadership Platform. We discuss six motivational “shovels” for “finding buried treasure” in your employees.  They are:

  1. fit
  2. meaning
  3. connection
  4. growth
  5. self-determination
  6. context

If you’re providing all these, consistently and meaningfully for your employees — and if you’re a good boss — chances are (to paraphrase Mick), wild horses won’t drag them away.

YOUR PATH FORWARD:  How well-positioned are you to retain your best employees once alternatives start appearing?  Review the list of the six motivating “shovels” above.  Ask yourself which of them you and your organization are providing adequately for your team, and which you could use work on. Then create some intentions to forge those “shovels” so that when the jobs return, your good folks won’t be tempted to bolt — and new good folks will be attracted to your team.

About the Author

Steve Motenko
Steve Motenko is an executive coach, leadership trainer, and co-host of The Boss Show, a weekly podcast on workplace dynamics. Steve and his Boss Show co-host, Jim Hessler, are co-authors of Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. Steve lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and dog, whom he loves, and a cat he tolerates usually pretty well.

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