Repeatedly, as an employee retention speaker and trainer, audiences hear me refer to employees as “your people.” They are yours to protect. They are the corporate equivalent of your flock and you are the shepherd. Your job is to keep them safe from the corporate wolves while at the same time making sure they do what they are expected to do.
Your people will come under attack from other managers or often times from your own boss. Your job is to make sure they don’t get “thrown under the bus.” When something goes wrong, organizations look for someone to blame. People will make mistakes. Would a shepherd leave one of his sheep behind when the wolf was after it? If you didn’t answer with a resounding “no” then you need to take a good hard look at yourself as a leader. Ultimately, you are responsible for your people and what they do. You can’t delegate responsibility for events that happen in your department. People know and watch to see how you act. Accept that responsibility and take the heat instead of immediately looking to have someone else take the blame so you don’t look bad. Then, people begin to trust you will be there for them and, as an employee retention expert, I know they will be there for you.
That respect will pay off big time when you need extra time on a project or the special touch they bring to a customer issue. As an employee retention speaker, I cringe when someone gets blamed in a meeting because I know if a recruiter calls in and approaches that person, they will be able to get the person who has just been thrown to the wolves by their boss to listen to the new opportunity the recruiter is presenting. They have just seen how little they matter to their boss. And when they don’t matter, there is no loyalty to keep them from looking at a new job when they are presented with one. That is what destroys your employee retention strategies.