When performing an employee retention strategies workshop recently as an employee retention speaker, a supervisor mentioned that in the company engagement study one of the comments described him as “clueless” and he was hurt by that comment.  I asked to look at the engagement study to get greater insight.  As I looked at it, the reason they were calling him clueless in this employee retention trainer’s mind was that the supervisor was avoiding dealing with the tough issues.  He was knowledgeable and a great supervisor when it came to dealing with the technology side of the business.  Not so when it came to being a leader.

When looking at the comments and reviewing them with the supervisor, it became evident that when it came to the tough calls like discipline, safety, and performance management he was generally taking the easy way out and avoiding confronting problem employees.  The good employees clearly resented this as was evidenced by their comments in the engagement study.  They were tired of see the small minority of “slugs” get away with things.  It was fast approaching the point that some of these people were thinking about looking for another job or transferring out of the department because of the frustration level.

At that point, I realized that I needed to talk about C.R.A.P. (Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise) to the supervisor.  I explained to him that if he truly cared about his people which he said he did, it was time to step up and confront the people who were non-performers because the “slugs” were, in essence, stealing from the good employees with their poor performance, safety issues etc.  There is only so much money to go around for raises etc. and these “slugs” were getting far more than what they were delivering.  The supervisor stepping up to the issues would send a message he respected his good people for their contributions and was not going to see it squandered by the “slugs.”

Fast forward the film 4 weeks and the supervisor called to let me know he had started confronting the “slugs.”  He was shocked to have several good employees mention how much they appreciated what he was doing.  Frankly, this employee retention consultant wasn’t.  If you want to drive your best people away, just go ahead and tolerate inappropriate behavior from the “slugs.”

It is sometimes tough to confront difficult issues.  What helps is shifting your mindset to one that you are doing it because you care and respect the good people in the department or organization and that you owe it to them to step up to issues.  If you don’t want to appear to be “clueless,” Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.!