Early in my career as an HR Leader, this employee retention speaker and employee retention author had a very wise boss who told him, “People quit nameless, faceless corporations.” This was one of the most profound things that this employee recruitment speaker ever heard and I have carried those words with me for the past 30 years. Ironically, in many ways, it has even gotten worse in the past 30 years as employee turnover has continued to accelerate. So why is that? I have to blame it on our fear of getting “too close” to our employees for fear that we will invade their privacy. That’s at a time when people post all sorts of things about themselves on Facebook and other forms of social media. Yet, we are afraid to get to know people and talk to them.
When the above-mentioned boss was training me, he told me that you have to get to know your employees so that instead of them merely being employees, they become people in your eyes. Getting to know about them, their passions, hobbies, what their spouse of significant other does for a living, or for that matter, even knowing if they have a spouse or a significant other is essential to driving your employee retention strategies. You have to understand your people and what makes them tick and what motivates them. If you don’t know anything about them, you can’t do that!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with talking to your employees about their lives. Most times, employees love to talk about their lives outside of work. Just ask someone who has grandchildren and you will see I am correct! I’m not talking about prying but rather getting to know basic things about them and what is important to them outside of work. This employee retention trainer has found that this is what helps you to see people as just that…people and not some means of production! Unfortunately, we have become paranoid about doing that. It’s a major mistake because getting to know people helps you to develop empathy for them and their situations. That’s the human element that is invaluable in building a relationship that goes beyond a transactional employee/employer relationship.
If you want your organization to go beyond being a nameless, faceless corporation, get to know your employees…then they become people. It’s a lot harder for a person to quit another person they know than it is to quit a nameless, faceless corporation!