Rants and Employee Retention

When working as an HR executive and now as an employee retention speaker, I see how volatile leaders destroy employee retention.  There’s no doubt about.  A volatile leader scares people because they don’t know how the person is going to react at any given moment or sees the volatile reaction and wonder when they will be subject to it themselves.  This leaves people with a sense of uncertainty and often fear.  Fear is one of our most basic instincts and the desire to remove ourselves from the setting is a natural reaction.  When we were cavemen, our fear was to be eaten by a wild animal.  Today we are worried about losing our job, being yelled at, subject to unwarranted criticism etc.  So our natural reaction is to flee when those things occur.  In this case, flight is to leave the organization.  This is what prompts employees to leave an organization and destroys employee retention

As an employee retention expert, I often see senior leadership rant, rave and swear at people.  Sometimes staff meetings for senior level employees can be public floggings.  The worst part about this is employees at other levels of the organization see this and wonder when they might be the subject of this verbal abuse. That is the type of thing that turns solid employees into prospective job seekers.  People want and need a sense of stability, or at least not fear, unless you want to have poor employee retention in your organization.

I have yet to figure out why boards and Presidents of organizations tolerate this from leadership in the organization or act that way themselves.  If you want your employee retention strategies to work, you have to ensure that leadership is giving people C.R.A.P. (Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise.)  A leader who respects his people does not rant and rave, threaten them, use fear as a motivator and belittle their people.  When they do, people will only follow them for so long before they get fed up and leave.  People want sane, rational leaders who give their people C.R.A.P. if they want to sustain a healthy, thriving organization with low turnover.  C.R.A.P. works!

Jeff Kortes


Jeff speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.