As an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, I recently heard about a boss that was bashing the very people that got her the highest customer service ranking of any of the departments in the organization. Yet, she regularly complains about everything her people do. Nothing is ever good enough for her and she abuses her people for the smallest mistakes. Yet, because of their dedication and hard work, they have just won the customer service award of the year. How can this be? Wouldn’t they become disengaged and stop working? Nope. Here’s why not.
During my discussion with the person, it became apparent that the organization is loaded with people who are within 3 years of retirement. They are not going to quit because they are so close to retirement and, contrary to what some people believe, age discrimination is alive and well. They have nowhere to go so they grind it out. The problem will come in 3 years when 50% of the department retires! Three years from now, the labor shortage will be so acute, staffing for this level of turnover will be an enormous task and the performance of the department will plunge.
From an employee retention strategies standpoint, this department manager should be using this core of long-service employees to transition to the future, transfer knowledge and keep the department at peak performance. Instead, you will see a mass exodus of people that will take their knowledge with them because it will be payback time. They will walk away, not share their knowledge and let the boss fend for herself. At that point, the organization will be asking the manager, “Can’t you do anything right?”