Having spent 25 years as a human resources leader in industry before becoming an employee retention speaker and employee retention author, I know what it’s like to be thrown under the bus in a meeting. You can just feel the tire treads just rolling over your back as your boss or colleague throws you under the bus to save their own backside. Boy I sure do miss the good old days…yeah right! There is nothing that will anger a person more than when this happens; particularly when it’s your boss that’s doing it. There is also nothing else that will prompt an employee to think about firing up the laptop when they get home in order to start looking for another job as well.
When you as a boss throw one of your people under the bus, to save your own skin remember that eventually everything that goes around comes around. Your employee will never forget what you did to them. They might not fire up the laptop that night, but they will never forget it. Then, when it happens again, they will just continue to keep score. People do get mad…they also get even as well. They may stab you in the back some time with their boss’ boss or simply bide their time until the right job comes along and then quit.
If, as a boss, you are lucky, the employee will keep their mouth shut in an exit interview and not tell HR why they are really leaving. They will even tell you to your face that they “just had an opportunity come along that was too good to pass up.” Most people are smart enough not to burn bridges, so they will smile, tell you what you want to hear, and then head out the door to their new job.
Throwing someone under the bus is, in this employee retention trainer’s book, one of THE greatest betrayals that can happen. Most people expect some level of loyalty from their boss. A boss who takes the heat for something they did wrong or even takes the heat for something one of their people did wrong gains a phenomenal amount of respect. That respect is a major factor in building employee loyalty. A smart boss realizes how important taking the heat for their people is. In this day and age, we no longer get loyalty, we have to build loyalty. Taking the heat for your people does that. If you want to have loyalty from your people…never…ever…throw someone under the bus.