While speaking at public event recently, this employee retention speaker and employee retention author, asked the audience how many of the attendees had been thrown under the bus in the last year. To a person, 100% of the attendees raised their hand, “yes.” And leaders wonder how they destroy their credibility and employee retention in the process. Throwing one of your employees under the bus is unconscionable to this employee retention trainer. Not only is it poor leadership but it’s suicide from the perspective of driving employee retention.
Think about what goes through one of your employee’s mind when they get thrown under the bus. They’re hurt! They’re mad as hell! Usually, they are so mad that when they go home, they crank up their laptop and start to scope out what other jobs are available in their field. And, in this hot labor market, there are a lot of opportunities. Even if nothing catches their eye immediately, that leader has bred contempt and loathing for their boss who should have done the right thing and taken responsibility for the event. The employee may have screwed up, but, maybe not. Regardless, any leader worth a damn knows that, ultimately, you can’t delegate responsibility. You can delegate tasks, but you can’t delegate responsibility.
Instead, think about a leader who stands tall when asked who is responsible for something that went wrong that one of his people did. If that leader said, “It was one of my people BUT, ultimately, I am responsible. If anyone is to blame, blame me.” This employee retention author has seen that done and the word always gets back to the person who screwed up that the leader took the heat. The relationship between the two is stronger, trust is built, and the leader’s credibility is enhanced. And the bottom line is that the employee will be far more loyal to that leader than to some other leader that throws their people under the bus.
Employee retention is simple…real simple. It’s just not easy. It’s not easy to take responsibility and the heat that goes along with it. But, if you want to drive employee retention and make your life easier because you don’t have a revolving door of employees, never throw your people under the bus. If you decide to do so, do so at your own peril.