As an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, I often see a lack of respect for the jobs that various people do in an organization. Often time, that lack of respect starts with a lack of understanding of what people do. It’s rare that it occurs because people have a desire to be disrespectful but because of a lack of understanding of what other people do. Where I see this most is when it comes to leaders who don’t respect or appreciate how difficult someone’s job is who is working on a production line or doing other nitty gritty work of the organization like data entry or working the phone in a call center.
This lack of understanding is often a result of never having performed the job. The best way to eliminate this lack of understanding is to do the job to see what it is like. Recently, I was watching an episode of M*A*S*H where the enlisted personnel switched jobs with the officers for a day. The enlightenment that took place when the officers had to serve as the company clerk, the cook and the orderly was incredible. It also was eye opening for the enlisted personnel who saw some of the difficult decisions that their bosses had to make that had a major impact on a lot of people’s lives.
From an employee retention perspective this employee retention consultant recommends that all leaders at my clients work on the production line for a day when I work with manufacturing companies. Learn the job. Feel what it is like to be a “newbie” that has to hold and grind over 200 castings in a day that each weigh over 10 lbs. each. At the end of the day when you can barely lift your arms, you have a lot more respect for someone who is working for you and are far more willing to be appreciative of what they do day in and day out. That respect and appreciation matters to people and can be a pivotal point in retaining someone in an organization.
Having worked in a warehouse, on the assembly line, driven a bus and cleaned up vomit as a janitor, I understand how difficult many jobs are. Do you as a leader of your people realize how difficult the jobs your people do are? If you aren’t sure, go do their job for even one day and see what it’s like. Your respect and appreciation for what your people do will grow. And, your employee retention may improve as well!