Forbes: How To Send Your Best Employees To Your Competitors

ATN-300InsightaaS: Over the course of each week, I review quite a lot of material; I curate the best of what I come across for ATN, and discard the rest.

This piece was right on the borderline, but I opted to share it as it has some merit in and of itself, and highlights some interesting issues in other areas. It also provides an interesting counterpoint to the ATN piece posted on January 20, “Six Ways to Lead in Times of Change.”

This piece also has a numbered list, of 10 ways to prompt employee disengagement. To me, it seems a little bit like a piece of fax management software – not ‘wrong’, but not all that relevant in today’s world. I recognized a lot of the issues raised in the piece from my time in corporate management: for example, as the head of a subsidiary, I was given a total allowable figure for compensation increases, which in turn causes some of the behaviour highlighted under the headings of “keep up with market compensation” and “don’t pit employees against each other.” The only way to exceed a given increase ceiling was via a promotion, but then an organization ends up top-heavy…and when the economy (or at least, the business) slows down, many firms use title changes instead of raises, and become even more top-heavy.

The items raised in the piece may well help those who still work within or manage within large organizations, but truthfully, many of them seem out-of-step with a workforce that is increasingly mobile, and is increasingly self-employed rather than dependent on hidebound corporate policies. The example of the corporate parking space and the one in which a potential employer was dead-set against work from home are two really good examples: are there honestly people out there  who still think like this? And do the look like wizened dinosaurs dressed in chaps and collars, or do they just act like that?

Anyway – if you’re insight a big corporation, it’s interesting to compare guidance like this with the leadership shown by Peter Aceto of Tangerine Bank highlighted in the January 20 piece. And if you’re outside a corporate structure, the article is still worth reviewing, if only to help you to remember why it’s nice not to be locked onto a ladder!

The mantra right now in HR circles is Employee Engagement. It’s engagement this, engagement that all day long. Everybody struggles with the topic of engagement. We send out surveys to measure it. We don’t even know what we’re measuring.

We ask questions like “How likely are you to look for a new job this year?” We ask that question like we think that people know the answer to any reliable degree, in the absence of an actual invitation to apply for an actual job.

We delude ourselves that we can measure a person’s likelihood of leaving us in the abstract, when they don’t have a job offer on the table.

Believe me, if I call your best employee with a great new opportunity and I really listen, and hear what he or she needs and I give them whatever you’re not giving them, I’m going to hire that person. Luckily for you I’m not a headhunter. I’m an HR opera singer who gives advice, so you get off easy this time.

Seriously though, we have to step it up in the employee-listening department…

Read the entire piece on the Forbes website: Link 


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