Business advice we provided as content to a client that has many small business customers –
Today we’re going to talk about how to make your employees quit at your small company. A lot of small business owners seem unsure about the most effective ways to make their employees leave their companies in an angry, frustrated or unhappy fashion.
Let’s review the basics. These are in no particular order; you may find that one, or several of these, are particularly effective in driving your best employees away:
Make them work for a jerk – whether it’s you or a manager beneath you, make sure they work for someone who is just not a very nice person.
Have unreasonable expectations in terms of their work output, work hours and results – it’s best to not ever let them think they’ve succeeded at anything.
Pay worse than everyone else – this is a classic, and is always good for building a lot of resentment among your employees as it hurts them in their wallet, and, makes them feel undervalued in general. It’s a great two-fer in terms of making employees unhappy. Think about sneaky ways to do this if at all possible, because this will breed even greater animosity towards you as an employer. For instance, if you’re working them a lot of hours, and that’s costing you too much, switch the job to a salaried position, and then announce that a minimum of 55 hours a week is required for this new salaried position.
Never explain anything – employees hate this, and will feel both powerless and uninformed.
Be a bully – always threaten to fire your employees or to dock their pay if they’re not working hard enough, or, if they make a mistake. Very effective at grinding morale down, and reinforcing the idea that you don’t value the employee-manager relationship very much.
Micromanage employees and work processes – not a short-term solution, but an effective way to make your employees quit over the long run. Treat them like the incompetent idiots they are.
Provide no benefits of any kind – Many of you are probably thinking, “Oh, I have this handled. We don’t give our employees health insurance, paid sick days, or anything like that.” But, you need to make sure you don’t provide any sort of benefits to working for you. For instance, if most of their work could be done from home, it’s best to insist that they still come in every day at a certain time, and punch a time clock, just so they know you’re in control. And if one of your employees asks to come in two hours later than everyone else, and accordingly, stay two hours later, because she has caregiver duties for her elderly mother, just refuse. Even if it doesn’t impact the business at all – you can’t let your employees think they can do whatever they want. If they don’t deal with your customers face-to-face, and they ask if they can dress casually for work instead of business casual, say no. Make sure there are no reasons from them to value you as an employer over some other employer.
Change company rules and policies often – do this without warning and without any input from your employees.
Allow for a toxic work environment – sexism, racism, nepotism, favoritism, ageism, ethnic bias, whatever – let it run wild or let it simmer just under the surface, either way is effective in making your employees want to quit.
Provide no hope for future career advancement – do not provide a clear career path for your employees in terms of what they can aspire to if they perform well in their current position. Be as vague as possible if this question is posed to you: “What is my next job here, and what can I do to earn that promotion?”
Criticize employees publicly – no need to keep your unhappiness with an employee’s performance or results between you and him/her. Express your dissatisfaction publicly and loudly, preferably in front of as many of the other employees as possible. Let them know that nothing gets by you, that this person has failed, and that this type of public humiliation also awaits them if they fail.
Pay bonuses/commissions begrudgingly or not at all – First of all, never write anything down concerning bonuses or commissions. This will give you plausible deniability. Second, you can then get selective amnesia when it comes to the terms of the reward. Try to claim that the employee didn’t actually achieve the bonus due to a technicality. If worse comes to worse, and you have to pay, keep putting it off, and then see if you can renegotiate the amount you promised. Drag in other aspects of the employee’s work performance, regardless of the relevance thereof. Stall for time. Stonewall. All employees hate this, but salespeople in particular hate this, and it’s a sure-fire way to run off your best salespeople in the company.
Encourage sycophant and yes-man behavior – Your needs concerning ego reinforcement are important, and employees that are able to recognize your brilliance as both a person and a business magnate should be rewarded, right?
So, this is obviously satire, but it’s satire with a point. If you’re a small business owner and you recognize any of these toxic behaviors at your company, whether you have three employees or one hundred employees, it might be time to correct that situation. As you’re probably aware if you’ve tried to hire people lately, the job market has improved considerably from just a few years ago. It’s harder to hire good people, and it’s easier for good people to leave bad employers and get another job pretty quickly. As a small company, you will always be hard-pressed to match certain positive attributes of employment at a large corporation, but you can still take steps to make sure your firm is a place where people want to work.