7 Ways To Demoralize Your Employees

Gary C. Bizzo  |

Image source: Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

I've seen plenty of friends leave a good job because of issues with management that could have been prevented. If you have quality employees who, for one reason or another, called it a day because of poor management or deleterious policies, then you have a toxic work environment.

Most of you know how hard it is to find top employees and keep them. If you include the costs of training and then looking for a replacement, the cost in time and labor can be staggering.

I've identified seven issues that I know can irk an employee enough to call it quits.

  1. Too Many Meetings
    No one likes meetings. In a COVID world, even if the meetings aren't the in-person kind, they can still be a giant time suck. Most people tell me those long flights for those face-to-face meetings are gone and have been replaced by Zoom or Webex video conferencing. Keep in mind that no one wants to waste time on a useless video chat either.

    I've been pulled away from proposal writing or campaign development to discuss issues in a meeting with multiple people that a simple call with one person could have resolved. My buddy told me of meetings stacked on top of each other that completely derailed his workday to the point that they needed a meeting to discuss how to get back on track. Yikes.
  2. Time Sheets
    I once was hired as Director of Global Development for a company that I thought was a good fit. The position paid a good wage, and it was an exciting job description.

    On the first day of orientation, I was given a binder of time sheets broken down into five minute segments. I was told I needed to dutifully fill it out daily and give the CEO my timesheet every Friday. I concluded the HR guy had lost his mind, and I'd take it up with the CEO at some point.

    On the first Friday after my start the CEO came to my office and asked for the timesheet. We had a bit of a discussion resulting in me saying I would try to fill it out. It was impossible and made me feel that I was not trusted to manage my time. The following Monday the CEO also told me that he thought meetings were a waste of time and didn't want me to have any. I asked the VP Marketing who told me they prefer to use texts instead. I know I said above that too many meetings are a problem, but having zero meetings and communicating via group text is its own bad idea.

    I quit four days later. Full disclosure: that business is still flourishing, but it remains an enigma to me how it works.
  3. No Clear Goals
    Here's your job description. Now do it! Hmmm, a daunting task when you're supposed to figure out the goals on your own. I suppose you can look at the company's Mission Statement on a website but as an employee you're not paid to make it up or assume the goals of the organization. It is a frustrating position to be in for an employee unless your job is to create the goals.
  4. Accountability
    A friend told me where he worked everyone 'passed the buck.' Where does responsibility enter the picture? Accountability is essentially about ownership and initiative. Management needs to show accountability to employees, and employees need to be encouraged to always act in the best interests of the business. Employees need to take responsibility for results and outcomes – they shouldn't presume that this is purely the concern of management. But the culture starts with management. If the entire organization defaults on this accountability it is demoralizing to the good employee who sees it as his/her duty.
  5. Independent Thinking
    This goes hand in hand with accountability. If there is no room for independent thinking, management runs the risk of stifling initiative, and killing good ideas before they're ever hatched. It's impossible to be innovative as a company if no employee feels supported when it comes to independent thinking.
  6. The Peter Principle
    This fabulous theory by Lawrence Peter espouses that employees are promoted right up to the point where they are incompetent and not up to the job. A promotion requires different skills that a person might not possess, but success in a past job is often the sole basis for a promotion to a job which is clearly beyond the scope of the individual.

    It's almost a caricature: the incompetent senior executive who should be playing golf instead of running a department and who takes credit for everything you do is a demoralizing factor in any organization. I'd wager that each of you has known many people who got peter-principled into a slot for which they were clearly not qualified. And if you don't know anyone like this, it just may have been you!
  7. Lack of Recognition
    Humans work best with feedback and praise for a job well done. Recognition should be a strong foundation for every company. I used to joke that behind every good executive there was a better assistant. It's been true in many instances. To single out those under you for their contributions should be commonplace, but it simply isn't.

    I've had this discussion with some very senior executives about employee recognition, and each told me how incredible their structures were set up to enhance the employees' work life. They pointed out programs in place to promote getting the best from their employees. After observing the employees that work there, the realities do not live up to the grandiose claims of employee-centric workplaces.

My first job out of university was wonderful. Full of new experiences and positive reinforcement coupled with a feeling of making a difference in the community. In the first week I told my boss how fortunate I was in getting the job. He asked me my goals and when I gave him a few, he told me he was only working for the money so he could "live for the weekend." That took the wind out my sails, and 40 years later, I still remember that conversation. It's sad!

The boss sets the tone for the organization. All the money in the world and fancy perks like those common in the '90s won't retain staff if their bosses make their lives miserable. A close friend just retired from her dream job. She'd still be there but for bosses who had at least four of the above issues plaguing the organization.

It's been said before, but I'll say it again: When great employees leave companies, it's likely they're leaving bad bosses!

Gary is CEO of Syphon Nanotech Inc., Bizzo Management Group Inc., and Bizzo Integrated Marketing Corp. in Vancouver. London-based Richtopia placed Bizzo on the Top 100 Global Influencers in the World for 2018. He is an Adjunct Professor of Integrated Marketing & Communications as well as Consumer Behavior at the New York Institute of Technology, MBA School of Management (Vancouver Campus). Gary can be reached at ceo@garybizzo.com.

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Equities Contributor: Gary Bizzo

Source: Equities News

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