Like most consultants that I know, my office is in various coffee shops along the Front Range of Colorado. As a result, I hear lots of different, interesting conversations. Last week, I was sitting next to two women in one of my favorite office locations. They were having a heated discussion about Woman #1’s abrupt departure from Woman #2’s company. While actively trying to look like I wasn’t eavesdropping, the conversation that I caught went something like this:
Boss: “I can’t believe Business Ethics Consulting Firms that you left!”
Employee: “I told you why I was frustrated!”
Boss: “But I thought we fixed the scheduling problem. You didn’t tell me about the other issues. I can’t fix it if I don’t know about it!”
Employee: “How can you not know about it? You are the boss!”
The “boss” is ultimately responsible for everything that happens within her company. One important responsibility is to ensure a healthy work environment for all of her employees. In this scenario, or any scenario for that matter, blaming her employee for lack of communication does not resolve the issue. I find most often that employees attempt to discuss problems in a very subtle way. Employees may be unsure as to how to raise the subject or when to find an appropriate moment to do so. They may also often feel hesitant to make complaints because they are really unsure of how receptive said boss will be. It is important to always stay aware of your employee’s behavior and what possible issues could be stirring. To help you spark the conversation with your employees, look for the signs that an employee is thinking about leaving:
Your top performer is now underperforming. If you begin to have performance problems with someone whom you’ve never had an issue with, it is time to ask them what’s going on and how you can help.
Your employee asks about another opportunity in your company. This means they are not feeling challenged, have grown bored with their current position and may be considering a change.
Your employee mentions that another company is trying to recruit them. This is a very subtle way of How To Sell Yourself As A Consultant an employee letting you know that they are exploring options. Don’t let this hint slip by you.
If you don’t want to be caught unaware, then listen and pay attention to your staff. Staying in tune with them could help greatly with your company’s culture and overall performance. Employees will in one way or another tell you when they are becoming unsatisfied.