Sam Vincent
Sam Vincent
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Why are my employees leaving?

It’s a fact - people don’t leave bad businesses, they leave bad managers. Probably the worst place a good employee can be, is stuck in a company with a micro-manager that doesn't know what they are doing and blocking their opportunities for growth and advancement.

A good employee wants good quality work but they also want freedom in how they work. No matter how great your service may be, if your management system is or your managers are dysfunctional or incompetent, your company will no doubt have serious problems, if you don’t you’re very lucky…or maybe you’re just ignoring the signs.

The typical bad manager spends their time directing rather than empowering employees. Micromanaging is oppressive, harbours anxiety and creates a highly stressful working environment. If this is your firm, pretty soon, your employees will become disenchanted and they will be on the lookout for another firm.

In my early career, I worked for a couple of companies that were littered with poor managers, who failed to boost productivity/ morale et al... They put profit above people and sought to gain every ounce of life out of employees. There was 0 chance of celebrating individual or the teams’ successes. It was about quickly moving along to the next goal. There was no leadership (vision and inspiration) only management (command and control). The culture was basically sit there, here’s your work, get it done and that’s it. Employees’ suggestions and recommendations were ignored, expensive management consultants (who also didn’t listen to anyone) were employed on huge day rates and made 0 difference. Management didn’t accept negative results. Their analysis of such results centred on whether employees understood the questions which was an insult to our intelligence.

Employees are the heart of the company and if the heart stops beating what will happen.

When employees become disengaged they focus solely on salary. This was the only “high” point. Most individuals were doing extra outside of their job specs and were still not rewarded. The workload was unmanageable, the clients were unhappy but at 5:30 pm, employees could be seen leaving the office, as if there was a fire drill taking place. What little team spirit and morale remained quickly drained away. For highly-driven and ambitious individuals, it can be likened to putting piece of bread in the toaster and unplugging the plug…. Thus, when my loyalty was no longer a pivotal factor... I moved on. Employee turnover was (and still is) high.

Leaders need to know their employees and what motivates them. If you are heading a small firm where job openings are few and far between; offer something different, show employees you value them, give employees more responsibility (don’t bring in managers above them). Assign challenging instructions that will motivate employees, stretch and reward them they will grow to the challenge. If they have plateaued and there is nothing else to look forward to, they will become disengaged.

If you are the leader of a big firm ensure everybody, from your paralegals to your Partners, are engaged, feel trusted and are happy in their work or you are probably the head of a very unsteady ship – you just don’t know it yet.

Employee satisfaction soars when it’s your priority and looked upon as a foundation of your business. If you want to get the best out of your employees - put them first. Show your employees that you care; treat them well ensuring you reward and recognise them.

Celebrate yours and their successes. When you show you value your employees contributions, your workforce will become far more engaged in the outcomes. Furthermore, take an interest in their development by giving them responsibility and challenges that will help them to grow. If people feel they are moving forward, enhancing their skill base, learning new information, stretching their capabilities, their motivation will remain high.

For more information contact Sam Vincent at BCL Legal.

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