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with employees doing other phases of the work.

Very few jobs are ¬xed as they used to be. These days jobs constantly
change, and the opportunity to enrich them will be there if you choose to
take it. This also means that once a job has been enriched it will not stay
enriched without manager and employee working together to make it hap-
pen. Finally, it is considered a realistic rule of thumb that if 80 percent of a
job is enriched, it is probably a good job.14

Engagement Practice 16:
Delegate Tasks to Challenge Employees and Enrich
Their Jobs
Today™s younger generations of workers don™t have the patience to ˜˜pay
their dues™™ as their parents had done. You may disparage their impatience,
but when they leave your company and move on to another one that may
be willing to give them the keys to the car as soon as they come in the
door, you are left high and dry without their talents. No matter how many
dues you paid as you climbed the ladder, no matter how gradually and

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consistently you prepared yourself for a more meaningful role, and how
deliberately you acquired valuable knowledge, that traditional model of
gradually taking on incremental challenges is considered outdated by many
Gen-Xers and Millennials. Most younger workers have a more short-term
focus. They want meaningful work roles NOW.
This means you will need to employ the job enrichment guidelines
above and, in many cases, start delegating tasks that you may have been
uncomfortable delegating in the past.
Here are some reasons you may be reluctant to delegate:

• You™re afraid they will screw things up.
• There™s no time to train them to the point where you can trust them
not to screw up.
• You believe they need to pay their dues ¬rst, as you did.
• You have some grunt work that needs doing.
• You like doing the work yourself too much to let it go.
• You™re afraid that empowering your workers means giving up your

If you can identify with any of these concerns, you will need to work
to overcome them. For practical guidelines on how to do that, refer to ˜˜23
Steps to Better Delegation and Empowerment™™ in Keeping the People Who
Keep You in Business.15

The Employee™s Role in the Matching Process
As in all the seven reasons employees leave, it™s not just the manager that
has all the responsibility. All employees need to be reminded that there is
much they can do to achieve the best match of their own talents to the job:

• Ask questions during the interview to make sure the job is one that
will make good use of your talents.
• Know your values well enough to resist being recruited into a work
culture that would not be a good ¬t.
• If talent assessment workshops or inventories are not offered at the
organization, seek assistance with identifying your talents through a
private career coach, psychologist, community college, or university
career center.

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

• If you feel the manager is not making good use of your talents, take
the initiative to meet with the manager to discuss how you would
like the job to be changed.
• Put yourself in the manager™s shoes and be prepared to explain how
enriching their own job will also bene¬t the work unit or organiza-
tion as a whole.
• Seek whatever training you need to earn the trust of the manager to
delegate more to them.
• Instead of getting too comfortable when you have mastered a job,
keep yourself engaged by seeking new challenges.
• Ask for feedback when you feel you are not getting enough of it.

Employer-of-Choice Engagement Practices Review
and Checklist
Review the engagement practices presented in this chapter and check the
ones you believe your organization needs to implement or improve.

To Select the Right Talent for the Job:
9. Make a strong commitment to the continuous upgrading of talent.
10. Make sure that all hiring managers follow a consistent and thorough
talent forecasting and success-factor analysis process.
11. Cast a wide recruiting net to expand the universe of best-¬t candi-
12. Follow a purposeful and rigorous interview process.
13. Track measures of hiring success.

To Assign the Right Task to the Right Person:
14. Conduct ˜˜entrance interviews™™ with all new hires.
15. Work to enrich the jobs of all employees.
16. Delegate tasks to challenge employees and enrich their jobs.

1. Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, Now, Discover Your
Strengths (New York: The Free Press, 2001).
2. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan, Execution: The Discipline of Getting
Things Done (New York: Random House, 2002).

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3. Edward L. Gubman, The Talent Solution: Aligning Strategy and People to
Achieve Extraordinary Results (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998).
4. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the
Leap and Others Don™t (New York: Harper Business, 2001), based on
study of how eleven companies out of 1,435 went from good to great
¬nancial performance. Web-exclusive interview in Fast Company, Oc-
tober 2001.
5. Nana Rausch, ˜˜War for Talent II: Several Ways to Win,™™ Peoplepa-
looza column, Fast Company, June 2000.
6. Bob Calandra, ˜˜Finders Keepers,™™ Human Resource Executive, June 2,
7. ˜˜We Try to Minimize Face-to-Face Interviews,™™ Business Week, No-
vember 22, 1999.
8. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, First, Break All the Rules:
What the World™s Great Managers Do Differently (New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1999).
9. M. Mitchell Waldrop, ˜˜Dee Hock on Management,™™ Fast Company,
October/November 1996.
10. Jodi Spiegel Arthur, ˜˜Talent Scout,™™ Human Resource Executive, June 2,
11. Charles Fishman, ˜˜Whole Foods Is All Teams,™™ Fast Company, April
12. Quality Now, Staf¬ng.org Metrics Update e-newsletter, January 8, 2003.
13. Richard Hackman and Greg R. Oldham, Work Redesign (Reading,
Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1980).
14. Edward E. Lawler III, Treat People Right! How Organizations and Individ-
uals Can Propel Each Other into a Virtual Spiral of Success (San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass, 2003).
15. Leigh Branham, ˜˜Guidelines for Better Delegation and Empower-
ment™™ (Retention Practice 18: Give Autonomy and Reward Initia-
tive), in Leigh Branham, Keeping the People Who Keep You in Business:
24 Ways to Hang On to Your Most Valuable Talent (New York: AMA-
COM, 2001).


Reason 3:
Too Little Coaching and
The manager needs to look
at the employee not as a
problem to be solved, but
as a person to be

— ”N©§¬ N©¬®

that lack of performance coaching and
Just in case you need more evidence
feedback is a major cause of employee disengagement and turnover, here
are some survey results to consider:

• The number one cause of performance problems in 60 percent of
companies is poor or insuf¬cient feedback from supervisors.1
• A survey of 1,149 people at seventy-nine different companies found
that manager feedback and coaching skills were consistently rated as
• Forty-one percent of employees believe their managers have no ef-
fect whatsoever on their performance, and 14 percent said their man-
ager actually made the job harder.3
• Only 39 percent of managers said that their company is very effective
at providing candid feedback.4
• Only 35 percent of workers identi¬ed by their companies as highly
talented feel the company tells them openly and candidly where they
It has been estimated that approximately 50 percent of the nonper-
formance problems in business occur because of the lack of feedback, and
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about 50 percent of what appear to be motivational problems in business
are actually feedback problems.6
Saratoga™s post-exit survey comments of voluntarily departed employ-
ees testify to the role that lack of feedback and coaching played in their
decisions to leave:

• ˜˜Not enough feedback from supervisors.™™
• ˜˜There is not much feedback on job performance.™™
• ˜˜Managers need to coach employees.™™
• ˜˜There is no feedback from any of the supervisors on how jobs are
being done.™™
• ˜˜In my three years of working at XYZ Company, I never had a job
description or an evaluation.™™
• ˜˜ABC Company needs to pay a lot more attention to letting employ-
ees know how they perform.™™
• ˜˜As an employer, XYZ Company doesn™t keep its employees up-
dated enough on their errors, so that we know where we stand in
our positions. We don™t know what we™ve done wrong until an error
is made because we aren™t noti¬ed of process changes ahead of time.™™
• ˜˜Management needs to take a little more time to explain what they
expect so I would be more inclined to work and perform.™™
• ˜˜The formal performance evaluations are geared more towards the
number of mistakes rather than the number of positive contribu-
• ˜˜Managers are never around, never seem to keep up on reviews, and
pay increases always seem to be delayed.™™
• ˜˜Managers don™t handle issues with troubled employees well. They
seem to not like confrontation with employees who don™t produce
or don™t give good customer service.™™
• ˜˜This company tends to have managers who are more involved in
the small time politics of the workplace rather than rewarding and
disciplining based on performance. There have been times when su-
pervisors have acted in a vindictive, self-serving manner.™™
• ˜˜Managers should start following up with disciplinary measures for
those who blatantly disregard the rules.™™
• ˜˜The company will bend over backwards to keep employees that are
performing below average.™™

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

• ˜˜ABC Company does not expeditiously hire, discipline, or terminate
• ˜˜XYZ Company must pay more attention to letting employees
know how they perform.™™
• ˜˜They tell you everything you do wrong and nothing you do right.™™
• ˜˜I™m not sure that this statement applies to all of ABC Company, but
as far as the of¬ce I work in, they dwell too much on what an em-
ployee does wrong, far more than what an employee does right.™™
• ˜˜XYZ Company needs to address negative issues of employees be-
cause these negative issues affect the department as a whole.™™
• ˜˜ABC Company does not communicate expectations, provide
timely feedback, or conduct timely performance evaluations. There
is also a lack of trust between employees and management.™™
• ˜˜Performance reviews are given out on a whim, it seems.™™
• ˜˜I feel like nobody cares about the work I am doing.™™

These comments provide ample evidence that opportunities to build
competence, trust, hope, and worth through coaching and feedback have
been lost. They also reveal several underlying problems:

• Many managers are not paying attention to the people they supervise.
• Performance feedback is occurring irregularly or not happening at
• Basic expectations and changes in work procedures are not being
• Nonperformance is not being addressed.
• Too much emphasis is being placed on criticism and not enough on
• Managers are allowing themselves to be in¬‚uenced by politics, favor-
itism, and other factors besides objective performance.
• Employees themselves may be reluctant to seek feedback.

Why Coaching and Feedback Are Important to
Engagement and Retention
Performance coaching and feedback is essential for employees because it
helps them to answer four basic questions:

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1. Where are we going as a company?


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