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each department and employee.
• Share articles that you read about the company, industry trends, and
• Give brie¬ngs about upcoming events that may impact employees™
career options.
• Share information as soon as you possibly can to nip rumors in the
• Share information face-to-face when possible.
• There will be times when information is con¬dential, proprietary, or
otherwise sensitive, and you will not be able to share it. Those times
will be the exception, however, not the rule.

One ¬nal reminder, the more valuable and productive the employees,
the more they want to be kept in the loop.

Engagement Practice 45:
Give Employees the Right Tools and Resources
Many employees are drawn to organizations by anticipation of great rela-
tionships with their manager and colleagues. Yet, in one survey, 44 percent
felt they were not given the tools and resources needed to succeed in their
¬rst days on the job.23
Whether it™s something as simple as a hotel manager making sure the
kitchen workers have better knives, or a high tech company having the
latest hardware, it™s obvious that people need the right tools to do the job.
When they don™t get those tools they need, it™s not just that they become
less productive. They also feel less important.
We may look to save money on hardware, software, furniture, and
equipment, but if we are thinking of them as costs only, we are being
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shortsighted. The right tools at the right time are investments”not only in
productivity, but in sending a message to our employees that they are worth
Hal Rosenbluth, whose company, Rosenbluth Travel, depends on hav-
ing the right technologies in place, believes in ˜˜continually reinvesting in
technology, both in terms of people and the tools they need to stretch their
talents beyond traditional limits. By the way, let them choose the tools they
need.™™24 The law ¬rm, Alston & Bird, selected in 2004 as one of Fortune™s
100 best places in America to work, was also selected as the ˜˜most wired™™
law ¬rm in America in a survey by American Lawyer. The ¬rm makes sure
that all associates have all the wireless devices they need for staying in touch
while away from the of¬ce.25 Among Generations X and Y in particular,
being able to perform their jobs while maintaining some semblance of life-
style ¬‚exibility, is a value of prime importance. Over and above the practi-
cal aspect, having the right connectivity devices also makes employees feel
vital to the organization.
If you are not sure what tools and resources to provide employees,
simply ask. Send out a monthly e-mail survey asking the question, ˜˜What
do you need that would make you more effective in your job?™™ If you™re
not sure whether it™s worth the expenditure, ask employees to present the
business case for the purchase, showing how the new tool would pay off in
the long run.
Many of the things employees need to be more effective are easy and
inexpensive to supply, and when you respond quickly, it builds even more

Engagement Practice 46:
Keep the Physical Environment Fit to Work In
This one is so basic, you wouldn™t think it would need mentioning, but
time and again, departing employees complain of cramped, noisy, hot, cold,
messy, dirty, noxious, or unsafe conditions. Ask yourself, ˜˜how would I
like to work where my employees work?™™ Go to their workstations and
spend some time talking with them about what in their physical surround-
ings could be improved. As with tools and resources, you may be surprised
by how easy some solutions are”a fan, a heater, an occasional cleaning
may be all that™s needed.
The environment you provide for your workers tells them how much
you value them. When Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn designed a
new hotel, he decided to spend the same amount of money per square foot
to build the employee cafeteria as he spent on the hotel coffee shop. Wynn
The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

also decorated the back corridors that employees use in the same bright and
cheery colors he used to decorate the guest corridors. Again, the message
he sent was ˜˜you are important, you are worth it . . . because if you are
happy, you will take care of the customer.™™

What Employees Can Do to Be More Valued and
Better Recognized
There may be good reason why some employees don™t feel valued or rec-
ognized”perhaps they have not made themselves as valuable to the busi-
ness as they think they have. Research has consistently shown that the vast
majority of employees feel underpaid and believe they are in the top 25
percent of all performers, which, of course, cannot be the case. This means
that many employees have an in¬‚ated view of their value or that they feel
unduly entitled to receive what they have not earned.
Here then are some guidelines for employees for getting more recogni-
tion and pay:

• Ask your manager to de¬ne what results are required for excellence
in your job.
• Ask yourself if you are willing to work hard and pay the price to
achieve those results.
• Ask what criteria are used to determine bonuses and raises.
• Ask yourself if you are willing to put more of your pay at risk, to be
paid bonuses based on achieving targeted results rather than getting
annual pay raises.
• If so, make them part of your performance plan and commit to
achieving them.
• Compete against yourself to achieve key results, not against your
• Ask what new skills would make your more valuable to the organiza-
• Tell your manager how you prefer to be recognized for your contri-
• Ask to sit in on a sales call with a satis¬ed customer to better under-
stand the value of your job.
• Present a cost-bene¬t analysis to your manager making the case for
the purchase of tools and equipment you believe you need.

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• If you feel you are being kept out of the loop, ask for more informa-
• Don™t wait for your manager to ask for your input”give him or her
the bene¬t of your views and ideas.

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 Make Employees Feel Valued and Recognized:
36. Offer competitive base pay linked to value creation.
37. Reward results with variable pay aligned with business goals.
38. Reward employees at a high enough level to motivate higher per-
39. Use cash payouts for on-the-spot recognition.
40. Involve employees and encourage two-way communication when
designing new pay systems.
41. Monitor the pay system to ensure fairness, ef¬ciency, consistency,
and accuracy.
42. Create a culture of informal recognition founded on appreciation.
43. Make new hires feel welcome and important.
44. Ask for employee input, then listen, and respond.
45. Keep employees in the loop.
46. Give them the right tools and resources.
47. Keep the physical environment ¬t to work in.

1. Patricia K. Zingheim and Jay R. Schuster, Pay People Right! Break-
through Reward Strategies to Create Great Companies (San Francisco: Jos-
sey-Bass, 2000).
2. Ibid.
3. Ruth Baum Bigus, ˜˜Ownership Option Helps Curb Employee Turn-
over,™™ Kansas City Star, September 18, 2001.
4. Hara Marks, ˜˜The Future of Total Rewards,™™ HR e-source, May 14,
5. Steven Kerr, ˜˜Risky Business: The New Pay Game,™™ Fortune, July 22,

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

6. Zingheim and Schuster, op. cit.
7. Compensation study, Mercer Consulting, 2002.
8. Jeremy Handel, ˜˜Can Communication Boost Employees™ Pay Satisfac-
tion?,™™ HR Focus, July 2002.
9. Todd M. Manas and Michael Dennis Graham, Creating a Total Rewards
Strategy: A Toolkit for Designing Business-Based Plans (New York: AMA-
COM, 2002).
10. Bob Nelson, ˜˜The Top 10 Ironies of Employee Motivation Pro-
grams,™™ Employee Bene¬t News,˜˜ June 19, 2001.
11. Ibid.
12. Bob Nelson, ˜˜Why Formal Recognition Programs Don™t Work,™™ Up-
date on Employee Recognition, April 2004.
13. ˜˜Yum Stresses Trust, Recognition,™™ Work and Family Newsbrief, De-
cember 2003.
14. Diane Stafford, ˜˜A Reward Truly Worth Copying,™™ Kansas City Star,
March 25, 2004.
15. Nelson, ˜˜Why Formal Recognition Programs Don™t Work.™™
16. John Sullivan, ˜˜Walk Them Downstream: Showing Your Employees
They Make a Difference,™™ Electronic Recruiting Exchange, April 1, 2002.
17. Ruth Baum Bigus, ˜˜Orientation Program Stems New-Hire Attrition,™™
Kansas City Star, July 22, 2003.
18. Catherine D. Fyock, ˜˜Retention Tactics That Work,™™ citing Labor
Day survey by Watson-Wyatt, White Paper, Society for Human Re-
source Management, March 1998.
19. D. Michael Abrashoff, ˜˜Retention through Redemption,™™ Harvard
Business Review, February 2001.
20. Ibid.
21. Deborah S. Roberts, ˜˜Two Companies Battle High Turnover”and
Win!™™ Employee Recruitment and Retention, undated sample issue, 2000.
22. Frederick F. Reichheld, Loyalty Rules: How Today™s Leaders Build Last-
ing Relationships (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2001).
23. Barbara Morris, ˜˜The Cost of a Bad Start,™™ Marketing Magazine, Octo-
ber 27, 2003.
24. Hal F. Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin Peters, The Customer Comes
Second: And Other Secrets of Exceptional Service (New York: William
Morrow, 1992).
25. Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman, When Generations Collide
(New York: Harper Business, 2002).


Reason 6:
Stress from Overwork and
Work-Life Imbalance
What my business
experience has taught me
is that the key to
competitiveness is
innovation, and the key to
innovation is people.
Taking care of people,
therefore, is an essential
way of taking care of
”R®¤¬¬ T©, ©® ¦ E¬© L©¬¬

The thing to remember is
that, for great workplaces,
there is no shortage of
talent. Companies that are
short on talent probably
deserve to be!

— ”J¦¦ P¦¦¦

The fact of stress in corporate America is no surprise, but
it is sobering to con-
sider all the things there are to be stressed about”overwork, personality
con¬‚icts, forced overtime, disorganized supervisors, gossip, harassment,
prejudice, poor teamwork, manager abuse and insensitivity, other employ-
The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

ees who don™t pull their weight, in¬‚exible work hours, illness in the family,
child care, elder care, long commutes, sacri¬cing family dinners to stay late,
and the list goes on. The comments of Saratoga survey respondents are
poignant reminders of the frustration and con¬‚ict that takes its daily toll:

Doing More with Less
• ˜˜ABC Company does not recognize the employees that work hard
on a daily basis and take on extra responsibilities to compensate for
the lack of manpower.™™
• ˜˜XYZ Company does not employ enough staff. This results in high
stress and high turnover of employees.™™
• They were not proactive in taking care of and keeping good employ-
ees. I have watched too many good employees leave ABC Company
because they are not appreciated. The motto ˜Do more with less™ has
been taken to the extreme.
• ˜˜XYZ Company will go long periods of time without ¬lling empty
positions. This puts massive amounts of stress on the employees and
product development is sti¬‚ed.™™


• ˜˜Does not deal well at all with sexual harassment and freaky, nasty
remarks made by other employees.™™
• ˜˜Management was the worst I have ever experienced in my ¬fteen-
year nursing career. I had a death in my family, and the time was
taken from my vacation time, that was incentive enough to start
looking for another job.™™


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