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• Respond honestly on employee surveys”point out how the actions
of senior leaders do not match their words and professed values. De-
scribe speci¬c instances of management behavior that have created
distrust or caused you to lose con¬dence.
• Speak up in meetings and express your convictions ¬rmly.
• If you are asked to take part in something unethical or dishonest,
refuse to go along, report it to a superior, or be prepared to resign.
• Be willing to take the risk of counseling your manager against taking
an action that is unethical and will damage the company™s reputation.
• When a leader or manager puts trust and con¬dence in you by giving
you the freedom to do the job without constant oversight, be pre-
pared to take the initiative.
• Show that you are interested in having an ˜˜ownership mentality.™™
Learn how the business makes money and what you can do to make
it more pro¬table and perhaps share more in that pro¬tability.
• Earn your manager™s trust by constantly looking for ways to take the
initiative to meet customers™ needs or by improving your own skills
so that managers will trust you to handle new challenges.
• Give new leaders the bene¬t of the doubt. Give them time to com-
municate and begin to execute their new vision before judging it to
be unworthy of following.
• If you feel called to become a leader yourself, resolve to do every-
thing in your power to gain and keep the trust and con¬dence of
your employees.

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

Employer-of-Choice Engagement Practices Review
and Checklist
Do senior leaders in your organization do what it takes to build trust and
con¬dence among employees? Review the engagement practices presented
in this chapter and check the ones you believe your organization needs to
implement or improve.

To Inspire Trust and Con¬dence in Senior Leaders:

52. Inspire con¬dence in a clear vision, a workable plan, and the com-
petence to achieve it.
53. Back up words with actions.
54. Demonstrate trust and con¬dence in your workforce.

1. Research study cited by Rachel King, in ˜˜Great Things Are Starting
at Yum,™™ Workforce Management, November 2003.
2. The Gallup Organization, 2002.
3. ˜˜CEO Compensation Practices in the S&P,™™ Watson Wyatt survey, 2002.
4. Mercer Consulting, ˜˜2002 People at Work Survey,™™ 2002.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
7. ˜˜Executive Excess 2003: CEOs Win; Workers and Taxpayers Lose,™™ a
report by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Econ-
omy, 2003.
8. Amy Kover, ˜˜Dick Kovacevich Does It His Way,™™ Fortune, May 15,
9. Chuck Salter, ˜˜And Now the Hard Part,™™ Fast Company, May 2004.
10. Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and
Others Don™t (New York: Harper Business, 2001).
11. Ibid.
12. Salter, ˜˜And Now the Hard Part.™™
13. Pamela Babcock, ˜˜Is Your Company Two-Faced,™™ HR Magazine,
January 2004.

R® #·: L ¦ Tµ ®¤ C®¦©¤® ©® S®© L¤ 195

14. George Anders, ˜˜Honesty Is the Best Policy”Trust Us,™™ Fast Com-
pany, August 2000.
15. Lance H. Secretan, Reclaiming Higher Ground: Building Organizations
That Inspire Excellence™™ (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997).
16. Chuck Hutchcraft, ˜˜Toro Chairman Sows Seeds of Restructuring,™™
The Chicago Tribune, November 21, 1995.
17. Carol Hymowitz, ˜˜Bosses Need to Learn Whether They Inspire, or
Just Drive, Staffers,™™ Wall Street Journal, February 18, 1999.
18. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Respect: An Explanation (New York: Perseus
Books, 1999).


Planning to Become an
Employer of Choice
The great French Marshall
Lyautey once asked his
gardener to plant a tree.
The gardener objected that
the tree was slow-growing
and would not reach
maturity for 100 years. The
Marshall replied, ˜˜In that
case, there is no time to
lose; plant it this

— ”J® F. K®®¤

In February 2004, senior executives polled by McKinsey Consulting reported
that their ˜˜most pressing concern,™™ other than the overall economic cli-
mate, was ˜˜hiring and retaining talent.™™1 Even after several years of slow
labor-market activity, it seems that most company leaders still appreciated
the need to focus on talent acquisition and retention as a key imperative.
When the competition for talent gets heated, many companies begin
to scramble and cast about for ideas on how to stop the bleeding. Some
just put more time and money into their recruiting efforts, which has been
likened to speeding up the pace of the blood transfusion while the patient
is bleeding to death.
Many companies know they need to stop the bleeding ¬rst, but in their
search for answers, it seems not to have occurred to them to look for the
root causes. Instead, in many cases the CEO asks the HR department to
do something about the turnover problem, and the search begins for ˜˜what
P¬®®©®§  B ® E°¬ ¦ C© 197

other companies are doing.™™ The only problem with that approach is that
the practices that ¬t the business strategies of other companies may not ¬t
your company.
For example, it may not be appropriate to implement engagement
practice 2”increase hiring from pool of temps, adjunct staff, and part-
time workers”if there are already too many of these workers in the com-
pany. In such a situation, customer service may begin to suffer because
there are too many temps and part-timers, and not enough full-time em-
ployees with solid customer service experience. Increasing hiring from
within (engagement practice 6) may not be advisable for companies
that are pursuing a business strategy focused on innovation and product
development and already know they don™t have enough innovators and
product developers currently on board.
Yet the instinct to ¬nd out what other companies are doing and copy-
cat their practices is irresistible to many conscientious professionals. I can
even recall seeing several articles in the late 1990s that listed the ˜˜top 20
effective retention strategies™™ in broad terms, like this:

1. Training
2. Flexible work arrangements
3. Tuition reimbursement
4. Sabbaticals
5. Extended parent leave

and so on through all twenty items on the list.
First of all, these are not strategies. Second, they may not be the right
practices for your company. And third, these lists are usually dominated by
pay-and-bene¬t practices and typically feature very few intangibles”
cultural or management practices, which, as we know, may have a much
bigger impact.
Part of the problem is that it is more tempting to select short-term,
tangible practices over long-term, intangible ones (see Figure 11-1). Being
only human, we prefer short-term solutions to long-term ones. Besides,
we are impatient to get results and believe we need to score a quick success.
Likewise, the intangible stuff seems just too soft, too squishy, too hard to
implement, and too dif¬cult to change in a reasonable time frame. Or so
the thinking goes.
Actually, there is plenty of evidence now, such as Gallup™s study of
80,000 managers,2 to support the conclusion that the greatest drivers of
employee engagement and retention are intangible”mostly related to the

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

Figure 11-1.
Four strategic EOC options.

• Base Pay • Stock Options
• Yearly Incentives • Profit-Sharing Plans

• Health Insurance • Pension/401(k)

• Work-Life Benefits • Work Climate/Culture
• Hiring Practices • Supervisor Behavior

• New Hire Engagement • Trust in Leaders

way a manager treats employees. In fact, in reviewing the list of 54 engage-
ment practices in Appendix A, you will see that most of them are intangi-
ble, and within the power of the manager to implement. In the end, it
doesn™t matter whether they are short-term, long-term, tangible, or intan-
gible. What matters is whether they are the right practices for your current
So, as you consider the 54 engagement practices in this book, think of
them as items in a cafeteria. Some you have already tried and found satisfac-
tory. The ones you have not tried and now choose to put on your tray may
be few, but they will be the right ones.

Talent Engagement Strategies in Action
The strategies companies use to engage their workers depend not only on
their business strategies, but also on the size and complexity of the organi-
zation and its workforce. Here are several examples of companies big and
small that are implementing talent selection and engagement strategies dif-
ferently, but successfully:

United Parcel Service
The Challenge: Engaging and retaining the young, mostly-part-time work-
ers that load, unload, and sort packages in the company™s 270,000 square-
P¬®®©®§  B ® E°¬ ¦ C© 199

foot Buffalo, New York distribution center. In 1998, the turnover rate was
50 percent, creating customer service disruptions and proving to be costly
in several ways.

Strategic Actions: The new district manager, Jennifer Shroeger, created a
¬ve-part strategic plan, as follows:

1. Meet the expectations of applicants. Instead of hiring anybody that
walked in the door, which it had been doing, UPS started asking
applicants if they were hoping for full-time jobs. If the answer was
˜˜yes,™™ then they were probably going to be disappointed at some
point, because full-time jobs rarely open up. It usually takes six years
to work up to a full-time driver™s job. ˜˜I can™t hire workers who
want full-time work if there aren™t any full-time jobs,™™ Shroeger
said. Instead, the company sold part-time work for what it was”
short, ¬‚exible shifts that could ¬t the schedules of students from the
many colleges in the area.
2. Communicate differently to different groups of workers. To better under-
stand the needs of her entire workforce, Shroeger analyzed informa-
tion that broke down the worker population into ¬ve distinctive
groups, closely paralleling their age and the stage of their careers.
She realized that those older than 35 valued different motivators
than their younger coworkers. Understanding these differences, the
company tailored its recruiting and re-recruiting messages accord-
3. Take better care of the new hires. To make the warehouse environment
less intimidating to new hires, UPS improved the lighting, upgraded
the break rooms, and installed more personal computers on the
¬‚oor, which provided access to training materials and human re-
source information on the company™s intranet. The best part-time
supervisors became trainers, spending a week shadowing new
workers. Shroeger initiated an employee-retention committee,
composed of both managers and hourly workers, to track new hires
through their ¬rst few weeks on the job and ¬x small problems
before they become bigger ones. The committee also plans fun so-
cial activities, such as after-hours baseball games and ¬‚oor-wide
˜˜super-loader™™ contests.
4. Give supervisors the freedom and training to manage people their own way.
The company lets managers ¬gure out their own best way of moti-
vating different workers. Supervisors also complete training in how
The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

to handle dif¬cult situations and respond to different career ques-
tions. They also learn how to have more ¬‚exibility with students
and moms, who have frequent changes in their schedules, and are
challenged to ¬nd out and remember something about the personal
lives of workers.
5. Let them move on with new skills and good will. Shroeger realizes that
young, part-time workers are going to move on with their lives.


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