Why Your Employees Are Quitting - And How to Keep Them
Yesterday marked my 5-year anniversary at MATRIX. Crazy how time flies. I still vividly remember my first day. Newly married with a fresh fade, rocking a new shirt from Thomas Pink and glowing from two weeks relaxing in the Tulum sun. As I walked in that day, I approached my new challenge with the same naivety and confidence I had on my first day of 9th grade. Fast track five years and it is humbling to reflect on what we have accomplished, how I have grown personally, and the relationships I have built. However, one accomplishment we often overlook here at MATRIX is pretty special. And that is our culture of retention.
I am going to start this with a confession. Last week, one of our key, perennial top performing recruiters resigned. It hurt. "Hmm....", you say. "Interesting way to start a blog claiming to have insightful tips on retention." Actually, it is. When you start to understand the context, it becomes, "oh wow." Because that resignation last week was only the fourth voluntary resignation we have had in our Dallas recruiting organization over the past five years. And we have a big team in Dallas, 20+ recruiters strong. If you calculate the math, that equals a 4% voluntary turnover rate. Compare that to our industry average, which many argue has the highest turnover of any professional vertical out there. If you work in our business, you get it. It is oh so common for recruiters and account managers to jump from company to company like they are playing a game of leapfrog. That's what makes what we are doing here in Dallas so special.
It is often said that employees don't quit companies, they quit managers. To a certain extent, I believe that. Therefore, here are a few tips for new and experienced managers that will help you to retain what is most important.
Care about your people.
Genuinely and deeply. Build authentic relationships. Ask questions and listen. Like any good relationship, it takes time and emotional investment. It is common for me to pray for the people on my team. And I tell them I am praying for them. Let them know they are loved. "But", you say, "I do not even like my employees, how can I genuinely care about them?" One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes gives some good advice:
“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
When you truly care, your people will know. In my experience, they will not only show loyalty but will also do whatever it takes to make the team successful.
Provide an opportunity for growth.
Many people think that has to mean a promotion but that is not true. Sure, that is often the path to growth, but it can appear in many different ways. As a manager, control what you can control. Not everyone can, or wants, to take the management path. Provide opportunities to become a SME in a specific niche and then ask the employee to share their expertise with the rest of the team. Provide an opportunity to take on new responsibilities that will give people a new challenge. Provide financial opportunity. Each year sit down with your people and show them a clear path to how they can make more money than they did in the previous year.
Many will disagree with me here, but I feel that this is a powerful way to show your authenticity. Admit when you make mistakes and share those with your teams. To an extent, I will even share my personal mistakes. There is no facade of a perfect marriage or perfect life that can turn people off and be annoying. Open up about your passions and what makes you nervous and excited. Be honest about your weaknesses. Be transparent and tell the truth. The reality of what happened yesterday may not always paint the picture you are trying to create. But, your willingness to admit that fact creates an authenticity people want to be around.
This is not an exhaustive list and is meant to give a different perspective than what you would read in the management textbooks. Also works well on retaining a beautiful wife :) Hoping to have the same outlook after my next five years at MATRIX.