5 Signs You’re in a Dead-End Relationship With Your Employees and What to Do About It

Paul Simon knew, there must be “50 Ways to Leave your Lover”. But painful relationships are not confined to romance; they occur in today’s workplace, surfacing as disengagement and apathy in the daily grind of work. They also can be avoided. If we recognize the signs of a dead end employer-employee relationship and what workforce strategies employers can launch, we can bring the magic back.

Bringing the Magic Back to Workforce Strategy

Unless you’re from the future, you employ people not robots. So the five symptoms of a dead end employer-employee relationship are similar to romantic human relationships stuck in neutral and going nowhere.

  1. Boredom

Really look at your employees while working. Do they look like they would rather be somewhere, anywhere, else? If your employees lack the enthusiasm to care, the job is misaligned, or the managers do not have the skills to motivate. Boredom is your red flag that productivity in the company is about to decline. Don’t count on Employee ROI going higher this quarter. Or get some robots.

  1. Frustration

Is the team with you, or opposing you at every turn? Resistance means managers and employees are not on the same wavelength when it comes to workforce strategy. Successful companies leverage impatience into urgency to drive change and excitement in the work. Impatience is not frustration. Playing devil’s advocate or pushing for continuous improvement is not the same as feeling annoyed or angry that underpins contempt. In many situations, frustration also signals a lack of cohesiveness among peers. Not a problem with robots. Just saying.

  1. Cheating

Often covert, lack of desire to work together manifests in many ways. A manager may long to recruit other people or fail to advocate for their direct reports to get new projects. Alternately, employees look for greener grass and start quietly plying their networks for new opportunities. Many times, workers are provoked to look elsewhere out of fear or lack of trust in their employer. Signs of an employee’s drop in loyalty in a hot job market include searching for open positions on the sly  during lunchtime or unexplained absences are a major sign their job is about to get dumped.

  1. Isolation

Avoiding communication with a manager is a fire alarm that the good will has stopped flowing within the workforce strategy. While some amount of workplace communications inevitably fail due to time constraints, voicemail, emails, text messages, and meeting requests that consistently receive no response show a lack of commitment. If you hear nothing, say something.

  1. Unclear future

During performance appraisals, a conversation based solely on the past reinforces an employee who does not have future in the company. Employees who are hard pressed to articulate a career trajectory at the organization may feel stuck. People don’t like to feel stuck for long, so they leave. In those cases, the career path may be too near sighted to illustrate a future employee-employer relationship. And clearly, the future is robots.


Workforce Strategy Employee Retention Idea #44: Get Specific

Many companies attempt to use employee surveys and end up confused or overwhelmed, leading them to question if surveys really work. Many are concerned about employees responding truthfully or at all. Other fear that surveys may adeptly identify problems without leading to solutions. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

Employee surveys are a delicate art that, when done correctly, will point companies to the right workforce strategy. The key is in phrasing the question the right way. Keep your questions as direct, clean, and simple as possible to gauge where exactly the gaps are when it comes to productivity and trust. Try breaking down each question to its smallest units instead of using long, descriptive questions that get at multiple items. Retensa took years to hone a validated commitment survey because every nuance matters. Relationships in and out of the workplace are all about the details; if a problem can be located, a workforce strategy solution can be crafted.

To get out of employee relationship gridlock, email requests@retensa.com to speak with a survey specialist. We’re here to bring the love back, one survey at a time.


Linking Workforce Strategy & Customer Satisfaction

Workforce strategy isn’t just an internal tool; it can prevent your customer relationships from dissolving.

Workforce Strategy that Builds Customer Trust and Loyalty

“Many customers believe that their satisfaction with a particular vendor hinges on a single key employee.” – Neeli Bendapudi & Robert Leone, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 79. No. 1

To maximize customer satisfaction, the relationship optimally should go beyond the customer’s fondness for one specific employee. Trust and loyalty thrive when customers feel that the quality of service is a result of the efforts of many people, not just their point of contact. If your customer’s key contact leaves the firm or is promoted, the client must be aware that there will not be a gap in services, and that their products or service will continue seamlessly.

The customer’s key contact possesses special knowledge about their needs. However, this contact often does not share the nuances of the client relationship with other members of his team or his replacement when leaving. If the new contact does not provide consistent messages or provide the same level of attention as his predecessor, the customer may feel slighted and uncertain about the level of service that your organization provides (this is where good Customer Relationship Management notes are leveraged). The trust that has built up over time can be shattered quickly if the client’s new contact does not demonstrate the same level of expertise previously provided.

Client-Company vs. Client-Employee Relationships

It is important to ensure that your client can rely on more than one person from your organization to deliver their desired results. According to Bendapudi and Leone, in a Harvard Business Review article, “How to Lose Your Star Performer without Losing Customers, Too,” giving a client the opportunity to interact with several of your employees will dispel any notion that his key contact is indispensable. This will minimize the risk of the resigning employee taking your organization’s valued clients onto his next endeavor. By articulating the expertise of all of your employees rather than specific people, the client will associate the value of your services with the organization as a whole.

Additionally, by engaging your clients in transition processes or future planning, you can limit mistakes, productivity drops, and undue stress. It is often mistaken that a quick and discourteous remark about the departed star employee is the communication of choice, but being told that the person they were provided was inferior does not make the company look any better. Being open and clear about the changes in a client’s support team and emphasizing the capability of new personnel is the most effective approach.

For guidance on workforce strategy that boosts customer loyalty and satisfaction, email requests@retensa.com.