How to Make Your Employees Hate You
The following is a guest post from fellow blogger Ben of The Wealth Gospel. If you’re interested in submitting a guest post, please check our guidelines on our contact page.
There seems to be a trend happening in the United States and Europe right now. More and more employees are looking for more autonomy in their professional lives. Books like The Four Hour Workweek where Timothy Ferriss discusses his journey to a life of minimal work and mini-retirements all over the globe are starting to crop up everywhere. Blogs like Mr. Money Mustache, where MMM teaches the laws of frugality and minimalism that helped him retire at age 30, are becoming more popular as well. For example, MMM’s site had over 2,000,000 views in just the first year of its existence alone.
Gone are the days when you’re just competing with other companies for the best talent. You’re now competing with their dreams. In fact, it would surprise me if you haven’t already received some requests from some of your top talent to spend a little more time working from home to get away from the inefficiency of the office. I’m not sure how you feel personally about the trend, but here are some things that a lot of you do that will surely help to keep moving it along, whether you’re a fan of it or not.
Block Internet activity
I get it. You want to minimize activities that kill productivity, and that’s really hard to control, so you focus on what you can control. But there are a few things that you don’t realize. First of all, your employees aren’t machines. It would be wonderful, at least for you, if things were the same as back in the industrial age when that was the norm. But things have changed and fatigue and burnout are more likely to happen if you don’t give your employees a little self-directed downtime. Secondly, you’re not really helping when you constantly send your employees emails asking for updates on this or that. Every time you do it, it distracts them from the task at hand and it takes a while to get focused again—and effectively killing productivity. And thirdly, if your employees want to waste time, they’ll find ways to do it. All you’re doing is telling them what they can’t do, and no one likes that, especially mature adults. And that’s really what it boils down to. We’re all adults here. Don’t treat your employees like children by enforcing restrictions on them.
Rather than piling on the restrictions of what your employees can and can’t do at work, allow them to make those choices for yourself. Enable them in that way and you might be surprised at what they do. If you have employees who are more prone to wasting time, the best solution would be to find ones who aren’t. That way you aren’t punishing your productive employees because their unproductive co-workers can’t control themselves. And if your people are getting stuff done, who cares what else they do with your arbitrarily scheduled work hours? Productivity for the sake of productivity is wasting their time and your money.
Act like a manager
Being a manager honestly isn’t really that hard. All you have to do is make sure people are doing what they’re supposed to. The problem is that no one likes managers, because all they care about is making sure people are doing what they’re supposed to. I had a manager who I’ve avoided at all costs because every time he saw me, he grilled me on what I was doing and how it was helping him look good. I hated being around him.
Instead of acting like a manager, act like a leader. It’s hard, I know, but leaders are more likely to be surrounded by productive and inspired employees. I had a manager once whose employees were fiercely loyal because he cared about each one of them. He preferred face to face contact instead of email. He always asked how our families were doing and actually remembered what we told him. He was patient and willing to coach us when we struggled with certain things, and he always made us feel like we were on the same level as him. If you want your employees to love working for you, act like a leader, not a manager.
Tighten the vacation budget
About a year ago I was interviewing for a position at one of the largest companies in the world. I was excited all along the way, until we got to the benefits discussion. Among the topics that unsettled me was their vacation allowance. They would offer two weeks (which actually translates to ten days) without any rollover at the end of the year. I was stunned. I had two weeks of vacation right out of high school when I was working at an auto parts warehouse earning $8/hr. And I got to roll over any unused vacation to the next year.
I was completely turned off. To me, the company was sending a clear message: It’s great that you want to spend quality time with your family and all, but we’d prefer for you to sell your soul to us instead. It didn’t help that the average employee there works 50-60 hour weeks. Not surprisingly, there are only a couple of people I know who actually enjoy working for that company. The rest are trying to find a way out.
And that’s just the start of the benefits discussion. If you want your top employees to stick around, try to put a little more value on what they value. Treat your benefits as an investment rather than just a cost of doing business. Your employees will definitely supply the return.
There are many other things I’m sure you do as employers that make your employees hate you, so many that I wouldn’t be able to mention all of them. But these are some of the big ones I’ve come across in my experiences. I hope you can see that there actually is a trend going on and that there is something you can do about it. Start treating your human capital with as much respect as you do your financial capital, and I’m confident you’ll be able to keep a lot of your best talent from ditching you for more independence and freedom.
Someone on the way out
Ben is a personal finance blogger who does his thing over at The Wealth Gospel. He’s passionate about helping people to stop thinking about personal finance according to the template society has created, and to find their true potential and align their behaviors with it. His favorite food is chips and salsa and his spirit animal is Warren Buffett. You can follow him on Twitter @thewealthgospel or like him on Facebook