Volume 47, Issue 6 - June 2012


Quitting Time
People Donít Quit CompaniesóThey Quit Managers
by Paul Bieber

You canít figure it out. With high unemployment, why are employees leaving your company? Are competitors poaching your best people? Are your benefits below par? Many personnel studies have shown that people donít quit companies, they quit managers.

Sure, people want higher pay and better benefits. But the single most important issue for employees is to be treated fairly. People want respect for the job they do, and not to be belittled or yelled at. When people feel appreciated, they work harder and more efficiently. If an employee is grumbling about the chewing-out he just received, he wonít get back to work for an hour, not until after he has shared his complaint with everyone in his department. Employees who love coming to work donít leave their jobs, and they donít love coming to work just because a job is easy. Good employees want to be challenged and praised when they are successful.

Manager Frustration
I know how frustrating it is for a manager; some days you just want to pick up Ed Employee and shake him until he understands the right way to do something. But this isnít Edís fault. It is always the managerís faultófor not teaching well, for not understanding Edís capabilities, or for keeping Ed employed in your glass shop when he canít or wonít do what you need. Yelling at Ed is not only a waste of time; it is counter-productive to efficiency in your shop.

How do you learn about a manager who may not be helping your company? The best way is to conduct an exit interview with everyone voluntarily leaving your company. No exceptions. Learn what they liked about your company and what needs improvement. Ask why they left and donít get into an argument with them. Just let them speak. Leaving any job is traumatic for Ed Employee. If you didnít see it coming, your internal feedback system, the basic employee review, is out of whack. If Mike Manager doesnít pick up that Ed is unhappy, you should be unhappy with Mike. If you are uncomfortable doing the exit interview, ask your office manager, your accountant or even your best friend to come in. Donít let the opportunity pass. You have lost an employee; the only good that can come out of this is improving the relationships with other employees.

Ed Employee may not want to speak in an exit interview; you canít force this. You may hear, ďYou didnít care about my opinion when I was on the payroll. Now youíll listen?Ē All you can say is that you hope to improve by listening to Ed.

Is Mike having a tough time holding on to people? When you spot a trend, speak with him about it. What kind of problems is he having? Work with Mike and understand his management style and his interactions with his people. How is it different from other managers on your team?

If your ďquit rateĒ is higher than 10 percent of your workforce, you have a problem. You are spending a small fortune on hiring and training, and then doing it all over again. If the voluntary resignations are not concentrated in one area of your glass company, then look at yourself. Are you setting the tone that treats employees like used furniture? What can you do? Bring in a trusted advisor or a professional to advise you. And listen to the advice. And donít just consider the glass operations. If your office or sales staff is turning over, you have a problem there, too.

The best assets your glass shop has walk out the door every night. Give these assets all of the preventive maintenance you give your glass edger or your truck!

Paul Bieber has 30 years in the glass industry, including 21 years as the executive vice president of Floral Glass in Hauppauge, N.Y., from which he retired in 2005. You can read his blog on Tuesdays at http://usgpaul.usglassmag.com.

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