Questionable Things Business Leaders Do to Retain Their Employees

3 min read
Aug 16, 2016

employee retention gone wrong

Employee retention is important — there’s no doubt about that. But it’s one thing for your employees to decide to stick around because they love working for your company. It’s a whole different thing to keep your employees on board artificially.

Believe it or not, there are a number of questionable tactics managers and CEOs employ to keep their employees working for them. Here are six of them that you should avoid:


01. Treat workers differently

Let’s say one of your strongest employees is having second thoughts about whether they really want to continue working at your company. Your organization has a strict work-in-the-office policy. Yet to keep the employee on board, you decide to bend the rules to allow the individual to work from home whenever they feel like it.

While you might have succeeded in convincing the employee to stick around, there’s a good chance you’ve irritated the rest of your staff with obvious preferential treatment.


02. Agree not to hire from companies in the same town


CEOs in the same town may collude with one another, promising not to hire folks who work for one another’s companies. Instead of foregoing the opportunity to hire the best workers in the area, wouldn’t you be better off doing everything within your power to make your company a fantastic place to work?


03. Promise raises

In today’s difficult economic climate, many organizations are deciding to skip giving raises. In some instances, they don’t have the cash. In other instances, they’re using the economy as an excuse to be stingy. Employees work because they like what they do. But they also work because they need money. In fact, according to our Employee Engagement Report, 25% of workers would leave their jobs for a 10% raise. If you’re not planning on bumping your staff’s salaries anytime soon, don’t give them false hope.


04. Promise promotions

Similarly, many of today’s employees place a strong emphasis on career development — which means they’re interested in climbing the corporate ladder. If you’re not planning on following through with it, don’t promise your employees that you’ll promote them sometime down the line just to keep them around.


05. Promote people who don’t deserve it


Sometimes managers decide that they like an employee so much that they promote them to keep them happy and engaged. Unfortunately, if the employee isn’t really management material, the move backfires considerably. Sure, the employee sticks around — at least over the next few months. But in the interim, team morale drops measurably.


06. Aggressive noncompete clauses

Earlier this year, Jimmy John’s — a chain of sandwich shops — announced it would stop making its low-level employees sign noncompete clauses, as noted by the Wall Street Journal. Prior to that announcement, employees — including teenagers — who made sandwiches at Jimmy John’s weren’t able to take a gig at a competing place, like Subway. Law360, a legal publisher, recently announced it too was discontinuing its noncompete clauses for junior-level employees, as reported by the WSJ. While noncompetes are understandable in certain instances, ones that are too aggressive are simply unfair, as evidenced by these two cases.

Instead of doing questionable things to keep your employees on board, you’re much better off building a strong company that helps workers reach their full potential. Do that, and you won’t have to worry about retaining your employees. They won’t think about leaving in the first place.



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