The Staff Actually Resigned 3Months Ago! How do you increase employee engagement?
I Am Resigning; There’s No Equity Here!
In 2005, my friends and I were awe-struck when a respected leader in our church who worked with one of the multinational oil companies announced to us that he would be resigning from the organization in a month’s time.
“Resign from an oil company with a salary of N2.5M monthly, is this man mad? What else does he want? Who else can pay him that kind of money? Why on earth would anyone want to resign from such employment? This must be the handiwork of people from his village” we concluded.
I Deserve More . . .
Observing the bewilderment on our faces, he asked, ‘how can you be paying me such an amount with all I put in and all the money the company is making? Where is the place of employee engagement here? No one even talks to me to know how i feel! Do you know the worth of my time? Do you know how much I would be making monthly if I sit back and give attention to my personal business? I am freaking tired of that job and I am officially pulling out!”
In the next few minutes, he happily informed us about his growing businesses which included a fast food restaurant, a farm and a filling station. He had established all these businesses in the past six months while still working for the oil firm. He left the company as planned and received several millions as final benefits. The company lost him and paid so dearly for it just because it didn’t do enough to increase its employee engagement practices.
He Actually Resigned Months Ago . . .!
Looking back now, I understand how he was able to achieve all of that (starting up 3 businesses) while still working for the firm. He worked part time but got paid full time all the while he mapped out and executed his exit plans at the company’s expense. Going by is action, he took advantage of the lack of equity in the company’s compensation system; an act attributable to lack of effective employee engagement and well articulated human resources management practice.
Am i by this supporting the way he acted? Not at all, far from it!
He spent good time planning. He had series of meetings with his team members, vendors, community leaders, government officials, then, his employees at different countless times while still under the employ of the oil firm!
But how did he make the time out of his hitherto tight work schedule? What did he tell them at work to secure all the absence permissions? How did he manage the negative impacts on his job? He had resigned 3months ago!
My Job Is to get Another Job
I met another young guy last year who said to me ‘Richard, my job is to get another job!’ “what about your current job?” I asked. ‘I’m technically out’ was his only response. When I probed further, I found out life’s realities changed for him since he got married a year ago but the organization he worked for was unwilling to take such realities into cognizance in relating with him. The required employee engagement processes were missing.
He got another offer and quitted 3 weeks later. He had actually resigned 3 months before then but no one knew! The case is worse in some scenarios. I have seen several of such cases in recent times with over three, this year alone. There’s no over-emphasizing the fact that a well articulated human resources management practice properly deployed is a strategic way to increase employee engagement which in turn reduces labor turnover while improving morale and productivity.
HR and Business Managers Must Increase Employee Engagement/Participation
Different things motivate different people at different stages of their lives. The onus is on the HR department to decipher these and make the best of them when deploying its motivational toolbox and this is why i always advice a one-on-one sit down session between superiors and their subordinates and then with HR. An effective employee engagement and well articulated human resources management practice is required to achieve this. A poorly motivated workforce hardly uses more than 40% of their potentials for the organization’s course.
It’s easier for people who already have jobs to get new ones. Do you know why? Their job hunting activities are usually sponsored by their current employers unknowingly. They use company time, internet, desk, connections, etc. for their job search and sometimes, key competitors poach them. You see more reasons organizations must increasing engage their workforce?
What’s my point here? Employers have a responsibility to ensure labour turnover is always at its barest minimum as it may not be zeroed. This is one of the ways to prove the healthiness of an organization.
In this age and time, it’s important for business owners and managers to see and treat their employees as strategic partners required for the achievement of set business goals. Again, strategic employee engagement and deployment of efficient human resources management practices is key.
In most growing economies (with Nigeria as an example), lots of employers take advantage of the high unemployment rate to treat their workers ‘anyhow’ because they feel there are a thousand others waiting to replace anyone that resigns.
That’s not only ethically wrong; it doesn’t make good business sense! You can’t have consistent policies with inconsistent people to execute them. No organization succeeds that way.
The entire recruitment process is expensive; getting the right candidate, setting up the interview process, the time it takes and all that happens before the new recruit settles into his/her job properly. Importantly, you can’t have total commitment and best performance from team members/employees who are with you just because there are no better options yet.
Successors tend to take precautions to avoid the fate of their predecessors especially when they got promoted to succeed people who left on unhappy grounds. They tend to strike and run before the organization stops them. Who won’t, anyway? But if you can get them to a round table to ask questions and receive answers through proper processes, they will feel increasingly engaged and therefore do better on their jobs.
I remember how my HOD in the university; who taught us a core HR course then, would always bring our attention to a particular private university in Nigeria owned by a religious organization. The university had vacancy adverts coming out almost every month, not for new positions. What happened to the people recruited last month? We would ask. Bad management practices won’t let them stay; he would tell us.
The lecturer then made a point I won’t forget in a hurry; “since lecturers know how the management of the school operates, they only take the jobs when they need to quickly sort some things out. People go there for ‘transit jobs’, you write your resignation letter the day you resume and present it to them a week before you take off”.
Very sad! Imagine how wasteful that is. The school eventually realized its mistake, made a change and today, it’s one of the best in the country.
Do you want your team members or employees to be truly loyal and work with you till they really resign if they have to? Understand that they have needs to be met just the way the organization does.
When you are committed to their needs (within your scope), you won’t need to pay them for doing nothing while they are still ‘officially’ with you but ‘technically’ gone. They won’t resign 3 months before you are informed! Ordinarily, people shouldn’t resign before they ‘resign’.
Ways To Increase Employee Engagement
Always remember the statement “Every business decision has human implications and every human decision has business implications”.
Here are a few things that help maintain people’s commitment to organizations:
- A good sense of belonging
- Shared authority (allow team members/employees make contributions when taking decisions that concern their work and life).
- Good and impartial rewards.
- Opportunities for personal development.
- Understanding what motivates them (and using it positively).
- Freedom to a private life – let them live their lives. Don’t mix personal and official things together. Only God has full control of us all.
- Lead people, don’t drive them.
No decision to quit, disengage, resign, etc. was ever made in isolation. It’s always a result of several little things put together over time at the appearance of another option.
Increased Employee Engagement Will Increase Productivity And Morale
Unhappy employees are hardly on their seats to do the company’s work & hardly concentrate when they do
On a final note, never let the drive for the achievement of your goals cause you to undermine other people’s quest to fulfill theirs. The fulfillment of our dreams are interwoven and the reason is simple; people are your opportunities, everything you need are in/with people!
About the author
Richard Uwamari – Richardizm is a certified management consultant and leads the team at hrm2day.com. He is also the consulting partner at Richystar Consulting limited, a management consulting firm based in Lagos Nigeria.
Having been in the HR industry for over a decade now, with experience in several areas in the field, he’s contributed his expertise in servicing several local and international organizations. Asides his great knowledge in other areas of the management consulting field, Richard remains one of the best names to mention when it comes to employee engagement.