I Knew It Was Time To Leave When…

This series is dedicated to members of management.

Remember that old-fashion concept of employee engagement? The economy collapsed, companies let go of good people, and then you worked your remaining employees harder. Sometimes you forgot pleasantries like “please” and “thank you.” In the worst case, you worked them like dogs while treating them like they were part of the furniture. You expected incredible performance from them while they picked up additional responsibilities to pick up the slack of the people you let go. You probably thought the concept of engagement went away, right? I mean, who cares if employees are engaged when the economy is in the crapper? Where are  they gonna go?

Wrong. Very wrong. As the economy rebounds, every selfish or poorly communicated action on the part of leadership and individual managers will come back to bite organizations in their collective asses.

How do I know? I asked people about their past job experiences. The past is the greatest predictor of the future. For years I’ve conducted employee surveys and focus groups, and some people told me this: “As much as I’d like to be honest, I am NOT going to say anything negative for fear that it will come back to bite me in the bum.”

So this time I asked a simple question using various social media outlets such as Facebook and LinkedIn. I am not the boss of these people, and I am not a recognized leader in their organizations. I am just a guy communicating via social media. I cannot help or hurt their careers. People had nothing to lose by being honest.

Here’s what I asked:

Relationships either grow or end. Employment is a relationship. I’d love to hear about a job you left; specifically, I’m in interested in that moment when you knew that relationship was over. What was going on at work? What pushed you over the edge?

Finish this statement: “I knew it was time to leave…

Over the next several days, I will share some insights and quotes from people from across the world. Still don’t think that employee engagement is important? Listen to what people said about jobs they left in the past, and ask yourself this: I WONDER IF ANY OF MY EMPLOYEES FEEL THIS WAY AND PLAN TO LEAVE WHEN THE ECONOMY IMPROVES? Then for fun, ask yourself if any of your superstars feel this way.

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