7 Things Your Employees Think About You (But Would Never Say)

Have you stopped to consider that your employees may talk about you the way you used to talk about your boss?

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You have an open door policy, so of course your employees come to you and tell you everything that bothers them, and you work together to fix it. All in all, it’s a blissful place to work.

So why is your turnover through the roof? Because open door policy or not, it’s highly unlikely that your employees are telling you everything you need to know. Here are 7 things that your employees may be thinking, and what you should do about it.

You’re underpaying them. Are you sure this statement isn’t true? When you hired each of your employees, you negotiated a salary based on their skills, your needs, and the market demands. It was fair then, so isn’t it fair now? Maybe, maybe not.

The Fix? Pay attention to the market. If they could make more money elsewhere, you’re underpaying. If it would cost you $5,000 more to replace someone, you’re underpaying that person.

You never listen to their ideas. You’re the idea person. Your idea to start the company. Your idea to hire. It’s your ideas that made their jobs possible. All that is true. But, you hired them because you needed them and their ideas. Are you listening? And by listening I mean actually considering their ideas.

The Fix? Show you are listening by actually studying out (or asking them to study out and present) what the ROI would be on that particular idea. Maybe you’ll find some good ones.

You need to fire someone. Employees hate it when bosses ignore bad (or incompetent) behavior exhibited by their coworkers. It causes a tremendous strain on the office, lowers productivity and makes for generally unpleasant workforce.

The Fix? Fire the jerks.

You need to drop a client. All clients are hard earned and we all know it’s easier to maintain a relationship than it is to go out and find a new client to replace them. But many businesses have at least one client that demands more than they are paying, causes more headaches than they are worth, and makes it difficult to meet the needs of the better clients.

The Fix? Ask your employees which clients are impossible to deal with. If there’s a consensus, study out if it’s truly worth it to keep this client around.

You are a micro-manager. Do you know every aspect of everything that goes on in your business? Sounds like you’re an awesome leader, right? Wrong. Let your employees handle what they need to handle. You should be the big picture person.

The Fix? Hire the right people and let them do their jobs. This may require sitting on your hands for a few weeks until you get the hang of this.

You are too hands off. You may well be the opposite of the micro-manager, but that doesn’t mean that you’re perfect either. If you don’t have any clue what is going on, can’t give direction and suggestions, and can’t see the big picture because you don’t know where any of the puzzle pieces are, you’re too hands off.

The Fix? Regular (weekly!) one on one meetings with your direct reports. You don’t need to worry much about how things are done, but you do need to know what is being done.

Your relatives are a pain in the rear end. Your spouse who drops in just to say “Hi!” and stays for three hours, criticizes everyone’s work, and generally wreaks havoc among the staff, is not being helpful. Your (adult) child who you’ve just made VP is not capable of doing the job. She may be in the future, but too fast of a promotion doesn’t work even if there is blood involved.

The Fix? Evaluate your family members the same way you would other staff. If they aren’t being helpful, give them a (loving) kick in the pants and either bring them up to speed, or get them out the door. If it’s a relative who doesn’t work there, but simply visits, ask yourself if you’d allow one of your employee’s spouses to act this way. If the answer is no, it’s time for your spouse to stay out of the office.

Talking with your staff, keeping an eye on your own behavior, and being aware of what is going on can truly make your business the place people want to work for. And that’s good for business.

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers. Follow her at Twitter, connect with her at LinkedIn, read her blog, or send her an email@RealEvilHRLady