Red flags for staff and warning signs for managers

These are things I’ve heard consistently recommended to listen out for in employers and, as such, are things to avoid as managers and leaders.

If you get the impression staff are viewed as replaceable
It’s fallacious reasoning on the part of the employer most of time. Either someone did a poor job selecting the new hire or someone has not fully calculated the cost of losing and replacing someone. The amount of time spend searching/recruitment process/retraining/reforming relationships is much larger than people realise and the lost productivity of a demotivated work force and the difference in productivity of experienced vs new staff is huge. The existence of a person with mindset within you culture is bad news and. ironically enough, the effect it will on moral and efficiency makes the sentiment only really true of people that think that of others.

One off rewards in return for unrealistic targets
This is particularly common in sales environments but can be anything. If you are trying to off set unrealistic targets with larger bonus or rewards structure then you are likely going to end up with a stressed and unhappy work force with a churn problem.

Unfulfilled promotion promises
If you don’t promote from within or have someone else more likely to be promoted faster then don’t say it. If someone has joined with the expectation of being promoted with a year or two and that doesn’t happen then they will likely leave and they may well put a review on Glassdoor/Indeed/Trust Pilot etc on the way out because they are, rightfully, angry. The could also just tell people internally and introduce the doubt in to current staff and increased the likelihood of more departures. Don’t say it if it isn’t true. If it is true, then put it in writing.

We’re always looking for new people
…is that because people keep leaving? Why are they leaving? If it’s a fast growing or well funded start up that might be true but most of the time that’s a worrying thing to hear.

We’re a start so you’ll get a chance to try everything
This translates to we’ll expect to much of you. If you are founder then you know what you are getting in to and you can and will have to do a lot of different things. Normal people don’t want that. They want a structured job that pays them fairly. If you are starting to hire people as a founder or early hire in a start up you must remember that most people don’t want that life.

Why is a new job available?
This is more something that should be asked but why does this role need to filled? Has a role been filled and exited previously? If so it’s important to know why – from the point of view of both employer and employee. As a manager imaging having to answer the question “why did the last person leave?”. If you’d feel awkward explaining why then perhaps some internal changes are needed before rehiring.

More resources

Signs someone might be about to leave

This isn’t so much focused on the wellbeing side. This is about the natural progression through a role in the broader career context. People will eventually want new challenges and opportunities and there is real value in the accumulate experience staff collect over time. It could be a good idea to keep an eye out

What issues to address between co-workers

By this we mean what problems can arise between peers that can have a toxic effect on the culture. It’s not just the management that set the cultural tone, the interaction between staff will shape the perception of the company environment. These are things the “easy wins” that you, as a manager, can try to

Management Styles

Before we start; no one should adopt a management style but rather view them as catalogue of approaches to use when needed. First and foremost it’s about knowing who works for you. Aside from the obvious benefit of having this attitude has on the overall culture, you as a need to know what style to