Thursday, January 20, 2022

If you treat employees like they are fungible, they will act like they are fungible

I spent the past few days at the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference promoting my new venture, In addition to being one of the event's sponsors, trying to network in as Covid-safe of a way as possible, and learning about the business of craft beer, I also was a presenter. My chosen topic was how to hire and retain employees in the midst of the Great Resignation. 

I thought of my presentation as I read about the situation at Noah's NY Bagels in Vacaville, California. The restaurant's entire staff of 15 quit their jobs en masse in protest of their manager's (unjust, in their view) termination. The story took off after a TikTok, posted by one of the employees and captioned, "Say no to toxic management," went viral.

Beonce Sarmiento, the employee who posted the TikTok, told KCRA that the workforce quit to prove that they are not "replaceable" or "disposable." 

That theme resonates. I told my audience at the Craft Brewers Conference that lack of respect is one of the main reasons millions are quitting their jobs each month. 

If you want to retain employees, you must make them feel respected, important, and integral. Let me suggest that you stop treating your employees like employees and start treating them like potential hires you are trying to recruit. Applicants feel wanted and appreciated. Employees should as well. What do they hope to accomplish? What are their ambitions? How are they doing and feeling? Communication is the common thread that runs through all of these questions. Talk to your employees. Learn about them, what they value, what they need to be successful, and what you as an employer can do to improve. A small investment of time in better communication will go a long way to your employees not feeling disposable.