The downfall of your business: “No, I would not recommend this company to a friend”

While browsing through some Glassdoor reviews, I found a lot of dissatisfied employees who seemed to balance pros and cons for the company they worked for but would ultimately refuse to recommend that company to a friend.

If you were to ask your employees right now “Would you recommend this company to a friend?”, how many do you think would answer with a straightforward “yes”?

If you’re worried that’s not a big enough number, take a look at the top reasons why your employees wouldn’t recommend you:

You treat them like an hourly-contract worker and expect them to act like an employee

It’s common sense to balance the responsibilities and expectations of both parties, employee and employer. But reality keeps contradicting this common-sense rule. Or it might be that common-sense goes out the door in some companies.

Employees are people. It’s not a joke. They have needs and expectations that can’t be summarized in a contractual relationship that would justify their treatment as 1-hour work=1 hour pay. In a long-term work relationship, it’s a much more complex scenario to be considered.

An engaged employee who performs well and who is loyal to your company requires a workplace that encourages development, rewards performance and delivers on obligations (pay, leave, benefits and policies).

Is your company doing that?

You’ve made performance appraisals feel like the Final Judgment

Many employees are complaining that their performances are being evaluated on a strict Bell-curve system. A Bell-curve performance appraisal leads to forced rankings obtained by comparing employees’ performance levels. The system has been around since the 1990s, making it easy to manage large number of workers within a company.

However, performance appraisal has since evolved to competency-based evaluation methods, allowing a meritocratic ranking that focuses on an individual’s potential. The employer should foster and develop that potential in order to get the highest possible performance. Like employee engagement, performance appraisal is an HR process that focuses on the individual’s needs and strengths, which, if correctly managed, should lead to a high company capability and competitiveness.

Nonetheless many companies are still stuck in the first paragraph, believing that the system is good because it’s been around for 18-19 years now. They believe that this performance appraisal system helps them differentiate employees and stay competitive.

It’s an ongoing debate that could go on for another 3000 words. But going back to your average employee and how she/he feels about this evaluation method, the Bell-curve is cause for a high level of anxiety and lack of loyalty.

Here’s a great Harvard Business School article that could give you a better insight into The Controversial Practice of Forced Ranking.

What system do you use in your company?

Your office atmosphere is too negative

Seeing people laid-off every other day does not help employees be more productive and dedicated. On the contrary, like their Glassdoor reviews revealed, they feel strongly demotivated by such a work environment.

In many cases, these companies were not all bad. Employees talked about positive aspects such as salary, location and learning opportunities. But the office atmosphere was a deal breaker. There was simply too much negative energy, a general lack of communication and impromptu lay-offs.

If a company doesn’t support innovation, work-life balance, employee appreciation or career advancement opportunities, people would not consider staying there much longer and they would categorically refuse to recommend it to a friend.

It’s important to maintain a balance between financial benefits and non-financial ones. You could be a good employer but you might be missing key workplace aspects that make it hard for employees to advocate for you.

All of these main “cons” have a fairly obvious thing in common. The people who wrote them didn’t feel valued and they didn’t feel safe. They were unhappy with the company they worked for and would not recommend the same experience to one of their friends.

Here are four possible starting points to avoid this in your company:

What are the main reasons why people wouldn’t recommend your company?

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