I just read an interview with Linda Heasley, president and chief executive of The Limited. Here’s an excerpt that I really like:
I believe that my associates can work anywhere they want, and my job is to re-recruit them every day and give them a reason to choose to work for us and for me as opposed to anybody else.
Heasley even raises the bar on employee expectations:
I encourage people: “Go out and find out what the market bears. You should do that and then come back and help me figure out what you need in your development that you’re not getting, because we owe you that.”
My take: This is the right attitude. Every manager should take on the personal responsibility of making their team members continuously chose to be on their team. Often times, that means preparing them with skills to leave the team… or to leave the company. When you can no longer re-recruit someone, it’s probably time for him/her to leave.
Leaders in high-performing organizations don’t treat employees like indentured servants; they inspire them, lead them, grow them, support them, and engage them in the mission of the company. That’s why Employee Engagement is one of the four customer experience competencies.
This is captured quite well in a quote from Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines:
…the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchies and control mechanisms you need.
The bottom line: Would your employees re-chose to work for you?