Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

5 Lies You Need to Stop Telling Your Employees

By James Ball | Jan 23, 2017 | Staff Retention

5 Lies You Need to Stop Telling Your EmployeesDo you ever lie to your employees?

If the answer is yes, then chances are, you’re making them feel insecure, unloved and (probably) pretty p*ssed off.

And I’m not talking about little white lies like “don’t worry, everyone does it” and “I really like that idea, but…” which are aimed at building confidence.

I’m talking about the big fat porky pies that managers love to tell, like the following…

1. “Everything’s fine.”

(When things are definitely NOT fine.)

Good managers keep employees in the loop with the good, the bad and even the downright ugly (as far as legally possible).

If you do this, they will feel more valued and trusted as an important member of your team and as a result, will be more loyal and care about the success of your business.

You’d also be surprised how much a bit of “bad” news can spur the team on.

Recruiter Pro Tip

Yes, you could lose some employees if you tell them that it’s going to be a hard few months.

But do you really want people working for you who will disappear at the first sign of trouble, anyway? Trust and loyalty should go both ways.

Plus, if you do go sneaking around, you can bet your life that they’ll notice; your awful mood, whispering and endless secret meetings aren’t fooling anyone.

Check out The Guardian’s interesting article on the topic: Corporate Transparency.

2. “We can’t afford to pay you more.”

I once worked for a company who, come salary-review season, refused to give out any pay-rises.

They told everyone the same thing; “we simply can’t afford it, but if you hold on till next year, we’re certain there’ll be more money available in the budget.”

That would be fine, I suppose, if only it were true…

A week later, the same business set up a project to build a new office for the MD, booked a (very expensive) management trip to USA and they hired a new “Butler.”

That company completely undermined themselves by spending money on seemingly lavish and unnecessary things, after telling their employees there was “no money in the budget for pay-rises.”

The team were left feeling understandably undervalued, angry and completely suspicious of the managers – and many left as a direct result of this.

Recruiter Pro Tip

If you don’t think an employee deserves a pay rise, then suck it up and tell them.

As long as you give clear and evidenced reasoning and advise your employee on how they can improve and work towards getting one in the future, they will respect your decision.

Are you definitely sure they don’t deserve a pay rise?

If you really can’t afford to give someone a pay rise – you’ll have to think up other ways to keep them happy and engaged.

Click here to read an article about how to say “no” when someone approaches you for a pay rise.

3. “There’s a new position coming up…”

Similarly, managers across the world tell this little porky, when approached by employees hoping to progress within the company.

“We don’t have any relevant opportunities right now, but we’ll definitely have some next January.”

January comes and goes, without any news and your employee is left feeling miserable, deceived and completely undervalued.

So what can you do? If there are no opportunities, there are no opportunities?

  • Invest in training for employees. (This is a win-win, for you).
  • Create a new opportunity, just for them.
  • Offer them new kinds of projects and tasks to get involved in.
  • Change their job title and review their salary if they’ve been taking on more work.

For more info, Reward Gateway wrote this article on 10 perks that are better than a pay rise! 

The most important thing is to be honest. Even if they’re disappointed, they’ll respect you for telling the truth.

4. “This is all confidential.”

If you say something is confidential, it should actually be confidential.

Too often, managers take it upon themselves to “fix a situation,” by betraying a confidence, but it just leaves people feeling insecure and confused.

If someone approaches you with something “private,” you must immediately set the boundaries for that conversation, for example…

  • Tell them what you are allowed to keep confidential.
  • Tell them what you are required to share (perhaps with HR or other senior staff).
  • If you do think someone else should know, ask for your employee’s permission to share and explain how it would help them if this other person knew.

I remember when I was younger and a manager brought two of my co-workers together to “resolve their differences” after one made a confidential complaint about the other.

As you can imagine, this went down terribly.

Recruiter Pro Tip

One of the worst and most obvious examples of this kind of behaviour occurs when managers send out “confidential” employee satisfaction surveys.

Often, it is easy for them to work out who said what (especially within small departments) and once they know that, it’s very hard to treat those who responded negatively, the same way as they did before.

Actions like this will cause distrust and encourage employees to lie and keep things from you.

5. “I’m swamped at the moment.”

Good managers make time.

If your employee approaches you with an issue, question or idea, don’t brush them off.

They’ve obviously approached you for a reason even if it’s just to get a pat on the back or “yes, I think that’s the right thing to do” (we all need a bit of reassurance, occasionally).

If you keep shunning your employees, then they’ll feel undervalued and unimportant and you’ll soon see the company culture suffer.

Of course, they may also make a mistake and then you only have yourself to blame!

Starting to question your leadership skills? Check out this blog post for more management no-nos: 14 Tell-Tale Signs That You’re A Bad Boss.

Summary.

So in conclusion, don’t lie if you can help it; simple.

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- James Ball

James Ball

James is the founder and owner of Coburg Banks and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes.

> More blog posts by James Ball

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