Here are 10 of them:
1. Lower pay.
It’s perfectly legal (as long as there’s no contract involved) to lower pay if you announce it in advance (and in writing, in some jurisdictions). So, you can say, “Starting next month, you’ll be making $10,000 less per year!” but not, “Oh, by the way, your paycheck is smaller today because I cut your pay.”
2. Dock an exempt employee’s PTO for everything.
Your employee has a sick kid and wants to work from home? Charge it to his PTO bank. What about a one-hour dentist appointment? PTO dock. Coming in 15 minutes late? You betcha. Now, if an employee is exempt, you can’t dock actual pay, but as long as his pay remains the same, you can dock PTO.
Stop by the targeted employee’s desk six times a day and say, “What are you working on?” This is guaranteed to drive anyone straight to LinkedIn.
4. Give contradictory instructions.
This is sometimes even better than micromanaging. Say, “I want the Jones report to be top priority,” and then 15 minutes later send an email asking for a status update on the Smith account. When your employee says it’s not going forward right now because she’s focusing on the Jones report, tell her to get busy on the Smith account. Then, first thing the next day, make sure you ask why she hasn’t finished the Robertson file. Perfect!
5. Ignore the office bullies.
All this requires is you stepping inside your office and closing the door. Letting a bully run rampant is certain to drive out not only the bully’s targets, but also everyone else in the office. People can’t stand to work with a jerk, so they’ll look to leave ASAP.
6. Play favorites.
This is especially effective if your favorite happens to be a brown-nosing suck up. If you pick the most competent person in the office as your favorite, this may backfire because people may think you’re rewarding hard work. Don’t do that, because then they’ll stick around hoping to be rewarded for their hard work.
7. Change the rules.
So, if you’ve allowed flexibility or independent work, pull that back. The person who took this job specifically because you said he could telecommute two days a week? Drive him out by revoking that. Try implementing a strict dress code for your back office people, who don’t even see sunshine, let alone a client or vendor.
8. Be a slacker yourself.
Your hard workers will be anxious to leave if you’re absent all the time, impossible to contact, and cause their projects to get held up because you’re not around to sign off or approve anything. Come in late, but be sure to punish employees for the same behavior.
9. Monitor social media accounts.
I’m not talking about the ones connected with the company, but their personal ones. Friend them on Facebook, watch all their Vines, and tweet at them. Call them into your office for every post that is remotely objectionable.
10. Demand success in areas the person wasn’t trained or hired for.
Cross-training and career development is a good thing, but not if you have unrealistic expectations about it. Make sure that your employee knows you think they are failing, even though any normal person would need much longer to get up to speed. Extra criticism goes a long way here toward getting the person out the door.
Now, on the other hand, if you want your employees to stay, why are you doing any of the above things? Stop. These 10 things make your employees resentful and kill morale. If you’re doing any of them, make it your New Year’s resolution to quit right now.
Otherwise, your best employees may be walking out the door first.