Jill Christensen
Jill ChristensenAuthor Blogger
Jill Christensen is a guest blogger for EmpowerPoints, an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill’s Website | LinkedIn Profile

In 2018, more than 40 police officers left the Seattle Police Department, citing frustration with city politics and a perceived lack of support. This news story came on the heels of a call I received from a prospective client, who had $1M USD in employee turnover the previous year.  What can you do as an employer to stem these losses?

In the case of Seattle, the police labor union called the departures a “mass exodus” that would affect safety.  “Less officers on the streets, less safe for the citizens – and you have all these officers you have invested all this money in, and they are leaving for Tacoma, Olympia, Pierce County and Snohomish County,” Seattle Police Officers Guild Vice President Richard O’Neill said.  “It’s depressing to serve in a place where city council members make negative comments about the police.”

The Seattle Police Guild said officers have not received a pay raise in three years due to contract negotiations. But O’Neill said the officers didn’t leave because of the money issues – they became fed up with Seattle politics.

Although being demeaned at work and bureaucracy/office politics have existed since the beginning of time, what has changed is employee’s willingness to put up with these types of conditions.  Here are some tips from Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder at ClearCompany, to help you eliminate office politics, which is toxic to your culture.

What Can I Do?

  • FOCUS ON GOALS – Keeping organizational objectives in sight cuts down on office politics. A goal focus helps your team understand their role in the organization and how their individual work contributes to higher level company objectives.
  • TRACK PROGRESS – Allowing employees to track their progress toward goals gives team members autonomy and enables them to understand their contributions. By giving employees ownership of their work, office politics lessen.
  • REWARD THE RIGHT PEOPLE – Once you can more clearly see what everyone is working on and accomplishing, you can reward the people who are working hard vs. playing the game.

Office politics occurs because people want to get ahead, so they default to cut-throat tactics.  By focusing on the three areas above, you can create a culture where people feel important and can still get ahead, but in a more graceful way.