The City of Myrtle Beach leads the nation in employee turnover. According to sources inside Human Resources with city government, employee turnover was 14.4% in 2020. The latest release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the national average for city government employee turnover at 3.8 percent.
Employee turnover was 9.8% in 2017 and 7.9% in 2018. The city staffs 938 full time employees and 260 part time employees.
Employee turnover in the City’s Public Works department is a whopping 27.5%.
Poor leadership is cited as the key reason for high employee turnover inside the city.
At a City Council meeting last week, Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock told council the police department was 19 officers short going into the spring and peak season. Sources in Human Resources state that the police department is actually 45 officers short as of March 4th.
Three more police officers quit the force this week alone.
REASONS FOR THESE NUMBERS
The sudden resignation of Angela Keglar last week was a surprise to many. Keglar was the Head of Human Resources. She was awarded City Hero in 2018 and Supervisor of the year in 2019.
With the December retirement of Mike Shelton, Keglar reported to Michelle Shumpert. Shumpert is now the city’s Chief Financial Officer.
Almost immediately after Keglar stepped down, Jessica Miller turned in her resignation as well. Miller was the Director of Finance. She also reported to Shumpert.
Twelve current and former employees told MyrtleBeachSC News the reason for high turnover was low employee morale, caused by poor leadership.
The termination/mandatory retirement of 35 employees last Fall certainly impacted morale. Employees describe former City Manager John Pedersen as a micro manager who had his fingers tightly gripped on all things city government.
They also state that Pedersen had a propensity to only promote females. Under his watch, Pedersen promoted Amy Prock to Chief of Police, Janet Curry to Director of Public Works, Lauren Clever to Director of Downtown Development, and Michelle Shumpert to Chief Financial Officer.
These four make up the key leadership team in City Government under Fox Simons, Myrtle Beach City Manager. Simons was chosen by City Council.
NOT ABOUT THE MONEY – TOXIC WORKPLACE
Former staff told our news team, their reasons for leaving had nothing to do with getting better offers somewhere else. Most stated it was the ongoing residue of issues surrounding the former leadership team of Mayor Bethune and former City Manager John Pedersen.
According to Chron.com, here are 5 of the top 7 reasons for low morale in a toxic work environment.
There is High Employee Turnover
Employee turnover is a very strong sign of poor leadership. Employees are unlikely to leave the workplace if they are happy with the place and satisfied with the work they are doing. If these needs are not met, then the employees will leave at the earliest opportunity of greener pastures.
A bad leader will not listen to employees who signal that something is wrong. This failure to pay attention often further demotivates employees, leading to unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their work. Even if the work itself is enjoyable to the employees, the work environment will be non-conducive to them, and they will leave as soon as they can.
The Leader Tends to Micromanage
A micromanager is simply a leader who can’t resist the temptation to control and direct the tiniest actions taken by employees. They want to be involved in just about everything their employees do, and the effect is stifling.
On the one hand, a micromanager will feel satisfied because everything will be done just how they want it. On the other hand, micromanagement can breed resentment in the employees as they feel monitored as if they were children. They will feel a lack in both autonomy and responsibility, and they will come to resent the work that they do. Quite often, micromanagers are the way they are because they are insecure about their abilities, or they are simply afraid of giving up their sense of control.
The Leader Has No Vision
Employees enjoy working for a leader with a clear and persuasive vision and a well-defined way to get there. They buy into the vision more than anything else, in some cases even settling for much lower pay than they would get elsewhere simply because they can see that the company they are working for has a bright future, or they believe in its mission.
When a leader lacks vision, he or she is likely to lack a lot of other important qualities as well, such as priorities, inspiration and focus. Because they do not have a sense of direction, their employees won’t have a sense of direction either, which will lead them to exhaustion and a lack of productivity.
With an unfocused team taking on unproductive tasks, there is hardly any impact for the company, and it seems to wallow in stagnation. The result of this is usually high employee attrition.
The Leader Has Favorites
Of all the signs of a bad leader, this may be one of the hardest to notice. A bad leader will often have highly specific preferences for a particular style of work, a particular communication method or one approach to problem-solving over another. There is nothing wrong with being specific. However, it becomes poor leadership when it causes the leader to completely ignore the contribution of some team members and favor others instead.
In some cases, the leader doesn’t even know that they are playing favorites. They are simply acting on their biases, and the resulting actions are skewed in a particular direction. In the worst case, the leader knows exactly what they are doing but continues to do it anyway.
The Leader is a Bully
This is the most obvious sign of a bad leader. A bad leader may bully and intimidate employees, threatening them with termination if they do not do the work to the leader’s satisfaction. Bad leaders will often scold their employees for their mistakes in public and even criticize them for aspects of their personality or appearance, rather than the work that they are doing.
Employees who find themselves working in an office where the leader is a bully will often feel demoralized and leave as soon as they get an opportunity. Productivity will go down, and the bottom line will eventually follow. In the worst cases, the negative environment can cause extreme stress in employees and lead to negative psychological issues.