Mark Cuban, Shark Tank investor and outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, recently took to his personal blog to comment on a major issue facing the NBA–and every employer in America.
There’s been a lot of talk regarding how NBA players have really taken control of their league, with the most talented players teaming up behind the scenes to play together or asking to be traded to a different team if they’re not happy with their situation.
“Some feel that the player movement we have seen … is a problem,” wrote Cuban. “I don’t. I think it is exactly what we should expect, and it reflects what is happening in the job market across industries in our country.”
Cuban goes on to talk about how changing times have affected the employer-employee relationship–particularly how graduates no longer want to spend their entire lives working for a single company.
“This reality has changed what it is like to be an employer,” explains Cuban. “In the past, the default was that the best employees would want a long career with their employers, because that is what you did. You kept your job as long as you could. No longer.”
And then, Cuban drops a major truth bomb that should wake up company executives across the country:
“Now the onus is on employers to keep their best employees happy.”
It’s a simple statement, with profound implications. Let’s break down why employers should take heed.
Why smart employers focus on employee happiness
Every year, companies spend billions of dollars recruiting and interviewing. Why? Because they want to make sure they’re hiring the best talent out there.
So why is it that once those employers get that talent, they don’t work as hard to keep their people around?
The NBA is a prime example. Top players are taking matters into their own hands, working with their agents (and sometimes fellow players) to get onto teams where the salary and company culture better fit what they’re looking for–even if they’re still under contract with their current team.
But this example is just a microcosm of the job market as a whole. The better you are at your job, the more options you’ll have. Every day, headhunters and rival companies are working hard to lure the best people away.
On top of that, recent research shows a major disconnect between how executives and workers view their workplace.
- Gallup research indicates that a great majority of employees–about 70 percent–consider themselves “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work.
- According to Google, while executives cared more about numbers and results, individual team members were far more concerned with team culture.
But all of this is great news for employees.
Because, if you add the fact that the U.S. is currently experiencing its lowest rate of unemployment in 50 years, you realize that workers have more power than ever. In fact, Bloomberg reports that employees who switch jobs are getting paid more than those who choose to stay put.
“Mobility is the power that comes with being great at your job, whether it’s in the NBA or any other industry,” says Cuban. “If you are one of the best, you will have the ability to decide where you want to work.”
But while this is all music to employee ears, it should be a harsh wake-up call for company leaders.
In my book, EQ Applied, I encourage team leads and executives to ask themselves if they and their companies are providing the following for their people:
1. Good coaching
2. Team empowerment
3. An inclusive team environment
4. Good communication
5. A clear vision and strategy
6. Career development and support
Yes, it begins with making sure your salary and benefits are top-notch. But that’s just the door-opener. Beyond that, you’ve got to make sure you’re building a culture that rewards employees emotionally.
Because it’s not enough to lure top talent in.
You’ve got to work to keep them around.
Enjoy this post? Check out my book, EQ Applied, which uses fascinating research and compelling stories to illustrate what emotional intelligence looks like in everyday life.
A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com.