If you are an employer, you have most likely gone to significant expense to recruit some top talent. How do you keep your new employees once you have hired them? The ways to keep and engage employees are not a big mystery, and yet many employers are confused when they watch some of their top employees walk out the door for the last time. Sadly, most of the reasons why good employees quit are easily avoidable. Most people who quit their jobs give one of these six reasons:
1. Loss of trust or problems with leaders: Many people choose to leave their jobs in order to escape problems with management. Leaders who don’t provide a clear vision and understandable path for execution tend to lose their employees’ trust. Leaders who are unethical and narcissistic will chase good employees out the door. In order to keep their employees in their good graces, leaders need to inspire confidence and back up words with actions.
2. The job or workplace was not as expected: A number of employees quit their job within the first six months. Many workers have an unrealistic expectation about the job or workplace, either because they have been misled during the interviewing process, or because the job changed from the original description. Not only does this lead to mistrust, but usually most new hires will quit when they discover the reality of the situation. Being upfront and truthful during the interview process will help ensure the proper fit between employee and work environment. After all, prospective employees will select the company that fits them best in terms of challenges and opportunities.
3. Too few growth and advancement opportunities: One of the most common reasons that employees leave their jobs is lack of challenge and opportunities for career growth. Employees who invest themselves in their careers are usually looking to advance within the company; without promotions or new responsibilities, ambitious employees will seek employment elsewhere. Successful employers find ways to help employees develop new skills and incorporate additional responsibilities in their current positions. As an employer, look for ways to get highly-qualified employees involved in challenging projects whenever you can to keep them engaged.
4. Not feeling recognized: Top employees don’t need to be applauded for every accomplishment, but employers should recognize their employees for their hard work and dedication. Employees who feel devalued and unrecognized are more likely to lose interest in their work and become resentful. Just because a top employee appears to be completely self-reliant, don’t make the assumption that he or she doesn’t need or want feedback and acknowledgement. When employers treat their employees with disrespect or indifference, employees will undoubtedly feel interchangeable, and easily replaceable. The worst mindset an employer can have is the “If you don’t hear from me, it means that you’re doing a good job.” Communication is crucial when it comes to making employees feel important.
5. Unrealistic expectations: Being a good leader means aiming high while always understanding limits. Managers who have unreasonable expectations of how quickly, or how well, a project can be done often push their employees too hard to set unattainable goals. While it is important to challenge your employees, giving them too much work will only burn them out quickly. Employees are quick to realize when they are being overworked, and become frustrated with the unrealistic performance expectations. As a manager, it’s important to set realistic expectations, and ask for the input of your employees. You want to set your employees up for success, not for failure.
6. Negative company culture: If your employees dread coming to work each day, then maybe there’s a problem with the company culture. Managers who tolerate or encourage gossip, lying, unethical behavior, and unfair competition within the team give employees reason enough to quit. This is especially true for top performers and young employees who hold high standards of teamwork. The same goes for companies who only instill a rigorous work ethic in their employees. Instead, more leaders need to instill the “Work hard, play hard” notion into their team members because it promotes internal balance and gives their employees the energy to accomplish more. By allowing your team to reap the rewards of their hard work, it will help them stay positive and motivated. A good work ethic will keep people on task, and it will establish a culture where everyone understands that long hours are sometimes required as long as the sacrifice is recognized and rewarded.
Employers need to recognize that a very large percent of voluntary turnover is avoidable. Most of the incentives that increase employee engagement lie within the power of the direct manager or senior leaders. The most powerful solutions revolve around good management and healthy work cultures.