There’s a lot more to a company than what you can find in an appraisal or business evaluation. More than the number on the bottom line, it’s the people that make or break an organization — and lead to its success.
Obviously that translates to keeping the wrong employees away at all costs; it also means retaining the good ones. This keeps becoming a bigger and bigger issue, given that today’s workforce is more transient than ever before.
Even more to the point, money isn’t as much of a driver in job choice as people might like to think. Having a highly-skilled employee with a salary to match doesn’t matter if that person feels disrespected, unappreciated, or unable to grow. It’s just a recipe for supplying your competition with the best in the game.
Best advice? Check your management style, corporate culture, and employee feedback against these five reasons that tend to prompt employees to make an early exit:
1. Management distrust and micromanagement
Good employees are leaders by nature. They don’t just punch their card in the morning and expect instructions, they proactively seek new ways to produce. Not everyone is looking for extra responsibilities or even a promotion, but they do want autonomy.
In fact, studies repeatedly demonstrate that employee satisfaction and autonomy are directly related. Micromanaging meanwhile, almost always backfires by lowering employee morale — and increasing turnover rates. By constantly bypassing the employee’s initiative in micromanagement, the employee never gets on the job and the manager does twice the work. Trust and believe in the ability of the staff, that’s why you hired them.
2. Lack of challenge
The lazy employee is more stereotype than truth — an undemanding environment is incredibly boring. According to one 2017 survey, a full 72 percent of workers would quit their jobs if they could find more challenging ones.
Employee boredom is practically an epidemic in some places, and when quitting, up to 35 percent of people cite boredom as the reason. These are very likely highly-motivated, self-driven individuals, which makes them the last people you want to leave your organization. Set high targets and give them more than you think they can handle and be prepared for good results.
3. Bad leadership
As the saying goes, employees don’t quit companies, they quit managers. In one particularly eye-opening study by the University of Florida, respondents reported having left their job after their boss gave them the silent treatment (31 percent); failed to keep promises (39 percent); belittled them in front of other employees or managers (27 percent); invaded their privacy (24 percent); or used them as scapegoats for their own mistakes (23 percent).
It’s true that employees want the freedom to choose and contribute according to their abilities, but they also crave charismatic, empathetic leaders who can motivate them to turn a vision into reality. Cultivate good leaders and you will have good troops.
4. Limited advancement opportunities
Motivated workers don’t just think about what they’re going to do after getting off work; they’re constantly asking themselves where they’ll be in the next two, five, or 10 years. They want to advance in their careers, and lives.
In the UK, research has shown that two-thirds of employees who left their jobs did so because of lack of training and advancement opportunities. Companies with no room for professional development risk losing their most valuable employees. Create bonus structures. Ensure advancement opportunities. Engage. Motivate.
5. A toxic environment
Good employees work today only because they are willing to put in the effort for a team and a purpose. Working for eight-plus hours a day is already exhausting. Add toxic employees into the mix, and everybody in the office is secretly thinking about jumping ship. Office gossip, unaddressed grudges, and stolen recognition are just some of the reasons otherwise motivated employees quit. Research shows that increasing vacation time and encouraging a more relaxed workplace culture can help to significantly reduce toxicity in the office. Without the toxic people, employees often work with joy on difficult and challenging targets. Let the winning employees get rewards and show the toxic to the door.
Rewarding deserving employees with higher pay, career opportunities, recognition, and a friendlier office environment will do a lot to reduce your company’s turnover rate. Perhaps billionaire James Goldsmith summed it up best when he said: “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”