In the modern information economy, where disruption is the name of the game and teams working smarter frequently beat established players out of the market, employees are a company’s biggest asset.
Employees who stay in companies longer not only make for better team leaders due to their experience. They also help improve knowledge retention and inspire newer hires as positive examples of an in-company career path. Not to mention how they help a business avoid the costs of training new people to fill their role.
The reasons why good employees quit
Unfortunately, employee churn rate is a real problem for businesses, whether they are large multinationals or up-and-coming startups. Even more so since it’s usually the brightest and most valuable employees that tend to shop around for new positions, or are poached by competitors’ headhunters.
In this post we are going to examine the 5 main reasons why good employees quit, and what you can do to keep your star players.
1. Not feeling appreciated
You may value your employees as important assets to your company, but that is not going to keep them around. Not unless you also make them feel valued.
There are few things more demotivating for an employee than to feel unappreciated — as if their work doesn’t matter. This can be the fastest way to losing a valued employee.
So much, in fact, that studies have shown that employees that feel that they are valued and that are inspired from what their job, are more likely to stay than those that are merely paid more. Yes, that’s right: job satisfaction is a more important factor towards lesser employee churn than salary.
That not an excuse to pay your people poorly, of course. A good salary, a raise and/or bonus, is also a good way to show your employees that they’re appreciated. It’s just that other concerns, like motivation and trust, can be even more important.
2. Stuck in a rut
Some employees find focusing on what they already know, day in and day out, comforting. For others, perhaps most, it can be, if not a nightmare, then an obvious sign that they must start looking for another job.
There are several ways to combat this. You could, for example, allow employees to handle different aspects of your operations, and have them tackle different tasks and explore new workflows.
Some will appreciate the variety (and want to keep rotating through different roles), while others will leverage the opportunity to get a broader picture of the available tasks and responsibilities to find their particular niche in the company and stay there.
That said, don’t just randomly assign new responsibilities, throwing your employees head-in into uncharted waters. This will only serve to stress and unnerve them.
Instead, keep track of their skills with the help of a modern LMS platform, and have them go through an online training regime that will help them build upon their existing skills and acquire new ones. Having them complete a survey will also help you determine which positions are more popular, and which new skills your training program should focus on.
A successful training program will give your employees the confidence to tackle things outside of their regular responsibilities and enable them to get started with them faster and make fewer mistakes while doing so.
3. Office politics
It’s not just the routine or the daily grind that gets employees to leave. Office politics, especially of the back-stabbing kind, will do that just as effectively.
Of course, some employees revel, and even thrive, in office politics, but those are not the kind of employees you want to keep. Rather, it’s the silently productive ones that focus on their work, who you want to protect.
For that, you need to build an open environment, one that fosters collaboration, and where the way to get ahead is to prove your worth to the rest of your team and your manager, by working harder or smarter than the rest — as opposed to playing petty office games and going behind people’s backs.
Frequent death marches and impossible deadlines are another surefire way to get employees looking to jump ship. While the occasional overtime when there’s an especially important project might be justified, when extreme demands become the norm, morale and employee retention suffer.
If the above situation is business as usual for your company, you might want to reconsider your management style. It surely wouldn’t hurt to have your managers go through a leadership training program, perhaps combined with an emphasis on soft-skills and project management training.
It’s not hard to maintain sane office hours without reducing productivity. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.
And besides, beyond some point, all you’re getting out of keeping people for long hours is subpar work (or, worse, people merely pretending to work).
5. No clear progress path
Employees – and especially good ones – don’t just want a job — they want a career. If they’re not going to find that in your company, they’ll start asking around for their next opportunity.
Keeping people for years in the same position, with no clear career advancement path, makes them feel trapped and unappreciated (combining two common employee churn factors that we’ve already covered).
You should offer your employees a path forward from early on, informing them about possible career opportunities during their initial onboarding process and helping those that are worth it to move along that path.
A comprehensive training program helps with all the above. Not only does it help your employees prepare for more advanced roles and responsibilities; it also helps you gauge their suitability for promotion, at least as far as their training performance is concerned.
And while not everybody can be promoted, the presence of an official training program, where employees study as a group, and which has transparent results, will help those left behind understand why some of their peers are promoted. And hopefully, motivate them to do better next time.
So, why do good employees quit, after all?
So, if you’re still there wondering why good employees quit, these suggestions can maybe help you prevent an outflux of your best people.
Some of the reasons why employees leave the company can be fixed with better communication, and more attention and involvement from the upper management. Others require providing employees with opportunities to learn new skills, prepare for more advanced job positions, and achieve growth.
For those latter cases, a powerful eLearning platform with support for skills management (skills gap testing, setting up custom learning paths, and so on) like eFront, can help give your employees a clear path forward and decrease employee turnover.
All in all, getting employees to stay is not a simple task, nor all problems have a quick solution. For the best results, you need to invest in your employees, just like you would invest in your company.