- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
A business has a lot of moving pieces, people, and potential problems to manage during day-to-day operations. When all parts move in unison with each other the machine (company) works up to its potential. However, nothing will derail and undermine the workplace than when its employees (the good ones) quit. While not all good employees can be prevented from leaving there are patterns, trends, and common reasons as to why they go.
REASON #1: I DON’T FEEL TRUSTED OR RESPECTED
A lack of respect to an employee can come in many forms and places. Whether a co-worker speaks to them negatively and without consequences, certain people seem to always get the best assignments, or a supervisor micro-manages every task they perform, the end result is a building feeling of disrespect and mistrust. If left unchecked these feelings can build into resentment that often ends with the employee looking for greener grass elsewhere.
While inner-office disputes between staff should be handled by a neutral Human Resource department, the problem of an overly restrictive supervisor needs to be addressed openly between the two parties. When an employee is hired to do a task under the belief that he or she is qualified to do so autonomously, but then has his or her work questioned, checked, or reviewed at every step, it makes the employee feel that the supervisor doesn’t trust him or her to do the job right.
Rather than overly scrutinize the employee, a trusted supervisor will actively engage that person to work independently on the given work. An employee who is trusted to do a job and then succeeds at it will feel empowered while also reassuring their supervisor in the process.
REASON #2: MY PAY IS TOO LOW
The amount of money someone makes is a numerical value of what they bring to the company. Of course, budgets have to be balanced, but it is important to remember that the financial cost in advertising and hours spent while interviewing candidates adds up—and, the more often a company has to go through the process of turnover the more expensive it becomes.
Rather than trying to pay employees as little as possible to keep costs down on the front end, look at each employee and their position as an investment. Taking the time to find the right person, and paying them a salary that is competitive yet reasonable in the industry, is far more effective financially in the long run. Even more important is the effect a well-earned salary has on employee morale and productivity. You really do get what you pay for.
REASON #3: A BAD (TOXIC) COMPANY CULTURE
Poor company culture can mean several things. From murky values, an unclear direction, or constantly changing targets to hit, the result is an environment where employees don’t feel connected or invested. Being transparent and direct with employees (especially during troubled times) at least tells the employee that they are in the loop of what is going on—even if they don’t have all the details. When an employee understands how they fit in the big picture of a company it allows them to take ownership over their personal growth, and set goals to work towards within a company’s framework.
REASON #4: THE OVERWORKED-AND-UNDERAPPRECIATED DYNAMIC
An employee is like any person who has a certain level of room that is constantly filled and depleted daily. This space is similar to a bank account, with positive interactions making a deposit and negative ones feeling like an “emotional” withdrawal. Just like your checking account when the balance dips below zero that person’s emotional reservoir is over-drafted.
In plain terms, resentment begins at the point a person is pushed past their limit to give. Not everyone has the same capacity to give, and over time employees who are constantly rewarded emotionally, monetarily, etc., will have the healthiest amount of satisfaction at work. On the flip-side, an employee who is overworked and underappreciated is quickly headed to closing their account and opening a new one elsewhere (as in a new place to work.)
REASON #5: POOR MANAGEMENT
A supervisor is going to spend the most time interacting with an employee, and thus having a good working relationship built on trust, respect, and understanding is key. When hiring someone to manage people it cannot be underestimated that they need to have the right personality to balance the duties of the job, and a variety of personalities under them. Not every person with years of experience in a job is suited to manage people, nor wants to.
REASON #6: LIMITED GROWTH POTENTIAL
Employees who feel they operate with a low-ceiling will eventually reach that burn out point where they no longer see a future within a company. Some positions may be limited and have only a select number of openings, but looking at how to keep strong employees around through new positions, or added roles (and pay) can help alleviate this.
REASON #7: POOR MANAGEMENT
Much like a toxic culture, if an employee’s personal goals and values don’t fit with a company’s then over time issues will arise. Sometimes this can be avoided early on through clear communication during the hiring process. In some events, a company has to shift its stance on certain issues or find new ones. These major shake-ups can quickly send good employees packing as they look for businesses more in line with their own opinions.
REASON #8: TEAM ISSUES
For employees who have to work closely alongside coworkers, it is paramount that as a unit they are able to work together towards a common goal. Not everyone on the team will have the feelings on everything, nor should they as different perspectives can work well together when strengths and weaknesses balance.
However, chronic disagreements between team members can harbor problems that carry over from project to project. Given that at some point employees will need to work with others, if a resolution can’t be found someone is probably leaving.
REASON #9: LEADERSHIP PROBLEMS
Bad management doesn’t stop at just direct managers. True leadership starts at the top and flows downward. An executive or senior level manager who puts their own needs above the whole can quickly make employees feel alienated, unappreciated, and resentful. It’s important that those in positions of power lead by example and follow the values a company promotes.
REASON #10: WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Even the best of jobs where employees love what they do have a limit. An employee who isn’t able to enjoy their life outside of work due to overly demanding deadlines, unfair expectations, or unstable workloads will slowly lose their zeal for the job. As a company seeking to retain good employees, it is important to regularly check-in with staff to make sure they feel that what they are expected to do isn’t negatively impacting their lives outside of the office.
It’s never good to see quality employees leave, and sometimes is just can’t be avoided. More often than not though, there are reasons and warnings signs before an employee get to the point that they decide to go. Keeping a watchful eye out of these red flags can help you prevent losing great workers to fixable traps.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell