9 Reasons Good Employees Quit
Employee Retention
Advice for Management & Companies

Employee Retention: 9 Reasons Good Employees Quit

Employee Retention: 9 Reasons Good Employees Quit.

While there are many ramifications to a high turnover rate, the biggest consequence can be narrowed down to this: loss of good talent.

Outside of the obvious problems with high recruitment and training costs involved, the loss of a skilled employee affects the entire office, leaving morale and productivity levels significantly lower over time. It also puts your remaining employees at a disposition because of the extra workload thrown on their plate in their colleague’s absence. So what can be done?

Employees quit all the time. It’s a generational thing. Employees just aren’t loyal like they used to be. Why is it my problem? Right? 

Wrong. Your workforce is your most valuable asset. Even though removing employee turnover altogether is nearly impossible, there are ways to eliminate common reasons for losing out on great talent. Whatever you do, don’t let your next great employee leave because of one of these 9 reasons:

1.  Not Being Acknowledged by Management

If you find your employee turnover rates alarming, a good first place to turn might be at management. It’s hard to think that your own team is the reason behind the loss of talent, but it’s not a bad place to reassess, and it might be your first step toward reducing high turnover.

In many cases, the reason why employees quit isn’t the company or the position – simply leaving their manager. To put it in simpler terms, do team members feel supported in their roles? Are they being listened to when they express their suggestions or concerns?

It may seem like a small matter to leave a perfectly good job for, but giving your employees the space to communicate their feelings to management holds more weight than you might think when it comes to employee retention. By not listening to these employees, feelings of being unvalued and unrecognize can fester into anger and eventually disengagement to the position altogether – leading to that dreaded two weeks’ notice from your star developer.

Solution: While it sounds like an obvious fix, you would be surprised how many individuals in upper management miss this – listen to your employees. Train management to (at the minimum) verbally acknowledge an employee’s concerns or suggestions. To take it a step further, try encouraging this communication between your managers and their team to boost employee satisfaction.


2. Managers Not Ready to be Managers

Similar to the first reason why employees quit, this is a very common reason good employees leave related to management – especially IT talent. The underlying issue that causes unprepared management is how managers are chosen in this field. Typically awarded to the top developers or engineers on the team, many managers possess the technical knowledge necessary to manage a team or project, yet lack the leadership skills necessary to motivate and direct a successful team.

While it’s completely possible for great software developers to be completely ready with natural leadership qualities required to successfully manage others, there’s no real reason to take a chance at having a manager that’s not ready for management. It’s an assumption that many organizations have made time after time, but just because an employee is excellent in their position, it doesn’t indicate that said employee is naturally equipped to manage others.

Solution: Management is not a place you’ll want to take shortcuts, so make sure each manager is well-trained and well-supported as they transition from ordinary developer to team lead. Have training programs and educational material in place so that potential managers can be guided into their roles, rather than thrown to the wolves. This could do wonders to employee retention.


3. Career Growth is Stunted

Top performers typically leave when they feel like there is no more room to grow. If you find your top talent leaving faster than they’re staying, it may be time to examine your organizational structure. Good employees that find their career growth is stunted are more likely to find their advancement elsewhere.

Does this mean everyone should be a manager? Not necessarily. In fact, many of your top employees won’t even want the duty of managing a team. However, the opportunity to grow in individual skillset and responsibility is desired by professionals in just about every career – especially within the IT sphere. So, what does this mean exactly?

Solution: Making educational and career opportunities readily available to your employees will help to retain talent. As mentioned before, offer management training programs and education to prepare employees looking to enter management. For those not interested in management, offer other avenues of career advancement for those who prefer the individual contributions to the company. Make it abundantly clear in the onboarding process that career advancement opportunities are available as they progress in their work.


4. Not Keeping Up with the Times

In a field (or department) on the forefront of innovation and advancement, it makes sense for IT talent to desire employment at companies that stay on the cutting edge side of new technology. A big reason why employees quit is that come companies don’t stay current with new software or systems can be more susceptible to high employee turnover within the IT department.

That’s great but what if upgrades just aren’t in the budget? How do you keep top talent enthused or invested in your company? Think outside the box.

Solution: If it is in the budget, make it a priority to keep systems not only up-to-date but also involve testing newer technologies. Even if you are unable to boost salaries, investing in the best technology possible will retain your best tech employees because they’ll understand the investment is in them. If, however, it isn’t feasible to upgrade your technology this frequently, consider education or outside training for employees that are interested in advancing their skills. Even if they can’t use those skills directly in your organization with existing technology, it will (1) prepare them for the event that you do one day invest in a new system and (2) convey your organization’s interest in the employee’s career advancement and skillset.


5. Not Getting Frequent Feedback

While many companies utilize yearly performance reviews, it’s those organizations who only check in once a year that tend to lose out on their top performers. The majority of experts agree that regular reviews are more effective, especially among millennials.

The more check-ins that happen between a manager and an employee, the more likely you are to nip a bad situation in the bud, keeping the employee’s overall satisfaction high. It also gives the manager a chance to discuss his performance commentary from the yearly evaluation throughout the year so that the employee isn’t taken by surprise by their next official performance review.

Solution: Two-way feedback is important. Offering employee feedback will help them gain confidence and security in their position, and receiving feedback will ensure full communication so that there are no surprises if the employee is unhappy in their current position. At the minimum, have quarterly reviews to check-in with your employee’s performance, career growth direction, and overall satisfaction.


6. Rigid Workplace Policies

A major trend happening (especially in the tech industry): flexible scheduling and working from home. While it’s not necessarily adopted by the majority, companies that do offer flexibility tend to attract more talent. Workplace flexibility is now a more desired benefit than healthcare for millennials and “gen z” (2016 Future Workplace and Randstad U.S.A.) 

While it’s not always feasible, at least some degree of flexibility should be considered if your goal is to retain your best employees, since this is something they are clearly working for from their employer. Companies that don’t offer some level of workplace flexibility automatically position themselves at a disadvantage and often is a reason why talented employees quit.

Solution: For companies that can’t compete with larger organizations on salary can put themselves ahead of the curve by offering flexible scheduling or telecommuting options. If telecommuting is not something your organization is willing to be lenient with, try offering flexible start and departure times based on current business hours. Offer, instead, a window of time in which they can start their day.


7. Misunderstood Mission

It’s hard to be invested if you don’t know what you’re investing in. The same is true for your employees. If the mission statement or value proposition is lost in transition, miscommunicated, or misguided, that amazing employee you just hired isn’t going to adopt the brand the way you would expect. Having a clear mission and specific goals are instrumental in building a unified workforce toward your company’s overall direction.

Once the employee sees themselves as an integral piece of the in the overall mission of the company, they are more likely to stay as they assume responsibility for the success of the company and its employees.

Solution: Communicate company values, the organizational mission, and department goals frequently to your employees. Illustrate how their role in the company impacts the direction of the overarching goals of the firm as a whole. While it isn’t difficult to make employees feel valued, it often goes forgotten in the rush of accelerating the company. Take the time to convey how their individual contribution fits into the whole of the organization and its pathway to success.


8. Lack of Work-Life Balance

Little efforts to enhancing work-life balance can go a long way for an employee considering resignation. In the grand scheme of things, making small attempts to make your employees’ work-life both sustainable and enjoyable is minuscule compared to the cost of losing out on top talent.

Paying attention to the everyday struggles of maintaining both work and home life can really set a company apart from other offers. Showing these employees that they aren’t just dispensable pawns in your organization will add to the employee’s confidence in their employer.

Solution: Invite feedback, incorporate exercise incentives, offer dry-cleaning services, keep healthy snacks in the break room – the list goes on and on! You don’t have to be a multi-million dollar company to show you care.


9. Just Plain Burnout

One of the most common reasons good employees leave is simply this: they’re overworked.

Top performers got the way they are for a reason, they’re hard workers! It’s easy to misinterpret this work ethic with supernatural work stamina. Even the best employees have their limits, and it’s important not to push your top employees to the edge of their limits. Does this mean you shouldn’t push your employees to be better and work harder? No, not at all. There’s just a fine line that you won’t want to cross if you want to prevent your good employees from leaving.

Solution: Continue communicating with your employees frequently. You’ll be able to notice a change in demeanor the more overworked an employee is. Encourage employees working 50 hours a week or more to start delegating their workload to other employees. It may seem like it takes more time to train, but this small change can make a drastic improvement in the employee’s work week.

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