Why good employees quit
“People work for people – they do not work for businesses”
– Donn Carr
This has been my mantra for as along as I can remember. The message is so simple, full of truth and direction, yet it is consistently ignored by human resource departments, managers and owners alike and they wonder why their turnover is so high and they are always having to look for new people. The problem is with the managers – and seldom the employee or the quality of the workforce. This has been proven and well documented by study after study. I don’t think this happens on purpose. Most managers I meet have never been taught the art of developing people. Many rose to the rank of managers simply because they outlasted the last one, and this lack of people training leaves the new manager with the only experience they know – to mimic the old boss.
This does make perfect sense when you think about it. All I should have to do is mimic the actions of the outgoing boss or the one above them. It should not come as a surprise when we see our managers yell or threaten their employees, make promises they won’t keep, or lead by the old adage “Do what I say and not what I do” failing to set the example or even clearly give expectations. After all, that is what the old boss did.
If you or your organization is experiencing high turnover or even more turnover than you would like, start with examining yourself and how you interact with your team. Here are nine proven reasons guaranteed to cause good employees to quit. Any one of them alone starts the process. If you find three or more, you have some serious work ahead of you to correct.
- The employees are overworked. In start-ups, this happens all the time and the managers simply do not see the handwriting on the wall. Talented employees love to contribute and will produce more; however, if you plan on having them do more you best be prepared to increase their status as well. Talented team members will not stay if their job suffocates them in the process.
- Employee’s contributions are not recognized or good work rewarded. I cannot emphasize this one enough. Never underestimate the power of a pat on the back, a thank you, or a “great job” comment. This is especially true with your top performers who are self-motivated.It is much too easy to take their drive for granted – don’t.
- The wrong people are hired or promoted. Good, hard working employees want to work with like-minded professionals at all levels. Promoting the wrong person is one of the worse mistakes that can be made. When employees work their tails off only to get passed over by someone who glad-handed their way to the top, it is a massive insult to the good employees.
- Employers who don’t care about their employees. More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Bosses who fail to really care will always have high turnover rates.
- The employer fails to develop their people. When managers are lucky enough to have talented employees, it is up to the manager to keep finding areas in which they can improve and expand their skill set. This developmental process does not belong to the human resource department; it falls squarely on your shoulders as the manager. You have a responsibility to continually challenge and grow that person. Failure to do so, and your once talented employee will become bored and grow complacent. This leads me to the next reasons good employees leave that are too often over looked.
- Employee’s creativity is not engaged. Talented employees seek to improve just about everything they touch. They take pride in what they create. The moment their ability to change and improve things is removed they begin to hate their jobs. You are caging up this innate desire to create and contribute. This limitation not only limits the employees – it limits managers and companies as well.
- Employers are not challenging people intellectually. A great boss will challenge their employees to accomplish things that may at first seem inconceivable. Rather than setting mundane, incremental goals, the great manager will set lofty goals that will push people out of their comfort zones.
- Employers don’t honor their commitments. Integrity and honesty are two traits that every employee will expect of their managers. If you say you will do something – do it. Keeping your word and your commitments tell the employee everything they need to know about you and the type of person you are, and if they can trust you.
- They don’t let people pursue their passions. Of all of these, this is the most simple and can mean the most, but it does require that you listen to your employees and observe. Talented employees are passionate. Find out what those passions are and work towards giving them challenges that fill their passionate needs. It just may surprise you what they can do when you let them out of that little box you have kept them in.
If all else fails, simply remember this: “People work for people – they do not work for businesses”.
Reprinted with the permission of Donn Carr, Principal Partner and founder of the Carr Management Group. A well-respected, international authority on retail, the shopping center industry, and customer service. He has been teaching to business owners of all walks of life for over 24 years and is a much sought-after speaker. Contact him at Donn@Carrmg.com