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Why do good people leave good jobs?



For many hiring managers, their focus is making sure their team is delivering and that their people are happy. In today’s competitive job market, top employees leave a good job, which leaves hiring manager’s puzzled. What is causing this, and how can an employer work to minimize it?

Here are some of the major reasons employees leave their good jobs:

  • Lack of adherence to commitments by management, including lack of recognition for an employee’s specific contributions– whether that is a raise, a promotion, or something as simple as a call-out – resulting in employee frustration

  • No clear career or skill development for employees, and when management doesn’t give clear feedback, employees don’t really know where they stand and can become complacent about their jobs

  • The work-life balance is off which creates stress both inside and outside the work environment

  • Employees don’t feel intellectually or creatively challenged

Recent studies show that up to one-third of stellar employees are on the hunt for a new job at any given time. People don’t like looking for new jobs, so the decision to leave is very tough for good employees. It is often the result of countless management missteps that frustrate employees to the point that they look for another job. Of the reasons mentioned above, they primarily revolve around management and lack of awareness of how to keep employees engaged and feel valued. Here are a few hints on what management can do to retain good employees:

  • Make sure there is a good line of communication with your employees – they need to know where they stand and where you stand. Since “empowerment” or “freedom” are often viewed by employees as inattention, management needs to communicate clearly and truthfully and not just use popular terms.

  • Poor processes, such as those related to employee evaluations and feedback, should be reviewed to ensure their effectiveness

  • Review your staffing levels and skillsets – they may be out of balance with the work that needs to be done, and create stress for your employees

  • Look at the work environment. Do you constantly rely on the same employees when you have a problem, to the exclusion of employees who need to be challenged? Do you have a culture of continual learning, or is it just the same day after day? Do you sponsor any teambuilding events that don’t directly relate to work?

There may be themes to why good employees leave. Often, you won’t get a direct response as to why a person is leaving during their exit interview, but you might be able to glean some reasons from your discussion, especially if you have repetitive similar departures. Look at those reasons and determine how to address them in your specific environment. Good employees are a valuable commodity to the success of your organization – you must work to keep them.


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