Some of the first questions we ask our new clients are, “why would a smart, highly-skilled person want to leave a great job to come and work for you?” Or, “what keeps your best employees happy and why do they want to stick around?” Remember, when you hire someone fantastic, somewhere out there another company leader is freaking out over losing a valuable employee. Educate yourself before it’s too late Here are 5 reasons great employees quit:
1. They feel the business is unstable
Whether it’s a merger, a round of lay-offs, or a change in management, instability makes employees uneasy. If your business is going through a lot of change, anticipate questions and concerns ahead of time, and then determine how you can offer reassurance. If an employee feels his job is threatened, it doesn’t matter how nice of a boss you are or how many days of PTO you offer—it’s about bills and family responsibilities. Without communication and context, the grapevine can take unrelated events and make them into a hotbed of rumors and fear.
2. They think they have been treated unfairly
The fastest way to annoy your employees is to treat them unfairly. Often times, unfair treatment is about perspective, so it’s important to evaluate how your business decisions, including promotions, raises, and even public praise, may affect some of your top-performing employees. Also, giving people opportunities to share their experiences with you will give you a pulse into the vibe around the company—and if you’re open to it, you’ll hear plenty about fairness, or lack thereof.
3. They are overworked and/or underpaid
Nothing makes a great employee more resentful than being overworked and underpaid. If your company culture is one where lunch breaks are frowned upon or leaving at a reasonable time is considered under-performing, your employees are not going to be with you for the long haul. Similarly, if an employee has the skills and experience to get a higher paying job with another company, you can be certain they eventually will. Paying attention to market pay levels and how you track them, not to mention workloads and stress levels, will be your best investment in staying ahead of the overwork/underpay gremlins that can infest your company without invitations.
4. Their compensation and/or benefits are reduced
Changes in compensation can send great employees into the job market. Whether you’re changing your commission structure or reducing the amount of money the company contributes to medical benefits, be aware that these “perks” are an important part of keeping great talent and they directly affect the amount of money people take home each pay period. A decrease in any benefits will always increase the risk that one of your top performers will begin circulating her resume. Ever heard of moving cheese? If you do it, you know the risks.
5. Their work is not acknowledged
Failure to give praise when and where it’s due is a quick way to lose high-quality people. Recognizing great work publicly and giving credit for a job well done is an important part of being a great leader. It also breeds loyalty, clarity of expectations, and good-will with the rest of your team.