Why Employees Leave

April 16, 2014

“People will inevitably change jobs, so stop treating it like a surprise. Assume your people will move up or out, and plan for it.”

This 3 part blog will examine 3 things:

  • Know why people leave their jobs.
  • Know when you can keep employees and how.
  • Know when to let employees move on and how you go on without them.

Part 1: Know why people leave their jobs.

In order to identify if you can or even want to keep an employee who is considering leaving, you need to understand why employees leave their jobs. Many people may assume pay is the main reason employees leave a job, but as discussed in the blog; The Four Generations Ruling the Business World, recently people in the workforce will sacrifice pay for flexibility and job satisfaction.

The most common reason people leave their job has to do with their engagement not salary. This includes the engagement with their boss, in the actual work itself and their engagement to coworkers. If employees continue to clash with their boss and coworkers or seem bored and disinterested in their daily activities, there should be no shock when one day they “suddenly” put in their two weeks’ notice.

Another reason people leave their job is because the company lacks room for advancement or hires outside management instead of promoting within. Talented employees want to branch out and grow with a company. When they don’t have the opportunity to do that they become complacent and unhappy.

Part 2: Know when you can keep employees and how.

If you notice signs of frustration, tension or boredom in a valued employee or are fortunate enough for them to come to you with their feelings, you should act fast.

Team building exercises are a good way to build employee relations. Having one-on-ones with talented workers is a great way to learn more about skills they may not be putting to full use. Asking your employees what tasks or positions they are interested in is a good way to show your interest in them and help them reach their full potential and professional goals. Invest in your employees if they have a strong interest in a different department try to set up a day for them to shadow a person in that department so they can learn more about the role and if it is something at which they would flourish. If a worker feels ready to take their role to a new level, find training seminars or professional conferences they may find rewarding and insightful. (This could have double the benefit, not only does it give your employee incentive to stay, they may learn skills or meet people who can help further your business).

If you value the employee and they tell you that they are considering leaving, ask them why. If they say pay ask them what other problems they have and you often will uncover the real problem.

Part 3: Know when to let employees move on and how to proceed without them.

Some employees are going to have to leave, no matter what you do. You need to recognize when you can no longer benefit the employees growth and allow them to move on to their next opportunity. Having an employee leave can be a hard hit for a company. There may be temporary changes in production. Another factor is the time and resources it takes to find and train a replacement. Have employees keep job manuals. Similar to the way you may look in the manual of a new gadget to learn how to change a setting, this should be a source where the new hire can refer and find answers that only their predecessor might have known.

Stay on good terms with the employee if possible. Depending on the amount of notice you require when an employee leaves and if they have found a new position, see if the employee can help train their replacement or if you can reach out to them if needed.

Remember to look at this as chance for improvement depending on why the employee left, you can find ways to improve your relationships with your workers, find new practices to improve work quality because you have a new point of view, and look for ways to increase internal opportunities to increase employee longevity and decrease turnover.

Experience is the best teacher.


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