It is amazing how often you hear managers complaining about their best employee leaving the company - and it is something to complain about because losing a good employee is not only disruptive, it can become costly to replace them. Managers will often blame their turnover on everything under the sun while ignoring the root cause of their employees leaving: people do not leave jobs, they leave managers.
The sad thing about turnover, is it is something that could be easily avoided if managers took a step back and observed their interactions with their employees. If you are finding that you have a high turnover rate, it is possible that you are doing these nine things that are driving your best employees to leave your team.
1. They overwork their employees.
Nothing drives an employee to leave their job quite like being overworked does. It is so easy to work your best employees at long hours because you know that they can do the job and do it well. This is very perplexing to the employee, however. Over time the employee will begin to feel they are being punished for doing their job well. Not to mention the fact that overworking your employees is actually counterproductive. A recent study done at Stanford shows a significant decrease in productivity after 50+ hours of work in a given week. After 55+ hours a week, the productivity level drops so significantly that the employee may as well not be working. If you find that you must increase your employees hours or work load, it is important to reward the employee with incentives like pay increase, promotions or title-changes. Otherwise your employee will feel overworked and underappreciated.
2. They do not reward hard work or acknowledge contributions.
Many managers underestimate the power of acknowledging their employees hard work. Everyone enjoys being recognized for their work, especially those who are intrinsically motivated. Managers need to work with their employees to figure out ways they feel appreciated and then reward them for a job well done. With top employees, you will be rewarding them often if you do it right.
3. They do not care about their employees.
Over half of the employees that leave their job do so because of their relationship with their manager. Smart companies make sure that managers know how to balance between being a manager and being a human being. Success managers celebrate their employees success, support employees when they are going through a difficult time, and challenge their employees even when challenging them is difficult. Bosses who fail to really care about their employees ultimately will have a high turn over rate. It is difficult to work with someone for 8+ hours a day with someone that is not personally involved or does not care about anything other than your production yield.
4. They do not hold their commitments.
Making promises to people can put you on the line between an employee staying and an employee going. When you keep your commitment to your employee, you are building trust and respect. When you make commitments and do not keep them, the employee feels that you are not trustworthy, uncaring and disrespectful. After all, when a boss that does not stick to his word, why does anyone else need to do so?
5. They hire ineffective people and promote them.
Hard-working employees want to work with like-minded people. When managers hire and promote employees that maybe should not be in the position they are in, employees can feel they are being treated unfairly. There is nothing more upsetting and insulting than when a hard-working employee gets passed up for a promotion for someone that slacked their way up to the top.
6. They do not let people pursue their passions.
Good employees are passionate people. Providing your employees with opportunities to pursue their passions will not only keep them happy, it will increase their productivity and satisfaction. The biggest mistake managers make is not allowing their people to pursue new things in their career. They are afraid the employee's productivity will decline if they let their employees try new things, but that is not true. Studies have shown that people who have the freedom to pursue their passions at work were five times more productive at work.
7. They do not develop their people's skills.
When asked about employee disregard, managers often report they were allowing their employees to be autonomous. However, this excuse is not appropriate. A good manager pays attention to what their employee is accomplishing while providing guidance and reinforcement. As a manager, it is important to keep pushing your employee to become the best version of themselves and continue to develop their skills. Employees - especially the good ones - will want feed back and want it often. If you do not engage them, they will become complacent and bored.
8. They do not engage employee creativity.
The most skilled employees will look to improve everything they come in contact with. If a manager removes their ability to make changes or improvements, an employee will begin to hate their job. Preventing employees from creative freedom not only limits your employees, but it also limits you.
9. They do not challenge their employees intellectually.
A great manager will challenge their employees to push themselves beyond any place they thought they could go. Instead of setting small, easy goals, they will set lofty goals for their employees to pursue. Then a great manager will do everything within their power to help their employees succeed at the goals they have set. An employee that finds their job to be too simple will look for more engaging employment elsewhere.
If you are a manager that wants their best employees to stay, you need to pay close attention to how you interact with your employees. While a good employee will be tough, they still have their limits. You need to make your employees want to work for you.
Great post, Jackie! Everything about this article is so true, especially your point about how managers will overwork their best employees without giving them any sort of reward or recognition. It really does make the employee feel like they are being punished for their productivity and work ethic, which in turn makes them feel less fulfilled in their job. Thanks for sharing!