Why Do Good Employees Quit?
There are many reasons good employees leave that are beyond your control- military service, moving for a spouse's’ job, needing to stay home with children. You can’t do anything about big life events. You can’t change a person’s priorities. There are, however, many reasons good employees leave that are totally within your control.
If your good employees are jumping ship, chances are pretty good that they aren’t all leaving because of big life events or a sudden shift in priorities. Your culture, your management, and your perceived growth are all big factors that can either make or break employee retention.
So, why are your employees leaving?
They don’t respect their manager.
Especially when you bring on new management or promote rockstar developers, salespeople, and engineers to management positions there can be major friction between managers and their staff. That makes sense on the surface level- good employees may feel like they’ve been passed over for the promotion, they may have expectations of their new bosses that might not be positive, or they simply don’t feel like the growing pains.
If you suspect a problem manager is driving your other employees away, then you need to act fast to keep the damage from spreading across departments. Conduct exit interviews with your employees and ask for honest feedback about their daily life, their relationships with their bosses, and anything the company could have done to keep them.
Offer ongoing training to your management team, and check in regularly to make sure that they’re maintaining positive professional relationships with their staff. A toxic manager-employee relationship can fester into lower productivity, output, and morale for an entire department.
They don’t feel fulfilled by their work.
When you first start interviewing candidates for any position, you actively seek motivated and passionate people. If for some reason that passion has dwindled (or died) since a great candidate has come on board, you will lose them to another employer who can offer more fulfilling work.
Make a point to check in on employees from time-to-time, and ask for feedback on their specific duties, their level of engagement with their tasks, and how they feel they could better contribute to your mission. If someone is starting to feel undervalued, they’re more likely to speak up if they know you’re listening.
If a great employee is starting to lose motivation, consider giving them more autonomy or leadership to help ignite their passion. If they continue to seem bored and unmotivated, or you can’t change anything about their work environment, be prepared to start looking for a replacement.
They have a toxic coworker.
One bad employee can drive away several talented coworkers. If you suspect that a hire is not working out, plan to act fast in order to minimize the fallout in that department.
The best way to determine if a toxic employee is driving the others away? Exit interviews. Ask for honest feedback from your employees who are on their way out in order to avoid having to conduct more interviews in the future.
They got a better offer.
Good employees quit, great employees get poached. Keep an eye on the happiness and engagement of your top performers. Chances are pretty good that they are frequently approached by recruiters about other positions.
If the decision comes down to money and you can’t compete, don’t get too discouraged when your rockstar leaves. Find a great recruiter who can poach an employee that’s even better.
They are worried about their career trajectory.
One major reason top performers decide to jump ship is a perceived lack of professional growth within the company ranks. When you’re first hiring your employees, ask about how they expect the next 5-10 years to look professionally. Your best people have already mapped out how they want their career to progress, and they will not delay in looking for other opportunities if they suspect that they are outgrowing your operations.
Your managers need to be aware of their employees’ intended career paths. They have the most direct influence over if their employees are on track for promotions and have the ability to make the most out of certifications and continuing education. Make a commitment to career progression a big part of your company culture. Take a look at Chipotle for inspiration.
They are worried about the company’s trajectory.
If your company hasn’t met its quarterly goals, it’s very common for employees to get nervous about their long-term stability within your ranks.