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Keeping Good People Is Essential to a Successful Business.

Wow! You discovered your golden egg.

The employee that’s the picture-perfect match to your company’s precise needs.

They begin work and you think, “This is too good to be true.”

But it’s not and you allow yourself to become overjoyed with what the possibilities are with this new employee.

Then you get the dreaded email: “I’m offering my resignation. I have been given another opportunity that I can’t afford to pass up.”

They resign only a year after joining your company.

What? Why? I don’t get it.

Turnover is expensive, aggravating, time-consuming and exhausting. When that turnover is one of your more talented employees, the blow is all the harder to take. Truth is, it’s happened even in the best of companies.

Let’s face it. Every company wants to hold onto their best talent for as long as possible, yet top performing employees are often one of the first to go. This is not only costly and disruptive to the organization but affects the people on their teams as well.

Imagine the departure of a highly valuable team member and the unintentional hurt that’s placed on the business. Replacing them can be a struggle. Ensuring the high standard continues can be difficult. Hiring the right candidate, even more difficult.

The problem leads us to ask and answer the question, “What are the reasons good employees quit?”

Frequently, people leave a company because they aren’t happy. An added problem is that when one person moves to join another firm, it can create a domino effect wherein they may tempt others to follow. If a number of people leave their jobs then others will begin to ponder their position, questioning why everyone is leaving and thinking perhaps it’s the right time for them to move on, too.

That’s why it’s important to understand why people are resigning, then where it’s possible to put in measures to reduce the likelihood of others leaving.

Let’s take a few minutes to review some of the chief reasons people leave their jobs hastily as discovered by Human Resources professionals.

The boss lacks empathy

A recent Businesssolver survey disclosed that 93 percent of employees are more apt to stay with their job if their boss is empathetic.

Such empathy is vital for leaders, particularly if they supervise a team of skilled workers and want to keep them on board long term. As a manager or boss, he/she would feel a concern about them as people, not just employees. If they do, these people will be more eager to go the extra mile.

They feel underutilized

When people say they’re feeling underutilized at work, they’re not only talking about the amount of work, but also the nature of the work they’re doing. People spend one-third of their lives working, getting ready for work or transporting themselves to work.

For the amount of time people spend doing work-related activities, most employees want to do work that’s consequential or challenges them to boost their skills. They thrive on working towards goals and being pushed outside of their comfort zones. Set stretch goals for them to realize and they’ll work vigorously to meet them. Give them nothing but tasks that are easy to complete and they’ll quickly get bored.

You might want to have top performers work on a project that isn’t going well and let them figure out ways to improve it.

When work is no longer stimulating, they’ll look for other opportunities. Mangers need to talk to employees and, when needed, help them rediscover the purpose in their work and give them new or added responsibilities wherever feasible.

They’re overworked

On the other side of the coin from being unchallenged lies being overworked. It’s somewhat of an oxymoron. When you have a great employee, you give them more work. But it can be a trap. As one HR specialist summed it up – just because they’re good at what they do doesn’t mean they should be smothered by work.

There’s a fine line here – you need to discover the balance between added work and overworked.There’s a distinction between handing an employee more work as they’re the most capable person around and piling on extra tasks nonstop. Nothing is more annoying to a top employee than constantly being assigned additional work because their coworkers were incapable of completing it.

Keep in mind, too, that some of the top performers might not be excellent team players. Putting them together with a bunch of C-players is not good for anyone.

If you’re always relying on your best performers to do more, then you need to consider awarding some type of promotion. If possible, this would involve a raise in pay, but if that’s not feasible, a new job title emphasizing their added duties and putting them on the track to a raise in the near future can be enough. If you merely boost their workload without changing a thing, they’ll find another employer who will meet their needs appropriately.

They aren’t appreciated

In the wake of their being overworked, there’s the topmost performer who senses their work isn’t being appreciated. If they are constantly executing above average but receiving little or no recognition, two things will ensue. One, they’ll stop investing as much energy into their work and two, they’ll begin a search for a new job.

Appreciation can be as easy as informing someone that they’ve done a good job. That familiar pat on the back stretches a long way toward their remaining motivated. Go one step beyond and discover what inspires each employee individually. For some, it’s public acknowledgement, for others, it’s private. Tailoring the manner in which you demonstrate appreciation makes it that much more genuine and will be that much more treasured.

Their work arrangements aren’t flexible

Most employees envisage a more relaxed schedule today. They’re not necessarily investigating a conventional 9-to-5 gig that obliges they be on the job each day. If a company provides a more easy-going schedule, workers would be more apt to select that company over one that doesn’t.

In fact, surveys have indicated that 37 percent of employees would give notice to their current employer for a job that allowed them to work remotely part of the time and 82 percent would be more dedicated to their present employer if they provided more flexibility.

Management mishaps

“Most people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers,” says Wendy Duarte Duckrey, vice president of recruiting at JPMorgan Chase.

Accepting that your company management’s philosophy might be part of the problem is the initial step to bettering retention, she says.

“When you lose top talent, the first place to look is at management,” Duckrey says. “Managing teams as a whole is hard. You have to manage to each individual and invest time into discovering what each member of a team needs both at work and outside of work to do their job to the best of their ability.”

Do your employees believe they’re all in this as one? Do they sense that their suggestions, anxieties and challenges are recognized and, when possible, acted upon? Do they feel appreciated?

While it may seem trivial, merely listening to employees’ concerns and doing what you can to deal with them, or at least giving reason for why they can’t be dealt with at present, will go a long way to retaining the best and brightest, Duckery says.


Did you know that 38 percent of employees would rather do objectionable activities – like opting for more work or sitting next to someone who eats noisily – than sit next to their micromanaging boss?

Okay, we’ve seen why people leave. So, what can you do to keep them from doing so?

Be process-centric, not hero-centric

The more your practices and methods are documented, and all employees are trained on those practices and methods, the less risk there is to the company when a key person leaves your firm. Other employees can then easily step in and fill the void.

When a company revolves around a handful of heroes, it can be demoralizing for the people who are not one of these heroes,” says Marissa Levin, co-founder of Successful Culture International and a culture and leadership expert.

Lose the hierarchy Levin says that the notion of coming in and paying your dues before you speak up is an obsolete point of view. “From the day they start on the job, you should give employees an opportunity to be valuable. Creating cultures of mentorship rather than a strict hierarchy is really important,” she says. Foster communication and teamwork.

Offer career paths

The top-notch employees are those eyeing progress in their careers. They desire to know there is room for growth and advancement when they attain seniority with the organization. Talk with your top-performers about their career paths. Ask where they want to go within the company and help them carve a path to get there.

This should include outlining any training or added education required to reach those goals. Better yet, provide company support in helping employees achieve their milestones. This might be in the way of tuition reimbursement. You might ask your best foremen and supervisors to mentor your most promising up-and-comers. There is no better training than on-the-job training.

Don’t forget about training on soft skills, that often get overlooked. It’s often these “soft” skills like communication, conflict resolution and teamwork that build future leaders.

These types of actions create employee loyalty, providing an incentive to stay with your company.

Give employees a sense of purpose

Roughly 75 percent of employees say teamwork and collaboration are “very important” to them, according to a report by ClearCompany.

Company-sponsored community service projects provide one such way to boost teamwork and collaboration outside of the normal daily grind. Most notably, community service endeavors present employees the opportunity to experience they’re part of something much bigger than just an HVAC repair job, a highway crew or a drywall project.

Pay attention to exit interviews

When people do leave, it’s important to find out why.

The goal of the exit interview should be to find out where the company did well or fell short on communication or meeting expectations”, says Successful Culture International’s Marissa Levin. True, exit interviews can be a handy tool, but it’s about more than simply accumulating data. Companies must dissect and share information and then follow up with action.

Levin advises that exiting employees might not be comfortable giving straightforward responses. “If you haven’t already developed a culture of trust, when an employee leaves, they are not all of a sudden going to divulge everything to you,” she warns.

In summary

Why good people quit can vary. Fact is, with talent comes options. When you’re next engaging with your employees, remember to give them a quick pat on the back, state to them they’re doing a great job and make sure they are aware they’re appreciated.

To get your employees to want to remain working for you and not just use you as a steppingstone to a better job, follow the guidelines provided above and reap the rewards. Your employees and your business will thank you for it.

Should you have the occasion to need professional assistance in filling a key position within your company, don’t hesitate to give PDDM Solutions a call. We specialize in finding those top performers.

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