I Love My Job

Why GOOD Employees Leave

Why GOOD Employees Leave

Every company has them no matter the industry – the superstar employee who is highly regarded by clients, peers, and leadership; a top performer who meets and exceeds every single performance metric. They’re compensated well, in fact, you give them bonuses and regular pay increases. So you’re quite shocked when this employee hands in a resignation letter. Why did this happen? Wasn’t money enough to keep the employee? What makes an employee like this leave in search of greener pastures?

Motivation. How so you ask? Employees are motivated by a host of different factors, both intrinsic and extrinsic in nature. Some are driven by work that is rewarding to them, how they can make an impact. Others are driven by the ability to advance their knowledge and skills. A good manager keys in on what those factors are for each employee. Can an employee be driven purely by monetary gain? Absolutely. But these often tend to be the employees that don’t stick around for the long run anyway. They’re not vested in the company and don’t carry the same passion as someone who is driven by more intrinsic factors. People who feel fulfilled at work are more likely to stay.

Employees want to be valued and recognized. A recent study found that 69% of employees would work harder if they were better recognized, 49% said that they would leave their current job for an employer who recognized their employees’ efforts, and 39% of employees did not feel appreciated at work (1). This closely mirrors what the Concentia Group has found as the number one reason people leave their current place of employment – they don’t feel valued. Mid-career to senior level employees are particularly less driven by financial gain than those who are new in their careers.

So what do managers need to do? First, get to know your employees as an individual. You should know their spouses’ names. You should know the major events that are taking place in their lives. Yes, you really should. By using what you learn, you can tailor incentives for each employee such as opportunities for job enrichment like attending a seminar or conference, taking a class to increase a particular skillset, or assuming a project outside of their normal scope of duties. Even a simple job title change can help.

Recognize your employees. Publicly. Take them to lunch or dinner, or even a coffee shop, to get to know them. People are more likely to open up in a relaxed environment. When applicable, reward them with a token of appreciation like additional time off for a great job on a client project or something else that makes sense for your company. Sometimes we forget that employees are people too. And people want to feel valued and appreciated. The bottom line – employees often leave because they have unmet needs and expectations that aren’t tied to money. A good manager identifies and addresses those issues.  Be a good manager.

(1) Javid, S., & Chapa, A. (2014). When Money is not a Motivating Force in the Work Place. Global Journal of HUMAN-SOCIAL SCIENCE: Arts & Humanities – Psychology,14(3).