3 reasons your best employees quit

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Meet Mary. She’s a motivated, hardworking employee. Mary’s been with her current company for more than three years. She feels like she’s paid fairly and receives great benefits, and she loves her job and co-workers. But Mary’s still looking for a new job with a new company.

What’s scary for a lot of employers is that Mary is not alone. An October 2015 Gallup poll of more than 13,000 employees found that the last time respondents changed roles in their careers, 93 percent also changed employers. Considering this, many employers are desperately trying to figure out why so many employees are leaving.

Related: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Team

Employee retention is no longer only about making employees happy in the present—employers also have to consider employees’ satisfaction with the future.

Here are three reasons employees feel they need to leave a company and how you can inspire them to stick around:

1. Employers aren’t helping employees define career paths.

A 2015 LinkedIn report surveyed more than 10,500 workers who had changed jobs. It found that 59 percent of respondents did so because of better opportunities and a stronger career path. For perspective, only 54 percent took a new job because the compensation was better.

For employees, the ability to grow and continue on their career paths is extremely important. They’re waiting for employers to show them how they can do that within their current companies.

To help employees define their career paths, ask them where they need assistance. Everyone has their own goals and expectations for their career and, unless employers discuss this with their employees, it’s nearly impossible to be part of that growth.

Start a dialogue with each employee about what he or she would like to be doing in five, 10 and 15 years. Determine what skills they want to acquire or sharpen, and tell them which they need to be successful. Then, develop a plan and track their progress.

Most importantly, give employees the tools they need. Offer leadership training, mentorship programs and work experience in a variety of departments. This will help employees meet their professional goals and employers retain well-trained, high-performing talent.

Related: The Best Employees Stay With Companies That Help Them to Get Better

2. Employees’ success isn’t tied to the company’s success.

Everybody likes to know that the work they do impacts their company. However, most companies compensate employees for their performance, not how they affect the company’s success. Employees are part of the process, not the result.

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Giving employees stock options or shares of the profits rewards them for how their work has improved the company as a whole. It makes them feel like an integral part of the organization instead of just a cog in the machine. Receiving profit-shares or company stocks strengthens employers’ relationships with their workers. It tells employees that their employers recognize that the company’s future relies on the workers as much as it does on the founders or CEO.

3. Employers don’t promote from within.

In LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report, 32 percent of the 3,800 talent acquisition professionals surveyed said employee retention was a top priority for their organization. Surprisingly, internal hiring was only a priority for 12 percent. It’s no wonder the majority of employees want to leave their companies to advance.

If a new management position is available, don’t run to the job boards to find a candidate. Turn to current employees. Even if they don’t have all of the necessary skills and experience right now, current employees understand how the company works, as well as what their co-workers want and expect from a superior. These important insights can take an outsider months to understand.

The other benefit of promoting a high performer is that employers control how fast the transition is. This way, employers can ease them into new responsibilities and out of old ones at a pace that allows them to get their bearings in the new role. This chain of promotion is less jarring to the company.

For example, if Mary is promoted, she’ll still be in the office to train Jeff, the employee the company promoted to fill Mary’s old job. Jeff, in turn, can help Ken, who will be performing Jeff’s previous duties—and so on. Less time and resources can be spent on training outside employees and, as issues arise in the future, you’ll have an expert on hand to help.

What other factors push employees to new companies, and how can you address them to improve employee retention?

Related: 4 Ways to Entice Departing Talent to Return

Andre Lavoie is CEO and co-founder of ClearCompany. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Copyright © 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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3 reasons why employees should quit their jobs for 2 weeks

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Here’s an idea for 2016—tell your employees to drop all their projects cold turkey for two weeks. No more meetings, status reports or fixing production issues. Tell your employees that they have two weeks to work on something totally different. The only two requirements are that they learn something new and that the project be somehow (or someday) related to the company’s business. Other than that, it’s totally up to them.

Related: How to Avoid Burnout in Your Team

Why is this a good idea? About a year ago, we started a program at Bandwidth where employees take two weeks off to work in a totally different department or on a special project, an opportunity for team members to take a break from their day-to-day jobs to work on a new project that will help to grow the business, solve a problem or save money. Our team says that this kind of time away from their regular jobs is one of their most rewarding experiences. It’s an experience I’d encourage anyone to take part in if they get the chance, and I’d recommend any company consider it. The benefits of temporarily taking on a new role extend far beyond those two weeks—both for employees and employers alike.

Sound too good to be true? Maybe for some folks, this type of break doesn’t feel like a break after all. Yes, you’re still technically at work but doing something completely different is a great way to recharge batteries or transition out of a staid way of thinking. In my experience, it’s been an ideal way to encourage creativity, develop new skills and even turn new ideas into revenue.

1. Encourage creativity.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in nine-to-five monotony. Attend this meeting, answer that email, fix that bug, etc. Employees oftentimes have really creative ideas for new products or enhancements to existing systems that will make them more efficient. The problem is that everyone is so busy trying to support the current product, or building features for the next one, that nobody has time to devote to an experiment that may or may not succeed.

Two weeks of paid time to work on a new project is the perfect way to let their creativity fly. It gives employees the freedom to work on something related to their specific interest areas, getting them excited about work again and igniting that spark for what they love to do. When they’re back at their desks after two weeks, everyone around them experiences a new energy as they incorporate fresh ideas into daily routines.

Related: How to Inspire Innovation Among Employees

2. Develop new skills.

It’s great to become an expert at what you do, but not if that becomes the only thing that you do. It is easy to become the guy or the gal for testing, or deployment or databases. However, if that is the only thing you do every day, other skills may begin to get rusty. Employees need to always be learning something new to stay relevant in their field. These special assignments offer employees the chance to sharpen rusty skills, or learn entirely new ones. The small group setting allows them to compare notes and solve problems with others who bring unique perspectives. This alone can help them learn more in just two short weeks than they might learn in two months working their day-to-day jobs. Expanding their skill sets makes their jobs more enjoyable—and makes them even more valuable to their company.

3. Turn new ideas into new revenue.

Not every two-week break will turn into a new product, service or feature—but it just might. When Bandwidth’s two-week special assignments end, participants present their work and findings to a group of their peers and senior management, making the case for their ideas to move forward. The sessions, which are typically set up as lunch-and-learn format, give participants the opportunity to present what they learned during their two weeks, show a demo of the project prototype and gather feedback from the broader team.

One of the best parts of the program is that some of the company’s special projects go on to become real features in existing products. Even if they don’t, the program is an ideal opportunity for employees to switch gears away from the day-to-day and try something totally new.

This special assignment presents an opportunity to turn a creative vision into reality. There will always be tasks that must be accomplished—and they’ll be waiting for your employees when they finish. But the creativity and skill sets discovered in this timeframe cannot be learned in a standard work environment. If our businesses are about disrupting markets, then we need to equip our employees with the time needed to develop the skills to do so.

Related: 5 Leadership Lessons From My Greatest Boss Ever

Steve Leonard is executive vice president and general manager at Bandwidth. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Copyright © 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.


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