In a recent Gallup poll it was reported that 70 percent of Americans are negative about their job. As the economy and job market continue to thaw those 70 percent will more than likely leave. There are numerous reasons why so many Americans hate their work and the root cause more than likely isn’t what you think. What can you start doing now to try to turn that around and hopefully avoid a mass exodus?
In the book The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave author Leigh Branham has analyzed more than 20,000 anonymously submitted post-exit surveys from employees in 17 different industries. His finding: only about 11 percent of departing employees cited pay as a significant reason for leaving. However, Branham cited a survey conducted by the Harvard Management Update that indicated 89 percent of managers believe dissatisfaction with pay is the number one reason employees leave. Don’t be the 89 percent who blindly believe that pay is why you are losing your top performer.
Here are the main reasons Leigh Branham identified employees leave and my take on how you can turn that around before it’s too late.
1. Loss of Trust and Confidence in Senior Leaders (reported by 26 percent)
If your followers have lost trust and confidence in you or the organization’s senior leadership team they will not follow you toward the direction you want to go. Trust is a very difficult thing to establish and once you have it you must respect it. Once lost, trust is very difficult to regain. Confidence on the other had is a little easier to earn back. Confidence can easily be restored through one or more win. However, the more losses you have had the more the confidence degrades. The length of time the confidence has been lost will also determine how many wins are needed to earn it back.
2. Not Feeling Valued, Recognized, or Rewarded, including Pay (22 percent)
This one always baffles me. The simplest “thank you” regularly spoken or hand written to your employees can help them to feel valued and appreciated. A public email to recognize a recent goal or task they completed well is quick, easy and inexpensive. You can skip Starbucks for a week and pick up a 10.00 dollar gift card as a reward or a “just because” or take your team to lunch or happy hour.
3. Stress from Overwork and Work-Life Imbalance (15 percent)
Don’t set your people up to fail. Giving them more and more work because they have been able to handle it can be a reward but there comes a tipping point. When you have a work-life imbalance you start to lose creativity. When possible have them leave early on a Friday or give them a free day off. When you recognize how many hours they have been putting in by offering free hours away from the office can give a quick boost to their morale. Even giving them the ability to work from home for a day will act as a nice reward to keep them going.
4. Quality of Manager Coaching & Communication (13 percent)
Evaluate your coaching and communications skills. If necessary take a coaching class or read coaching articles or blogs. We can always improve our communication style. Sign up for communication classes if you feel you can improve in that area. If you aren’t sure, solicit feedback from your team to get their perspective on where you rank in those areas. Ultimately it is their opinion of where you rank that matters, to get honest feedback do an anonymous survey.
5. Insufficient Career Growth and Learning (11 percent)
There simply may not be anything that you can do surrounding career growth. This is wholly dependent on your organizations growth. You can however provide learning opportunities. This is especially true if you are in need of a back-up for when you are out. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, the last thing you need is a carrot that constantly dangles in front of them without a tangible reward.
6. Unrealistic New Hire Expectations (4 percent)
You have to close the gaps between expectations and reality prior to the new hire starting their position. Find ways to accurately demonstrate your culture to ensure they can thrive in that environment. Think about other ways to showcase real-world examples of communications and interactions that allow them to sample the work. One really good method is to have them spend a few minutes with a recent new hire to share their experiences.
7. Job-Person Mismatch (4 percent)
This usually cannot be fixed after the fact. When hiring, don’t rush and certainly don’t hire a warm body to fill a seat or to up your headcount. You need to hire someone eligible for the job or if you want to grow someone into it you must have the time to invest up front. Don’t minimize the ability it takes to do the job just because it is a lower level position.
As a leader in your organization it is important to understand the real reasons why employees will leave. From there you can develop a plan to ensure you are addressing those reasons before they reach their breaking point. Don’t blindly believe that more money or bigger bonuses will stop a top performer from leaving your organization.