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Why did my great employee leave me?

Posted by Brandon Bernard on Wed, Mar 13, 2013

We hope that last month's blog that had tips helped yousmall 5471047557 hire the perfect employee. But what if your new, perfect employee has already quit? Do you know what truly caused them to leave? They might have given you the old “it is me, not you” story from middle school dating but you know there is more to the story.

  Reasons employees leave vary wildly from case to case but the employer can mitigate most of these. Though each reason is a unique situation, there tends to be four general reasons a person leaves a job voluntarily. The employee may be following a pre-established plan, they have a better opportunity elsewhere, dissatisfaction and impulse. Let’s take a look at each of these four reasons in a bit more detail with how to mitigate this.

First, the employee may be following a pre-established plan. This plan might be that they are going to quit when a specific life event occurs, such as having a child or getting accepted into the masters program of their dreams. These changes can be tough to mitigate. The best way to manage these is to be part of long term planning with your employee’s careers. By having good, open communication with employees, an employees can plan for these types of changes and may be able to avoid their occurrence by potentially implementing more generous benefits such as maternity or paternity leave or by having the employee go on a temporary leave for school. Employees may also be using your company as a place to gain skills that they can parlay into a better paying career. If you notice this trend happening, you may want to reevaluate some things in your company, such as restructuring compensation or reorganizing your company in a way that you can keep your great talents. This last one tends to also fall into the next category, the employee is leaving for a better opportunity.

This tends to be a tough one to stop as you likely have already lost the employee to a new job. If the employee has found a better road for them to take in their career, this may be a tough one to swallow now but you can use this as a great learning experience. You can do an exit interview where you ask the employee why they are leaving, what they would change, what they like about the position they are accepting and so on. These will all provide you with ways to improve in the future so you can keep employees going forward.

Third, employees many times leave because of dissatisfaction with their work or thee company. Employers will want to regularly monitor interaction with employees and ask for employee feedback regarding workplace satisfaction. This can be a challenge because these satisfaction surveys will not be worth anything if your employee doesn’t trust their criticisms will be taken very well or that things they mention will be acted upon. Many managers can feel attacked if an employee has a criticism regarding something but they need to take this in stride and objectively look at this. You employee may help make something more efficient but you don’t want to brush it off because it isn’t your idea or it isn’t how you would do things. If your employees feel that their feedback is sought and taken into consideration with earnest, they are more likely work with you, their employer through challenges and you likely will be in much better place because of it.

Finally, some employees will leave on impulse. In most instances, these departures are caused by a specific action or a build up of actions. This could be that they have been passed up for a promotion and leave in a huff of anger or because they feel their job is redundant and the customer interactions are too negative so they finally snap one day. Another frequent source of this is issues with managers. One of the most common mistakes a manager can make is to forget that each person needs to be managed as an individual. Each individual has a different personality, different things that motivate them and will take criticism differently. Managing personalities is easily going to be the most challenging thing that they will do. Understanding good management techniques is important for a successful employer.  Managers need to constantly be looking in the mirror through the eyes of each employee. The one size fits all management techniques of the last century are gone. The manager may have an abrasive personality and may be too sharp with criticism, which may bounce off some but may hurt others and demotivate some. A bonus may motivate some but not others (Bonuses will be a topic for another post) but you may want to experiment with various types of motivation to see what truly motivates your team.

Managing employee Turnover is an important part of any successful business. Training, standardization and acclimation of employees into an organizational culture takes time and resources. If an employer looses their employee quickly, these costs and efforts become sunk costs that cannot be recovered and this will result in the degradation of profitability. Understanding why the employee left and what could be done to retain them is the first step to being as successful as you want to be. In the coming months, we will talk about methods of motivation (including bonuses), how to increase retention of employees, especially key employees and how to keep your employees engaged on a day-to-day basis. This series is going to help your company loose fewer excellent employees and get the most out of the ones you have to make you more successful.

Tags: Human Resources

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