Why people quit (and how to prevent it)

A recent CareerBuilder study revealed that 76% of full-time employees are actively searching for a new job or are open to new opportunities. Yikes. That’s three quarters of your workforce that are sure there’s something better out there.

The takeaway from this study is simple: getting your employees to stay put is an art form. And since your company’s growth is reliant on its ability to retain top talent, it’s an art form that you need to learn. It’s imperative that you understand why your best people leave their jobs, and what you can do to keep them around.

Here’s a look at three of the most common reasons why people quit, and how you can prevent it.

1. Burnout

Over and over again, burnout is one of the top causes of decreased motivation, performance, and innovative thinking. The 2016 insights of the Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index found that 43% of Canadians are working long hours to catch up on work they couldn’t finish during the eight-hour day, and that 22% of them work 11 hours or more per day. The study also revealed that one in five Canadians – about 19% – have taken a stress-related leave of absence from the workplace. To put it plainly, the average workload is not manageable and, ultimately, sets employees up for failure.

How you can prevent it:

High workloads can be managed when the right processes and procedures are put into place. Do you have the latest technology to keep things flowing smoothly? Are there a thousand emails flying around about a project when one simple meeting or brief would do? Streamline your processes to improve communication so that everyone’s time is being used wisely and employees feel respected. Also, ensure that managers are readily available to help organize and delegate tasks. Everything can’t be a priority, and while that may sound like common sense, keeping it in mind is a common struggle among employees.

2. Boredom

It isn’t rare for a person to start a job, only to realize a few days or weeks later that it’s not quite what they expected. The employer might be at fault for not being transparent about the role, or the candidate could be blamed for not asking enough questions. Either way, it’s problematic. If an employee isn’t learning anything new for an extended period of time, or if their tasks and projects are too repetitive, it’s inevitable that their motivation will wane, performance will slip, and dissatisfaction will grow. Additionally, if your employees aren’t aware of how their contributions matter, they’ll feel just as dissatisfied.

How you can prevent it:

Ask for – and give – feedback regularly, particularly from new hires and employees working on the more monotonous projects. This will create a dialogue around their goals and contributions, in turn showing how they influence the success of your organization. Clear communication and transparency are key to establishing a strong employee relationship; employees who know that their development is a priority at your organization are far more likely to work with you to make their job more fulfilling.

3. Disconnect with management

According to a recent Gallup poll, one in two workers have left a job to get away from their manager. When an employee feels misunderstood by their manager, it isn’t hard to understand how job satisfaction is directly impacted. Due to the delicate nature of the relationship between supervisor and employee, the effects can even ripple and cause tension throughout an entire team, which can kill morale and create a difficult working environment.

How you can prevent it:

Exceptional managers aren’t necessarily rare, but they require developmental support and training. Most importantly, they require feedback. Pay attention to how your employees interact with their leaders. If you notice a specific manager losing employees at a higher rate than others, address it head on. Set your management up for success by learning why their team members feel disconnected, and working with them to build and grow their communication skills.

When a company is losing its best people, it’s time for some serious reflection. To ensure your employees feel valued and encouraged to stay at your company, remember to practice open communication, work toward transparency in professional growth and development, and monitor how your staff is engaging with their leaders.

See also:
The (quick) lowdown on employee engagement
How to be a good boss: 7 tips from an executive coach


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