Employers… Ever Had a Really Good Employee Leave?

If you’ve ever had a really good employee leave, you’ll know it’s one of the most frustrating and challenging issues employers have to deal with.

You know the kind of employee I mean – someone you can rely on to do a good job – someone you value highly and trust – someone who’s reliable and sensible.

When one of those employees comes to you and says “Boss, I’m leaving” it’s the last thing you want to hear.

If you can’t persuade them to stay, you just know it’s going to be a difficult, time consuming and very expensive exercise finding someone to replace them.

And there’s the added risk your new employee may not be as dependable or productive as the trusted employee who’s leaving. It’s definitely a situation you want to avoid!

So I was really interested to read a UK job-related survey entitled…

“Why And How People Change Jobs”.

I was interested to discover what reasons employees gave for leaving their employment.  What made them want to move, what were the reasons? And importantly, how can we make sure it doesn’t happen to us? Maybe a little planning and a few adjustments now could save a lot of heartache down the line!

And thinking positively, how can we turn this knowledge to our advantage and use it to attract great new employees to our business?

There are of course 1001 reasons why people may move to a new employer and the survey can’t cover them all, but here are the top 5, and I think there is certainly something for all of us to take away.

The top 5 reasons people gave for moving to a new employer are:

  1. A perceived lack of opportunity for advancement
  2. Unsatisfied with leadership / senior management
  3. Wanting more challenging work
  4. Unhappy with the working environment or culture
  5. Lack of recognition for their contribution

Did you notice?  The top 5 reasons are about “feelings”.

The feeling of disappointment that the company or the management isn’t providing the challenge, success or satisfaction the employee wanted.

Many employers will perhaps be surprised that remuneration doesn’t feature higher on the list. These ’emotional’ things matter more, it seems, than money.

In fact “Remuneration” came in at No.6 with a much lower score than the No.1 reason “A perceived lack of opportunity for advancement”.

And this survey result is not a one-off.

Working with employers on candidate attraction on a daily basis, I have a professional / compelling interest in reading reports on this topic whenever and wherever I find them.
“Opportunity for advancement” or “career progression” is (statistically) almost always the number one reason why people choose to join (or leave) a business, and remuneration / money is seldom at the top of the list.

So what conclusions can we draw from this report?

If you want to keep your best staff, the ones on whom you rely the most, the ones whose departure would most hurt you and your business, focus of fixing items 1 to 5 and youstand the best chance of keeping them for the long term. Maybe you can’t satisfy everyone on every count, but if you focus on improving the areas of greatest dissatisfaction, the longer your best staff are likely to stay.

And here’s a BONUS!

If you can nurture a reputation for being good with your staff, for being a great place to work, and you focus in particular on items 1 to 5 you will probably find it easier to attract new talent to your business when you need it.

Food for thought!


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