Exodus: Are your employees just waiting for their chance to jump ship?

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Your employees are one of your most valuable assets. The loss of a good one represents more than just an open position to be filled. Most companies consider the more obvious costs of hiring a new employee like recruiting fees, advertising, and potential monetary incentives. Not everyone considers the less obvious costs such as:

  • Cost of introductory training and managing of a new employee
  • Loss in productivity until the new employee is trained (this could be 1 to 2 years in some cases)
  • Cost of new employee errors/customer service issues
  • The cultural impact of losing a beloved or well know employee on your business
  • Negative impact on morale or engagement of other employees from seeing one of their own leave or be let go

Add it all up and the total cost of losing a single employee can be staggering! So it goes without saying (although we’re going to), that it is in every company’s best interest to do everything possible to hold on to its employees.

A word to the wise: Your employees might be waiting to leave your company in the New Year.

Many employees are just waiting to cash in on their year-end bonuses before jumping ship. Why? Because they can. With more positions open than candidates to fill them, employees don’t have to stick around for anything less than an optimum employment situation. What used to be considered small irritations can now be used as an excuse to look for greener pastures.

Reasons Employees Leave (and how to retain your employees)

Now is a critical time for employers to take steps to strengthen their relationships with employees and prevent a mass exodus in January. Understanding why an employee is likely to leave is the first step in prevention. Here are the top reasons your employees’ eyes might begin to wander and ways to provide a too-good-to-leave work environment.

1. Little Appreciation or Recognition

We’re putting this one first because it is likely the TOP reason employees walk out on employers. Lack of appreciation can come in many forms like: not receiving “thank you” for a job well done, executives taking credit for juniors’ work, under-compensation, lack of general incentives or bonuses, and more.

Luckily, this problem is easily fixed. Say thank you! Give your employees credit where credit is due. Pay them competitive rates in exchange for their value. And don’t forget to offer rewards for good work and incentives for future good work.

2. Lack of Trust

Employees know when they’re being kept on a short leash. Good workers will feel not-good when they are micromanaged, triple checked, and restrained in their jobs.

The solution? Don’t hire or keep around employees that you don’t trust. If you decide to keep an employee, make sure you provide enough initial training to make sure he or she knows how to do the job right. Provide enough reviews to make sure you (the employer) know that he or she can do the job right. Then, trust your trustworthy employee. Give them the autonomy to run with projects or tasks and allow them the space to show you their best work.

3. No Opportunity for Growth and Advancement

Good employees naturally have personal and professional aspirations. This is a good sign! If they’re feeling stuck at your company with no opportunity for growth and advancement – they will look elsewhere.

Provide your employees with continuing education as well as opportunities for additional training for new responsibilities or roles. When a position opens up, promote from within before looking outside the company. Show your candidates you are invested in them and their unique goals. Companies and employees both benefit when employees are supported in reaching their full potentials.

4. Unbalanced Work/Life Balance

Most employees do not sign up for their jobs to become their entire lives. While business owners (especially small business owners) are often willing to do high volumes of work for low levels of pay in order to build a business, employees need a sustainable work-life balance. Reasonable policies for vacations, personal days, sick leave, and family leave all go a long way toward promoting a healthy work/life balance.

Many employees are also looking for flexible schedules and the opportunity to work remotely. If your business model allows for it, consider offering this option to both your current employees and prospective candidates.

5. Poor Management and Communication

Sometimes it’s not them, it’s YOU! Most employees want to do good work. This can become difficult when they are given conflicting directions from superiors, don’t have the resources needed to do the job, or simply aren’t being heard. These are all examples of poor management and communication – and we’re sure you can think of many others.

If you want to keep your employees happy, take a look at your executive and management team first. Good work follows good management. Make sure management is facilitating employee work rather than holding it back.

Cumulative Effect

Employees rarely leave for just one reason. It’s usually the cumulative effect of repetitive issues that eventually leads them to hand in that resignation letter. One isolated event may seem small to (or even go unnoticed by) an employer. Employees don’t always speak up when something is bothering them. That’s why it is important to seek input from your employees and to listen carefully to what they have to say.  Ask them about what they would like to keep or change about their jobs in the coming year and follow through with action. Encourage an open-door policy that makes employees feel welcome to approach management directly when a problem arises to prevent molehills turning into mountains.

As you are reading this you have employees who are counting the days until that bonus check arrives.  You probably know who they are and, if they are an asset to your organization, you still have time to set things right.

When people believe they are truly valued – they’ll stay.