Why the Best People Are Leaving Your Company
Unexpected losses of key people are one of the most costly and troublesome issues a business can face. With all the talk some leaders give about the importance of attracting and retaining top talent, you wouldn’t think there would be a revolving door in some companies. But so often there is.
As is the case with much of business life, there is too much talking and not enough doing.
People who are engaged, challenged, encouraged, supported, valued, and rewarded rarely leave organizations. But when these critical things are missing, it won’t be long before people begin walking out the door.
If you really take the time to understand the actual reasons behind someone leaving – and you need to – you will find that it rarely has anything to do with the company. Here are ten of the biggest reasons people leave:
- You don’t set clear expectations. Goals and expectations are important measuring sticks for progress and achievement. Knowing the expectations reminds people what’s important. And focusing people on what’s important eliminates doubt and confusion. People then have the freedom and speed to move forward quickly. When expectations are unclear, people are hesitant, indecisive, and unsure, which leads to frustration, low engagement, and resignations.
- You don’t develop people. An on-going effort to encourage the development of others is necessary, regardless of how talented they are. You don’t build a business. You build people, and then people build the business. When you fail to invest in the development of your people, they will leave you for someone who will.
- You don’t recognize others for good work. It takes a team of people to do great things in a business. Recognition and praise are essential to getting people engaged. Unfortunately, praise is missing from too many companies and the teams within them. When you routinely ignore the best efforts of people on your team, you are inviting them to leave.
- You don’t put people in a position to succeed. People naturally have different levels of skills and experience. A person will succeed to the degree his unique combination of skills and experiences are used. Matching the right person to the right job, or the right job to the right person is one of the most important responsibilities of any leader. People get frustrated and leave when their unique talents aren’t being utilized in a way where they can be successful.
- You don’t give people an opportunity to be heard. Smart people have their own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Talented people need the chance to make an impact. Nothing encourages engagement like a genuine interest in the ideas and opinions of people throughout the organization. When you don’t create opportunities for people to express their opinions, to be heard, and to be taken seriously – they will eventually leave.
- You don’t give people a clear vision. People need to understand where the company is headed and how their job fits in the grand scheme of things. There is a natural need for people to know why they come to work every day – beyond a paycheck, benefits, and decent working conditions. Leaders who fail to effectively communicate their vision in a way that helps people connect meaning to it will encourage people to find meaning someplace else.
- You don’t care about people. Of course people come to work to do a job and get paid, but that’s not the only reason. It’s human nature to seek an emotional connection with others – even at work. But far too many businesses are dominated by a concern for only making the numbers. People recognize this and give more effort when they feel they are cared about and are more than just a number. People eventually leave when you don’t show that you care about them on a human and emotional level.
- You don’t give people opportunities to learn and grow. Talented people are driven. Making progress is what separates a career from a job. Top people proactively seek new responsibilities, new knowledge, and new challenges. If you don’t challenge these people, they will leave you for someone who will.
- You don’t give consistent feedback. People want to know how they are doing. Timely and consistent feedback reinforces positive behavior, prevents small issues from becoming big problems, and creates an atmosphere of open communication. If you limit feedback to an annual event, or worse, never give it at all, you are asking people to leave you for a manager who knows the importance of giving regular feedback.
- You accept mediocrity. People want to work with others that are as committed to doing great work as they are. If you don’t expect a strong work ethic and a sense of responsibility to the team, an atmosphere is created where it’s easy to slack off, push work off on others, and point fingers when things go wrong. Committed people don’t want to work with slackers or anyone not pulling his weight.
A company is a legal entity made up of offices, cubicles, and computers. No one leaves because of that.
The next time someone resigns, take the time to understand what he is really resigning from. If leaders spent more time trying to understand the people that work for them, care about them, and invest in them, they wouldn’t have to concern themselves with retaining them.
Why do you think good people leave bad leaders?