5 Reasons Why The Best Employees Quit – And How To Retain Them

One of the worst experiences any HR can face is when one of their best employees unexpectedly hands in their resignation. As soon as this happens, most HRs kick into action – trying their best to get the employee to change their mind. Unfortunately, this is often not possible. The employee quits – much to the disappointment of everyone at the company.

To avoid facing such scenarios (or at least minimize the likelihood of them occurring), you need to create an atmosphere which can encourage your best employees to stay. The first step towards this is actually understanding why the best employees quit.

Now, barring personal reasons (e.g. following a spouse to another part of the country, staying at home with children, etc), most employees actually quit because of certain conditions in the workplace. In essence, rather than quitting, most feel pushed out. Some of the most common workplace-related reasons why the best employees quit are the following:

  1. Lack Of A Clear Vision

People don’t go to work simply to earn a living. Most people also get a sense of identity, fulfillment and purpose from their work. As such, they crave for a sense of meaning from their work. The greatest fulfillment often comes from feeling that they are contributing towards something big. This is where a company vision comes in.

Many companies communicate their vision to only a few of the top managers. These are the people who understand it or truly care about it. Everybody else is left in the dark. This is a huge mistake.

To reduce the likelihood of your best employees quitting, make sure they understand the vision. Make sure that they feel a part of it. Let them feel that they have an important contribution towards achieving it. If the vision is compelling enough, your best will stick with you – even if your rival offers them a higher pay scale.

The ultimate question is: how do you make sure that your employees not only understand, but also buy into the vision? Well, here are a few tips:

  • create a compelling vision (create an attractive story around your vision, something motivating and engaging).
  • communicate your vision regularly (find new ways to sell it to your employees)
  • make every employee understand how their job contributes towards the vision
  1. Lack Of Career Development

 retain employees goalsThe best employees usually want to grow and develop. That is what makes them better than the rest. Their drive for advancement is what makes them put in the effort to excel. As such, the lack of opportunities for career development can cause such employees to quit.

The lack of opportunities typically takes one of two forms. The first is lack of opportunities for training and skill development. Developing an employee’s skills shows that you value them. The second is lack of opportunities for advancement (in terms of promotions).

Now, the second form can be quite tricky to handle. The simple fact is that not everyone can ultimately end up as the CEO. Even then, there are certain things which you can do to create a sense of mobility in your company.

  • create training opportunities for your best employees. This will keep them motivated, and will also encourage others to work harder.
  • attach perks to each milestone in training. The perks can come in form of a slight pay rise. If your training is effective, then their new skills will improve their productivity, and pay for the perks.
  • articulate a clear career plan within your company. Let people know what they can achieve, and what it what it takes to achieve
  1. Lack Of Recognition/Appreciation

Everyone craves recognition and appreciation. This is just human nature. When a person consistently performs better than others (which is what the best employees do), they expect to be treated better. And they are right.

The best employees will quit if they feel that their efforts aren’t duly recognized or appreciated by management. Unfortunately, some companies make this mistake. In other companies, something even worse happens – managers routinely claim credit that should rightfully belong to employees.

To keep your best employees, you need to avoid such mistakes. Make sure you appreciate your employees. The following tips can help:

  • create special perks the best performing employees
  • create perks for the teams and managers of the best employees. This can improve your teamwork and foster a healthier team atmosphere
  • recognize your employees on specific days which mean something to them (e.g. their birthday, the day they joined the company, etc)
  • provide your employees with constructive feedback (if they fall short, let them know how they can improve).
  1. Poor Management

The number one reason why employees quit is having a bad boss. A “bad boss” is simply a manager, supervisor or any other superior who has poor management skills. Among the behaviors reported for motivating employees to quit include unwarranted criticism, disrespect, verbal abuse, unrealistic expectations, lack of appreciation, and in extreme cases sexual harassment.

The biggest reason why employees who have such bosses quit isn’t the behavior of the bosses per se, it is often the lack of a channel through which to report such bosses. Therefore, to prevent poor managers from pushing out your best employees, you can implement the following:

  • periodically provide training to your managers on key management skills
  • have feedback mechanism where employees periodically rate their managers
  • create mechanism through which employees can anonymously report their managers
  • create a clear managerial code of conduct, with steep penalties for those who violate themreasons employees quit
  1. A Dull, Unexciting Work Atmosphere

We live in an era of instant gratification. Whether it is instant entertainment on television, instant connection through social media etc, people are unwilling to put up with dreary experiences. These expectations are extended to work.

Although people don’t come to work expecting one big party, they don’t expect to endure eight hours of hardship either. The days of people enduring dull, boring work are over. This is not to suggest that people are becoming lazier. They are just a product of this era.

Therefore, if you expect to hold on to your best employees, you need to provide for them a fairly lively experience at work. This of course depends on the nature of work. However, a few tips which are helpful across most work environments are:

  • give your workers more autonomy
  • avoid excessively long shifts (offer breaks in-between long shifts)
  • occasionally organize fun team building events (e.g. parties, team day-outs)
  • create an atmosphere of openness, transparency and respect

Ultimately, the best employees usually come at a premium. As such, retaining them has to be the number one priority of any HR department. Fortunately retaining employees isn’t that complicated. You can retain employee(s) easily without having to offer them exorbitant sums of money. It is a matter of keeping them involved, engaged and happy. The above tips can help you to achieve this. Best Wishes.

This post was written by Brett McIntyre, at Crimcheck.