Why Employees Leave in Waves (And How to Stop Them)

by Dr. Rick Goodman on August 21, 2015

On the one hand, the equation is pretty simple: Employees like to be at a company where they feel important and valued. They want to feel like they are able to use their talents and their time effectively, to really make an impact; and they like to feel like that effort is noticed and appreciated.

On the other hand… well, maybe it’s not so simple at all! Valuing employees is about more than just salary and benefits. It also means providing an environment that fosters good, productive work. It means facilitating mutual respect and a true team dynamic. It means offering clear trajectories for professional development and career advancement—and oh yeah: You need to do all of this on a pretty tight HR budget.

Why Good Employees Quit

So where can you possibly begin? How do you start the process of showing employees that they matter to you, and of keeping the best ones from jumping ship en masse?

Start with this realization. Employees do not quit the job. They quit the boss. And if you have a lot of turnover, a lot of employees leaving in a wave, you can rest assured that the problem isn’t them—it’s you.

With that word of tough love out of the way, here are some possible reasons why all your good employees quit on you—and some implications about how to keep them on board.

You’re burdening your best people with too many responsibilities. I recently met an accountant who was obviously supremely gifted, exceptionally good at her job; as a corporate bookkeeper, she was invaluable. But then, when the company’s HR manager quit, this amazing accountant was also given HR responsibilities, even though she didn’t want them, didn’t have any background in that field, and frankly didn’t have time. So now, she’s not able to devote herself to accounting excellence, and she is deeply unhappy in her work. Do you see the problem? When you have a crack employee, make sure you give that employee the freedom to do what he or she does best, rather than overloading the duties.

You’re a micromanager. Many executives and managers are perfectionists by nature. That’s great. But maybe the skill you need to work on is trusting people. In theory, you hired your employees for a reason—because you saw something in them. So let them do their work without peering over their shoulder, or else you risk seeing them go somewhere their talents will be better appreciated.

You’re not supportive. This is almost the opposite of the above. Your employees don’t want to be micromanaged, but they do want to know you’re around to answer questions or provide direction as needed. Never in the office? Well, don’t be surprised if your employees go somewhere where they think they’ll find a more personal and devoted support system.

You are clueless about team dynamics. Quick question: What are the biggest sources of conflict on your team? Who are the employees most and least likely to collaborate together? If you don’t know these things then you’re probably not really building a good team or using individual talents to their full potential. Don’t think your employees won’t notice that.

You run inefficient, horrible meetings. People don’t like having their time wasted.

You don’t communicate your vision. Your employees want to feel like they have a role in something bigger—but if you’re oriented on tasks and not the big picture, your employees will just feel like pawns in your own secret game.

These are just some of the behaviors that can cause great employees to grow frustrated, and to leave your company in waves—so if you want to prevent that from happening, prevent these behaviors from becoming habits.

Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is known as one of the most sought after team building experts in the United States and internationally.

He is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micromanaging the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, Heineken, IBM, and Hewlett Packard.

For more information on Rick’s speaking programs, audio programs, and learning programs, contact (888) 267-6098 or Rick@rickgoodman.com, or visit www.rickgoodman.com.

Dr. Rick GoodmanWhy Employees Leave in Waves (And How to Stop Them)

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