Management Matters

What Makes People Leave Their Jobs and What Makes Them Stay

Date Posted: 02/9/2016

What Makes People Leave Their Jobs and What Makes Them Stay

One of the worst headaches a manager has to confront, that can potentially disrupt the work flow of the department, is to suddenly be faced with a vacuum in an important position due to someone leaving. Once any staff decides to quit, the manager has to live with it till a competent replacement is found.

Some triggers that make good people leave, irrespective of whether or not it’s beyond anybody’s control, may be the following:

• Excessive pressure to perform
• Lack of reward/recognition
• Lack of individual respect from above
• Promises not kept
• Favoritism and politicking
• Denial of aspirations
• Absence of scope to upgrade skills
• Suppression of creativity
• Lack of  intellectual gratification
• Assigned role not conforming recruitment promise
• Unapproachable seniors
• Low salary, superficial benefits
• Lack of purpose and team bonding

Another common reason that managers fear but must be ready to face – the unbelievable reason why staff leave – themselves!  If this is the case, managers must review their own style of managing their team and consider whether they are performing well. Pay attention to the following areas of your domain may stop people from leaving:

Pushing too hard.  Exerting pressure is not the only solution to make staff prove their worth.  In fact, it leads to burnout. While people may work well under pressure, the extent of such pressure should be moderated because whipping everyone to work harder can be counterproductive and make them resent continuous pressure. Talented staff suffocate at continuous excessive pressure and feel that they are being denied sufficient time to work at their best pace. Excessive pressure can therefore only be for short periods and specific to a particular immediate objective, not as a matter of course. A good work-life balance and respect for personal time and space is required.

Not acknowledging and not rewarding contributions.  Everyone doesn’t react the same way when they do well and are praised. Some expect more than a pat on the back, and a few even suspect the manager’s sincerity. But generally, recognition is appreciated and you should be liberal in this area to motivate your team. Understand what makes each of them feel good (you are the best person to do this) and reward them appropriately to get more out of your people.

Treating staff as robots.  More than any other single reason, it’s the relationship that staff has with their manager that drives their desertion/retention decision. Enlightened employers ensure that managers understand the value of every employee and the cost of their recruitment and replacement. Such organizations take pains to train their managers on people handling and how to push without losing sensitivity. Managers must develop skills to manage multiple personalities through a shared celebration of success and empathy and should be accountable for high staff turnover.

Not keeping promises made.  Earn respect by honoring commitments that you make to your people as this creates trust and dependability making you that rare boss who can be relied upon. Keeping your word is inversely proportionate to how much you can be trusted because if the boss doesn’t honor a commitment you cannot expect much from your juniors.

Fostering ‘favored group’ administration.  ‘Everyone is equal’ is the only kind of team administration that is really effective and finds favor from below. Subordinates readily accept any natural hierarchy among themselves that form out of individual ability and skills but reject all favoritism from above. Rewarding favorites with undue promotions or authority is taboo and prompt good people to leave.

Not appreciating individual aspirations.  Managers often fail to see, or selfishly ignore, that juniors have the same career aspirations as themselves. This may vary from person to person depending on their nature, traits and ambition, but the talented are also more ambitious and seek more career gratification than others. It is therefore imperative that manager channel this talent by handling aspirations appropriately.

Not facilitating skill improvement.  If a book-keeper or data entry executive continues to do the same work for too long, he or she will never graduate to better positions, and ultimately seek better opportunity elsewhere. Therefore, teaching new skills to employees who have been with you for some time is necessary to enable career upgrade and it is the manager who must facilitate further training. Managers should announce a shortlist pending training arrangements.

Discouraging creativity and innovation.  Talented staff look up to seniors who encourage their intellectual opportunity and nurture thinking abilities to improve work rather than setting routine goals that can be done mechanically by anyone. Confining creativity in the talented is never a good idea. However perfect the present operating system may be, there is always scope for improvement. Good managers must therefore create the right environment to help such staff succeed, else they move away to other jobs befitting their mental abilities.

Mismatching job roles with ability and expectation.  Subordinates come in with certain expectations about what they will be expected to do. If they find that their role is not what they expected, they become restless and seek a chance to move away. This may not always be the manager’s fault but rather that of HR who misrepresented the role. But managers have to turn this expectation around so that the employee doesn’t become  disappointed and leave. Managers should pass the new entrant through an orientation and accept placement of only a satisfied incumbent, or refer him or her back to HR.

Not being accessible and easy to work with.  Studies suggest that a sizable proportion of employees walk out of their department because they have no access to their unapproachable managers. They feel rudderless and keenly aware that they can never perform and move ahead if they have to guess what is going on because the manager cannot be approached.

Not enabling career advancement.  The temptation to keep good staff working in their existing roles indefinitely is not only inconsiderate and selfish but short-sighted. Nobody will forgive a manager for ignoring or blocking their career progression for long and invariably desert the company. Therefore, it is imperative that managers guide subordinates towards wider roles and create fair opportunities for their growth.

Not compensating low salaries with empathy.  Though this area is a policy prerogative over which the manager may have no control, being the face of the employer, you, as the manager, will always be held responsible for poor pay.  People join your organization to earn a comparable salary and also leave for being denied this if their pay packet is inadequate or stagnant. If you can make up the shortfall somewhat with empathy (a rare facet in managers) and non-cash benefits, they will stick it out with you because they want to stay with you.

Failing to instill team bonding and a sense of purpose.  People join organizations to work alongside like-minded professionals. The  responsibility is upon the manager to ensure that every member of a team seamlessly fits in, knows his or her role and their accountability in order that the team performs as intended. You have to create a feeling of unity and inter-dependability, and have a clear purpose and objective spelt out for your team to enable them to work well individually and together, and have fun doing it.

Need help in sourcing top quality staff?  Ikon – a full service  facility – is here for you!

You can trust Ikon to find the best people for you and be assured that Every detail of the hiring process will be maximized in finding your ideal candidates. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future articles, please email us at [email protected].  We regret that replies cannot be addressed individually.

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