Focus on HR...Seven Reasons Why Employees Leave

By Hedley Lawson
Nearly 90 percent of bosses think their employees quit to make more money. Nearly 90 percent of bosses are wrong. Ask HR people what their top issue is these days, and retention is likely to be at the top of the list, especially during a recession. That should be no surprise. The cost in dollars and disruption of replacing a trained employee are significant, especially to a small to medium-sized optical lab.

What is surprising is how much employers misunderstand why their people leave, author F. Leigh Branham of Keeping the People, Inc., explained at a Society for Human Resources Management conference. The depth of that misunderstanding can be summed up as follows:

Employers who think their people leave for more money: 89%.

Employees who actually do leave for more money: 12%

The latter result, according to Branham, comes from a study of 19,700 post-exit interviews done by the Saratoga Institute, an independent research group. The data identified seven “hidden reasons” employees resign. Here are those reasons, along with Branham’s views for each:

Job not as expected. This is a prime reason for early departures. Branham’s answer: “Give a realistic job preview to every candidate.”

Job doesn’t fit talents and interests. Branham attributes this to hasty hiring and advises employers to “hire for fit. Match their talents to your needs.”

Little or no feedback/coaching. Today’s employees, and especially younger workers, want “feedback whenever I want it, at the touch of a button.” Give it honestly and often, says Branham, and you’ll get job commitment, not just compliance.

No hope for career growth. The antidote: Provide talent self-management tools and training.

Feel devalued and unrecognized. Money issues appear here, says Branham, but the category also includes even more employees who complained that no one ever said “thanks” on the job or listened to what they had to say. Address the compensation issue with a system that’s fair and understandable, says Branham. Then listen—and respond—to employee input.

Feel overworked and stressed out. Branham says this comes from insufficient respect in the organization for the life/work balance of employees. Recommended: Institute a “culture of giving” that meets employees’ total needs.

Lack of trust or confidence in leaders. Leaders have to understand that they’re there to serve employees’ needs, says Branham, not the other way around. Develop leaders who care about and nurture their workers, and trust and confidence will develop as well.

Is it really getting harder to recruit and retain qualified employees? The answer is “yes.” Many employers are aware that significant changes in the U.S. population are causing workplace shortages and changes in the way in which employers must recruit to fill job openings.

What many employers don’t know, however, is that the U.S. labor market is only at the beginning of what some experts are calling the “workforce meltdown”—the clash between a diminishing supply of qualified workers and the explosive increase in need for those workers. To ensure retention of new and existing employees, take time to review the seven reasons people leave you and work with your key staff to develop plans and strategies that will ensure people you recruit will stay and, once they join your lab, they have reason to stay and contribute to your success.

Hedley Lawson is a contributing editor for Business Essentials and monthly contributor to VisionMonday.

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Lab Talk-February/March 2018