& How Companies Can Keep Employees Happier and Longer
Many companies in today’s marketplace struggle with Millennial employees quitting before the one-year mark. This is arguably not only a considerable waste of time, but extremely expensive for companies to hire and retrain new employees year after year. Losing good workers has always been expensive, but in many industries it is becoming increasingly so, due to tight labor markets. So, what is impelling employees to leave and what can companies do to avoid it?
Generally, people say they left their jobs for reasons such as not liking their boss or feeling stuck in a position with no mobility or opportunity. Many companies focus on easily measurable and identifiable reasons like these, however, most employees can’t exactly pinpoint why they left their job. More likely than not, they just didn’t feel comfortable and it wasn’t a good fit.
Writers and business experts have been studying why people leave their jobs for years in attempts to solve this pressing problem. Forbes, for example, published a list of the top 15 reasons people seem to leave their companies. While many of these are relevant, they only scratch the surface of the issue. There are countless reasons that employees choose to leave their companies, and simply listing them will not provide any real solutions.
We, at SoCap, have recognized that the wide range of frustrations people have with their employers lie within three primary categories: recognition, communication, and social capital. If a company is not properly executing in all three areas, its employees will always find a reason to leave, or just say it’s “not the right fit” without truly analyzing the underlying reasons. Instead of trying to improve all the individual reasons people say they quit, which vary greatly from employee to employee, companies need to focus on perfecting these three aspects that are the true root of the problem.
Below, is not just an endless list of the many reasons employees are leaving their jobs, but the main causes and actionable tips for what you can do about it.
“I never get noticed for a job well done.”
“My company doesn’t care about its employees.”
“None of my company’s rewards and benefits are relevant to me.”
These are common statements when people decide to leave their jobs, and they are ALL caused by a lack of recognition. If a company isn’t properly recognizing and rewarding its employees, they will leave for one of the above reasons. End of story.
How do you fix it? Start by taking 20 seconds out of your day to genuinely compliment an employee for the specific skills or attitude they bring to the table. Ensure that every member on your team always feels appreciated. This will inspire them to go above and beyond for you. While this is important, you must also keep in mind that not every employee will feel valued by the same methods. For example, one employee might be satisfied with a pat on the back and a “good job” after a presentation, while the next might be offended that you didn’t have more to say after they spent hours preparing.
On the same note, company benefits and reward systems should be desirable for all employees. Many companies offer incentives that are only attractive to married individuals with families, such as a company trip to a couples resort or family-oriented cruise. This makes employees who are single feel excluded and undervalued. Companies could instead offer to pay off a percentage of employees’ student loans, or offer a trip where the destination can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter their lifestyle. In order to ensure everyone feels valued, CEOs and managers must consider each employee’s individual needs. They must recognize that a single woman should be rewarded differently than a married man or a recent college graduate.
“My department has poor teamwork, and doesn’t collaborate effectively.”
“My manager doesn’t clearly relay his/her expectations.”
“There is no room for upward mobility.”
Poor communication is a big motivator behind people leaving their jobs. Employees should always feel that they can bring any idea or issue to their superior. Executive managers that can’t lead their team effectively, or worse, isolate employees to the point where they feel stuck will cause people to find a job under a boss with better communication skills. Company leaders can avoid this by breaking down any communication barriers. For example, when presenting company issues during meetings, the leader can talk much less and open up the table for each person on the team to share their ideas or opinions. Making meetings less top-heavy – in other words, the manager’s opinion isn’t the only one that matters – will allow room for better collaboration and equality across the team, as every employee gets to contribute and voice their concerns.
While this is a much larger subject that could take on a whole article of its own, we’ll leave it cut and dry as communication gaps take a variety of shapes depending on companies cultures and leadership styles. Merely recognize that this is an issue for many employees and far and wide most companies don’t stare at this as a problem. Do you?
3) Social Capital
“I don’t enjoy the work I’m doing.”
“My company’s values don’t align with my own.”
“There is no flexibility or opportunity in my position for me to do what I’m great at.”
A lack of social capital will result in constant employee turnover. Even if the company pays well and offers great benefits, people will still leave before the year is up, because it’s the wrong fit. This is because the company has failed to establish clarity around a specific culture and set of values. You could be doing everything else right, but end up hiring the wrong people, because they don’t resonate with your undefined culture and value system. Companies that declare a specific mission will attract employees that are passionate about that same mission.
Many organizations are attempting to create culture with beer taps, scooters, and company parties and events. While these are fun solutions, they can merely be a Band-Aid to a larger systemic problem. Taco Tuesday at work is great, but is it really adding to a meaningful, unique culture? To establish culture and a core value system, company leaders need to research the pulse throughout their company and evaluate what is actually important to the organization. This will take far more time and energy than throwing in a beer tap, but the results will save money in the long-term and lead to consistency in the employees you attract and retain.
The bottom line is companies that lack these three procedures and values will keep losing employees. CEOs and managers that work to create a flexible, inclusive culture will see an increase in performance, morale, and employee retention. In fact, people are willing to deal with lower pay or longer commutes if they have a great work environment. Meanwhile, employees working with companies that have poor recognition and communication are likely to complain and quit, even if their salary is high.
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