According to a recent study, more than 70% of U.S. workers are considering or actively looking for a new job.
Losing a top employee is every manager’s nightmare, especially in a tight labor market. Making efforts to improve employee retention should be high on every company’s priority list.
So what makes a good employee leave, and can it be prevented?
No Work/Life Balance
As a manager, it’s easy to work your best people the hardest. After all, they put forth the most effort and make you look good. On the other hand, the employee can feel like they are being punished for their productivity.
Be adamant about work/life balance. While it’s sometimes necessary to answer an email or phone call outside of the office, it should not be a habit. We all need time to recharge. Help your team make a clear separation between work and home. They will see that you value their time and will come back to work each day refreshed and ready to go.
(Don’t forget that you lead by example. If you’re regularly burning the midnight oil or shooting off emails after hours, your employees will view that as the expectation. Take care of yourself, too.)
Few Opportunities for Growth
Even the coolest company perks begin to lose their appeal when employees don’t feel like they are growing as a professional. Top employees want to be inspired and then receive the opportunity to act on that inspiration. It’s the manager’s responsibility to continue identifying areas in which their direct reports can expand their skill set. Good managers manage, no matter how talented their direct report may be. They pay attention and are always giving feedback.
Consider implementing an internal hiring process if you don’t already have one. Show a preference for hiring internally. This allows trusted workers within your organization to advance their careers and progress up the ladder. Hiring internally also drastically lowers the cost of a full-blown hiring search.
Keeping good employees requires constant attention and care, much like running a business. Be attentive to the needs of your employees to create mutual trust and respect. It isn’t always easy, but the rewards are good for business.
Lack of Communication
Lack of communication, under-communication, miscommunication… Whatever you want to call it, it’s a widespread problem. It breeds uncertainty and undermines the confidence of good employees. They begin to second-guess themselves and feel that they can’t trust each other – or their managers for that matter.
Meaningful communication is not issuing a statement. It is a dialogue meant to reach common ground for both sides. Rather than passing down in a directive, encourage your direct reports to take part in the decision-making process when possible. Be open to new ideas. Promote honest discussions within your organization.
Good employees are an investment in your company’s future, but you don’t keep them by accident. Take care of the people that take care of you and watch your most important company investment pay off.