7 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Want to Leave

Keeping your best employees is essential if you want to grow your business and beat your competition. It’s hard enough to recruit the right ones, the last thing you want is for them to up and leave, particularly after all the induction and training you have taken them through. So how do you prevent (as much as possible) your best team members from leaving you even if they enjoy their job?

I came across a great article featured in Inc.com by Lolly Daskal, CEO from Lead from Within. Lolly is an advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs and boards. She is one of the top executive coaches in the world. In her article, she shares her top 7 reasons why your best employees will quite possibly leave you, even if they like their job. I have added my thoughts as well.

  • Stagnation – “People want to feel that they’re still moving forward and growing in their professional life. They want something to aspire to.” This can be quite challenging in a retail environment where there are often limited places to advance with relatively flat structures. However, this does not prevent us from challenging our people daily. You can do this with changing people’s roles, setting stretch targets for the team and individuals and mixing things up. Finding out what each individual’s personal goals are and helping them to achieve these is another way to avoid stagnation.
  • Overwork – “Nothing burns out a great employee faster than overwork. Often it’s the best employees, you overload the most.” This happens quite frequently as these guys are reliable, you go to people to get things done. That’s ok as long as they are recognised with praise and other small incentives. You also have to make sure that team members who aren’t pulling their weight are dealt with. If not your great team members will see this and nothing makes them more annoyed than this.
  • Vague visions – “There’s nothing more frustrating than a filled with visions and big dreams but no translation of these into strategic goals that make them achievable.” I have mentioned a number of times how an inspiring vision is critical to inspiring your team, but the team has to know what they need to do to help achieve this vision. They need to know where they fit in and how they make a difference. It is also essential that leaders walk the talk and lead by example.
  • Profits over people – “When an organisation values it bottom line more than its people, the best people go elsewhere. They leave behind those who are too mediocre or apathetic to find a better role.” Richard Branson says it best with his approach to his people – my first priority is not the shareholders or even the customers, it’s my staff. Quite true, if your team are happy they will do a great job for your customers.
  • Lack of recognition – “When you fail to recognise employees, you’re not only failing to motivate them but also missing out on the most effective way to reinforce great performance.” So true! This is one of the biggest areas most managers fall down, they are too focussed on what’s wrong, rather than looking to catch their team doing it right. Even if they can’t find something wrong, they don’t provide praise, leaving team members always wondering how they are doing. Change it around and focus on being a good-finder!
  • Lack of trust – Your employees have a vantage point for viewing your behaviour and weigh it against your commitments.” Trust is another key area I have mentioned quite frequently, it is essential to build and maintain if you want your team to go above and beyond. They have to know that you trust them and they will in turn trust you. It’s often as simple as doing what you say you will do!
  • Excessive hierarchy – “A rigidly top-down organisation makes for unhappy employees. This happens if your best employees know they’re expected to produce results, without contributing their ideas, not being empowered to make decisions and constantly have to defer to others.” The best leaders know how to delegate effectively, they grow their team by empowering them with new and challenging tasks. They don’t focus on steps, they focus on outcomes by not micro-managing. Your team needs the chance to express themselves and make mistakes knowing you have their back.

I hope these seven steps have been useful and helps to keep your top talent motivated and wanting to stay with you. If you can lead them well they will generally stay and add so much value when they do.

Roger SimpsonRoger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.

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