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Leadership Development Blog

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The 3 Worst Mistakes That Make Great Employees Quit

Posted by Paul O'Keefe on Jun 21, 2016 12:30:00 PM

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In order to succeed, a company must have great employees who enjoy working for the company and produce exceptionally well. Trouble sets in when these great employees start bailing ship. Then the question must be asked: What makes great employees quit?

Mistake #1: Poor Supervision Makes Great Employees Leave

Forcing great employees to work under a poor supervisor is a fast track to getting them to leave. As the saying goes, “employees don’t quit working for companies, they quit working for their bosses.” One poll found that 37% of those surveyed had a negative opinion of their supervisor and that supervisor’s performance. This negative opinion is a major reason employees quit. There are many problems that spring from this.

The first problem is when that supervisor is a micromanager. No one wants to work under a micromanager who scrutinizes every single move and every minuscule detail. A micromanager’s behavior tells employees that the supervisor doesn’t trust them and doesn’t feel they’re capable of doing the work on their own. This sort of environment stifles productivity and creativity fast.

Similar to the micromanager, and sometimes a part of his behavior set, are a range of “boss behaviors” that are intolerable to the employees. These include blaming workers and colleagues for failures and mistakes, especially publicly; taking the credit for the hard work of others; constantly giving negative feedback or being generally negative; and yelling, bullying and being dominative. 

If your employees come to you and tell you they can’t work for a particular supervisor, you better investigate and take some sort of action quickly. If not, you send the message to your great employees that you don’t listen to them and you don’t care about their opinion or their well-being.

Listening To Your Employees Is Critical For Effective Supervision

This leads to another problem that will drive your best employees off: Not listening to them. No one likes to feel inconsequential and unimportant. Not listening to an employee will make them feel very inconsequential and unimportant. Not addressing that micromanager on behalf of your employees tells them that you don’t care if they’re unhappy and stressed. Not listening to them in terms of work ideas says that you don’t value their opinions. This is how you create a bunch of “yes people” and no true innovators. Also, you will deter people from giving the honest (and sometimes negative) feedback that will help you develop your products and services to their full potential. You need people around you who feel comfortable speaking the truth, good or bad, and share their ideas, both of which will only benefit your organization.

Be Sure To Support Your Great Employees

Another problem that is sure to scare off your great employees is a supervisor who doesn’t support them. Nothing is more discouraging and demoralizing to your workers than leadership that doesn’t support them. Whether it’s with issues in the company or in their personal lives, they want caring supervisors. If you can't provide this, necessity will dictate that they leave for an employer who will.

Mistake #2: Not Rewarding Your Great Employees

People want to be rewarded for a job well-done, and certainly for a job that is performed over-and-above what was asked. They also desire to be paid what they’re worth. Research shows that approximately 35% of employees will begin to job search if they don’t receive an increase in pay within a year of starting with a new company.

It's discouraging to work for an organization and know that people with similar skills in similar positions at different organizations are being paid more than you. Unless the work environment is exceptional and there are wonderful perks, such as flex-time, day care on the premises, or generous benefits packages that make up for the lost income, you stand a chance of losing your best employees when you pay them below average. Even a wonderful, progressive work environment may lose out when placed in competition with dollars elsewhere.

High on the list of mistakes is not offering your great employees any opportunities for advancement. In fact, one study found that 45% of workers stated that they did not like the advancement opportunities of their present company, and 36% of them felt they had been overlooked for a promotion. Lack of advancement opportunities creates disgruntled employees who will quickly go anywhere that promises to advance them.

Tied into providing opportunities for employment is a need to grow professionally. The best talent will want to attend professional conferences and workshops and take courses that help them to grow in their career. Any organization that is not looking develop its employees in this way won’t keep them for long.

Mistake #3: Not Encouraging Great Employees To Grow

This could fall under Mistake #1, however, it deserves its own attention. Failing to attend to the intangibles of personal and professional growth is one reason why employees quit. Employees who are passionate about their work and feel challenged, engaged, and valued are less likely to leave.

The best work comes from those individuals who are passionate about what they do and whose passion is aligned with the goals and mission of the organization. Have a disconnect between the two and your best employees will leave.

Great employees crave intellectual stimulation and opportunities to explore their creativity and skill-sets. They want to grow and be challenged; they desire to improve the company. They want to stay on the cutting edge. Fail to offer them this and you’ll lose them to an employer that will. Your best and brightest crave analytic thinking and innovation, bouncing ideas off each other and imagining new concepts and making them happen – be sure you provide ample opportunity for them to do so.

Avoid These Mistakes And You'll Keep Your Great Employees Happy (And Your Business Moving Forward)

To keep your best employees happy, remember to stay out of the danger zone when it comes to these three mistakes. Make sure to provide strong leadership in the form of excellent supervisors. Reward your top employees and pay them what they’re worth. Be sure to offer opportunities for advancement and meet intrinsic needs to be creative, challenged and impassioned by their work. Meeting these criteria, although not easy, will ensure that your best employees stay for the long haul.

You may also be interested in these employee development posts:

To learn more about the benefits of gap analyses and how they can improve employee relations and performance, contact Edge Training at 800-305-2025.

Topics: Employee Development, leadership development, Employee management

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