A steady, well-trained workforce is one of the many keys to a successful business. It’s always a significant loss when company time and resources are invested in an employee who then leaves prematurely. Some employees quit due to health problems or some other unavoidable reason; however, most leave of their own accord and many of these departures can be avoided. This is especially important if isolated incidents turn into an exodus.
In many cases, it is the working environment rather than low pay that prompts an employee to leave. Fortunately, a simple analysis may explain why employees are “voting with their feet” and choosing to leave a business. By talking openly with current and former employees, recruiters, managers and business owners can discover the reasons behind unhappiness and why people choose to leave. They can then work to rectify an unhappy working environment. Here are seven of the most common reasons why employees leave a company:
1. An inflexible schedule can be very problematic for an employee.
Employers and supervisors sometimes forget that employees have lives outside of the workplace and fail to offer or even consider a flexible schedule. A stringent, five-day, forty-hour working week leaves little time for conducting business outside of the business. Increasing hours Monday through Thursday so employees work four ten-hour days then have a long weekend each weekend, is one way some employers are addressing this problem.
Another option is to hire two people to share the role. Employers gain in having a broader perspective brought to the position, and the workload can be expanded. Telecommuting is also becoming highly favored in the workplace as more people take advantage of better technology. Productivity is increased and employees may schedule their own workday and week.
2. Management may be causing problems rather than solving them.
Surprisingly, sometimes an employee advanced to management is a poor manager. A manager may also have poor habits, such as being too attached to his or her email, smartphone, or computer. Inattention to employee needs can cause an employee to leave out of frustration. Managers who are too busy or too distracted to listen to employee concerns are definitely a problem that needs to be addressed.
A manager who cannot be bothered to assist employees, or who sloughs off their responsibilities, or who blames others for departmental problems is giving off warning signs of extremely poor management. Perhaps, even, the manager is failing to challenge his or her employees, or sets goals that are unrealistic or are all talk and no action. These are also indicators of a bad manager.
3. Opportunities to advance are not available to talented and gifted employees.
Upward mobility is important to every employee and career stagnation can bring those dreams to a grinding halt. There is more to working than a paycheck. Of course, pay is a big motivator, but it is not a major motivator. People like to feel that they are being challenged or that they are the “go-to” person to resolve particular problems. No one likes to feel they are replaceable or mere cogs in a larger mechanism.
Non-existent training programs or work delegations often contribute to this problem. Performance evaluations that are specific to work development may assist in stemming an employee exodus. If an employee knows where and how improvement can be implemented, the employee will likely choose to stay over searching for a new position.
4. Employers sometimes devalue their workers, creating a hostile work environment.
Employees who do not feel valued or respected in the workplace will leave. It is simply an issue that employees do not and will not endure to stay in a workplace. Disrespect in the workplace causes a significant reduction in productivity as well. As the working relationship is dissolved, expensive high employee turnover is the result.
Part of the work ethic, discipline, and enjoyment of work is derived from being a known and valued employee. A lack of appreciative respect on the part of the employer reflects poorly to potential customers and in the market as well. In other words, new and returning customers take note of this and will begin to wonder: If employees are derided, is the customer possibly undervalued as well?
5. Management has failed to provide proper support to employees.
Employees may begin to feel taken advantage of when support is lacking in the workplace. Perhaps, in order to cut costs, the employer has a single employee working in the role of two or even three people. Or an employee spends a great amount of his or her time on tasks outside his or her job description, such as copying, stuffing envelopes, or other unrelated clerical duties.
Another example of lack of support is requiring the employee to ‘fill-in’ for other important roles. Inexperience quickly leads to frustration as the new tasks go undone or are so demanding that the role the person was hired for goes unfulfilled. A lack of support feeds into an employee’s feelings of disrespect, further causing the employee to feel alienated and ultimately leave the company.
6. An out-of-date policy may cause an employee to walk.
A failure to address employee concerns in a timely manner leads to overwhelming frustration. Problems can and should be addressed quickly and soundly. Another frustrating aspect is that the employee may find themselves constantly addressing a problem that could easily be solved with updated policy. Policies that address the conduct of teamwork, supervisor-employee relationships, access to social media in the workplace, or the length of time it may take to resolve an issue are all examples of this. Policies that are outdated, or compliance and implementation procedures that seem to take forever, can often encourage an employee to look elsewhere for employment.
7. A shift in core values can cause an employee to quit.
A change in the central core values of a company often has a negative effect on an employee. The employee may find that his or her personal values are now incongruent with those of the company. An employee may find that the value change is not something he or she had signed on for when choosing to work there. Rather than compromise, very often the employee will simply leave.
An example of a core value shift may be witnessed at a political scale. Health plans that protect women are now federally mandated, and private organizations are finding themselves at odds with the sweeping change. Companies are choosing to ‘walk away’ from the mandate by suing and refusing to implement the new policy.
Have you ever found a working environment so bad you felt you had to leave? Have you ever had your complaints to management heard and successfully redressed? What do you find intolerable in the workplace? Let us know in the comments below.