When entrepreneurs start new companies, they typically imagine that creating great products is the most assured route to success. Rarely, though, is that the case. Once companies get beyond a certain size, the most crucial factor is keeping people happy so that the firm retains its human capital. Employees aren’t interchangeable, even if they seem it on paper. Every time an old person leaves and a new one starts, there’s a long ramp before their productivity matches that of the incumbent.
Think about it this way: imagine if every week, one of your buildings decided to trot off and join your competitors. You’d have massive expenses, and you wouldn’t be able to compete as well. Ultimately, it could undermine the prospects of your firm and stop you from turning a profit. Losing staff, therefore, is a massive issue.
Some churn is, of course, inevitable. People switch careers, retire and have children. Nobody stays in the workforce forever. However, most people don’t leave firms for these inescapable reasons. Instead, they go because of perceived problems with the workplace.
Here are the most common reasons people cite for quitting their current role:
- The company doesn’t place sufficient trust in the individual, or fails to provide them with the necessary autonomy they need to conduct their work effectively
- The firm fails to appreciate employees, either publicly or privately and refuses to recognise the considerable effort they put into their work
- A lack of basic respect and dignity dominates the culture. Individuals lower in the hierarchy feel invisible and abused.
- The employee concerned feels as though they are not using their talents to the full and that their skills are going to waste
- The employee has a bad manager who doesn’t provide the support or assistance they need to carry out their work effectively
- There is a culture of bullying and abuse at the firm that leads members of staff to leave
- There is a lack of communication between the top brass and the rank-and-file. Decisions made at a high level seem divorced from the reality of the ground
- The worker feels overworked, stressed or burned out all the time because of an unreasonable volume of work, or projects that are too challenging for their pay-grade and skill level
- The employee is unable to achieve a reasonable work-life balance and finds themselves answering emails and filling out spreadsheets during unsociable hours
There are many other reasons, of course, but this list provides you with a flavour of what can go wrong. When staff walk out, it increases your costs and reduces competitiveness.
So what can be done?
One option is staff surveys by PeoplePulse. The idea here is to get to the bottom of how people feel so you can nip issues in the bud.
The other strategy is to make changes at top management and then ensure that these trickle down the ranks. All workplaces, for instance, are capable of operating without bullying and recognising people who put in many hours of hard work every week.