ma, 22/04/2013 - 17:29 -- Greet

Retention is important, everybody knows that. Well, I still find it surprising how many companies pay little attention to exit interviews.

Lots of managers just believe people leave for better opportunities or higher salaries because that’s what they’re told. However there is a difference in what people say about why they leave, and why they actually leave. As HR Interim Manager I had my fair share of exit interviews. When you conduct these interviews in a proper way and you ask in-depth questions and actually listen to what people say, you can identify a whole other bunch of reasons why people leave. They are far more intangible, but oh so important.

-> Here is the top 10 reasons why employees leave I’ve identified:

  1. No challenges

I’m sure you recognize this: you’ve hired a young potential, promised him/her the moon, but in reality you did not take the time/effort to draw and implement a challenging career path or you were not able to for one reason or another. However, not only young potentials encounter these situations. Lots of companies want to hire the Jack-of-all-trades with all his/her competencies for a job that does not fit his/her talents, skills, abilities, preferences, strengths...

  1. Lack of feedback and appreciation

This is certainly an evidence of poor management. Why is it so difficult for lots of line managers to show some appreciation? What is so difficult about it? It’s not even a money-thing, getting a compliment or a tap on the shoulder can be so rewarding. Or giving some feedback. Ignoring somebody is some of the worst things, if not THE worst thing, you can do to another. So let’s start giving some feedback. It’s terrible to see how in so many organizations people are never told how they are doing, when they are doing well, how they can improve… Even when the feedback is not 100% positive, don’t you think the employee deserves to know what he/she’s done well and what not? That way at least he/she might be able to change something about it and everyone will benefit from it.

  1. No respect

Picture this, you are sitting in the reception area of a company waiting for your contact person to arrive. You take the time to read the company brochure to find the company values explained. When lucky (very often, I know this from experience)  you don’t even need to read the company brochure, a frame with the company values is all too often hanging on the wall. And in lots of organizations ‘respect’ is one of their values. Now while you are sitting there you suddenly hear some shouting. The poor receptionist gets called all sorts of ugly names because she supposedly made a certain error. Not possible you think? Think again, it’s happened to me more than once. Now there’s an example of lack of respect, don’t you think? I bet that receptionist will not waste too much time when she’s made a job offer by another company.

  1. Corporate values and culture

Ok let’s talk about the company values. The example shown above is a very good example of not living the values. One can her/himself ask whether people who are not living the values belong there anyway. And as for people quitting a company when they feel people (especially executives) are not living the values… now, isn’t that a good reason? OK the values of the individual might be at odds with the corporate values,  that’s a difficult one, you possibly should not want to keep that person. But when people start questioning the ethics of the organization, well that’s a tough one.

  1. They don’t trust or believe the organization

This brings us to trust and belief. It is becoming more and more important to people to experience a sort of belonging. To work for a company who has a plan, a mission and vision an values people can believe in. Losing trust and belief in a company is often a slow process but once the employee actually comes to the conclusion there’s no confidence or belief anymore, he/she will often start looking for other opportunities very fast. Or the organization is stuck with a disengaged person which is worse I’d think..

  1. Unfair treatment

When you would do a query on people’s individual values, fairness is certainly listed in the top 10 (besides respect, but we’ve already talked about that one). So if people do not feel treated in a fair way, it is not so difficult to imagine their state of mind and reactions.

  1. No fun & enjoyment

People spend a great deal of their live at work. So it better be a nice environment they will be working in. If people have stopped having fun and enjoying the job, no matter what changed, it’s probably time for that person to leave the job.

  1. Poor communication

Communication communication communication isn’t that what we’ve learned as managers over the years? Everybody knows you need to inform your stakeholders (you do know your employees are stakeholders too, I hope??), and still it appears to be rather difficult to do. How many times have you heard of disappointed employees who had to learn the good (or even worse: the bad) news in the press? And also on an individual level, people need to be informed of what is expected from them, of how they are doing (all right, we’ve already talked about that one)…

  1. Work/Life balance

When a job requires too much time away from home, or the job interferes too much with the employee’s personal live, there  is a risk of physical and/or mental health problems for that person. And he/she might consider to quit the organization (voluntarily or not…)

Work/Life balance is also all about flexibility and is not only a ‘mommy thing’, it’s important to everybody in the organization, everybody has his or her limits.

  1. Understaffing

Stress is also often caused by understaffing. Certainly in crisis times we encounter lots of situations where much stress is caused because a person has to do the job of 3 people (because 2 of them were laid off). If on top of that, the person is not rewarded accordingly, you again have a recipe for …

So all of these reasons create non-engaged people. And what’s with these non-engaged people? They are on their way out! So if you want to work on retention, you better create a place where people feel a bond with the organization. That is the best way to retain good people and to become the employer of choice.




Would you like to download a free template on how to conduct an exit interview, please go to our toolbox!

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