• Karen Gregory

WHY EMPLOYEES LEAVE

Employee Turnover & Employee Retention & Recognition: a three part series

Last month we talked about Employee Turnover and the high costs associated with it. If you did your homework you have an idea now of what employee turnover is costing your organization. Keep in mind, even if you are a volunteer organization, you have costs associated with losing experienced people. Remember that company I told you I worked for that had a 52% turnover rate? Their employee turnover costs reached the millions. It’s a shame they didn’t focus more on Why Employees Leave and Employee Retention. The cost savings could have made a huge difference on both the organization and customer’s side if they had paid attention to employee turnover. So, why do people leave? What causes employee turnover?


Obviously it’s leadership. And, there are other factors, so we’ll talk about them, but let’s start with leadership. What’s interesting is years ago Gallup did a poll asking people why they leave organizations and overwhelmingly the number one response was their immediate supervisor. What’s even more interesting is that polls today list the immediate supervisor or relationship with the immediate supervisor as the number one reason people leave organizations still. With that being said, if you are experiencing a high turnover rate, look to yourself first, your leadership, and be very interested in the opinion of others as you begin the process of further developing your leadership skills to become a leader people trust and are excited to work hard for.


If you are too egotistical to admit you are part of the problem, and then initiate some type of program that focuses on those around you, odds are you will continue to see high rates of employee turnover. By focusing on yourself, you will see improvements all around you.


To remain fair and not just focus on the immediate supervisor here is a list of what studies show as Why Employees Leave:


1. Relationship with Supervisor/Leadership

2. Bored and Unchallenged by the Work

3. Relationship with Co-Workers

4. Not using their Skills & Abilities

5. Not feeling they contribute to the organization’s goals

6. No Autonomy & Independence

7. Don’t feel like what they do makes a difference

8. Organization’s Financial Stability

9. Corporate Culture

10. Not being recognized for performance


As a leader take the time to get to know your employees. What is it that excites them (you can’t use paycheck as an answer)? How can you assign tasks that will allow your employees to use their current skills, and challenge them to develop further? Are you making sure they understand how what they do fits into the big picture of the organization and how that makes a difference in the lives of the customers they serve? Are you a micromanager? Do you have the ability to assign a task and then step back and let your employee figure it out?


If you, as a leader, can manage to answer and implement solutions to the above questions you are on your way to happier employees. That’s the challenge for next month. Get to know your employees and make some changes in the way you operate.


Today’s article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning money (especially since I brought up paychecks). Look at that list again. No mention of money. Money is not a motivator. It won’t get people to stay with your organization. I once left a company for a $5 pay CUT per hour. My reasons were illustrated in many of those ten numbers above. Pay must be fair, but money will only attract employees, it will never determine how hard they work for you. If you want hard working, motivated, enthusiastic employees you need to look big picture and strive to encompass those ten items above.


Look again at number 10: Not being recognized for performance. Costs you nothing, and we’re going to talk about it next month.