As a specialist recruiter, we have a fairly unique window in to the motivations that fuel people's desires to look for a new role, so we thought we'd collate the most frequent reasons that underpin these decisions.
1. You don’t develop them
One of our previous surveys showed that over 80% of employees are more likely to stay in a job that offers on-going training and development. You might have several employees who are doing a good job but you have to ask yourself when did you last set them a challenge or help them learn a new skill? If you allow talent to go underdeveloped, it stands to reason that they will seek that challenge elsewhere.
2. You don’t listen
Any business head would be foolish to think all good ideas always come from the top. As a management team, there is a danger you may have become removed to aspects of everyday processes, your suppliers, or, even worse, your customers. Your business is full of people living and breathing aspects of your company you simply aren’t. How many times have you sat there scratching your head as to why something isn’t working, costing too much or taking too long? Encouraging a working environment where anybody can put ideas forward not only gives you a commercial edge, it shows your employees how much you value their input, which in turn fuels motivation. Of course not all ideas are going to be valid, so it’s about providing a structure where they can input and give honest and sensitive feedback. The additional benefit of this is often your ability to spot the stars of tomorrow.
3. Falling short on your promises
There is nothing wrong in using targets or incentives to maximise motivation, or to share your vision for the company and what that will mean for that specific individual. But be aware, if they fulfil their side of the bargain you have to be prepared to fulfil yours without fail. It’s therefore essential to ensure you can deliver whatever it is you promise, whether that’s a pay-rise, a promotion, or a new kettle for the kitchen. We hear too many instances of employees choosing to seek alternative employment on the back of broken promises, so whilst you might think you’ve escaped having to deliver the reward, or that you’ve found a loophole that you can use to justify not doing so, employees will remember and they will lose trust in your word. Integrity is key.
4. Be human
Yes, you’re the boss and yes employees are there to deliver a job for which they get paid. It’s a contract and you should settle for nothing less than their full commitment. But they aren’t robots, they are individuals. Whilst it is essential to hold your management line and remain professional, reaching out to understand each and every person in your team should simply be common sense. They spend 75% of their waking life either at work or travelling to and from work, so whilst you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, a little empathy and personal engagement goes a long way.
5. Political Promoting
As a business or department grows, so will the senior team and the amount of those with man management responsibility. Whilst this article is talking about engaging and motivating employees to strengthen your retention rates, promoting individuals should be done only on merit and with careful consideration to the wider impact. Promoting the wrong person can create immense fallouts and toxic internal politics. Promoting based on gut, or based on who you get on with better (especially if that promotion means they will be working closely with you) is a very easy trap to fall into. It is crucial to be able to qualify and quantify why someone is deserving of a promotion. Some organisations (ourselves included) have a career document made available to all employees that outlines promotion criteria for each role in the business. This not only allows people to aim for something and manage their expectations, it is a fantastic reference point for management when considering someone for promotion. Think about what is right for the business, not individuals – it’s the best way to be fair to all.
6. Reward Commitment
There are some employees you secretly want to clone. This ‘commitment’ can take many forms, but you’ll know the individuals in your team who we’re referring to; they’re the ones that go the extra mile, so make sure you return the favour. Show them their extra work is recognised, valued and appreciated. They are your case study for other employees, so don’t be afraid to put those people on a little pedestal.
7. All work, no play
A long hours culture might just be part of your industry. Recruitment certainly is and at Pitch we are honest with new recruits that it’s hard work and we expect a lot from them. Talented, dedicated people will give it their all with little prompting, but never take that for granted and always be thinking about how you can make that long day, week, quarter more enjoyable. Softer benefits such as lunches, drinks, socials, sporting events won’t necessarily make someone take a job over another, but they can have a big impact internally and remind everyone (you included) not to take everything too seriously and that you are all in it together.
8. Dead ends
Let’s face it, not everyone wants to be MD, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t highly valuable employees. So think of progression as more than just climbing the career ladder. Progression can be taking on more responsibility, moving jobs internally or starting something new. ‘How’ to keep a talented employee might not always be immediately obvious. So if your current structure doesn’t allow for talent to flourish, look at how this could be developed. Think broader, seek input from your teams (this can be done anonymously) and you may well be surprised with the feedback. Nurture employees’ creativity and business acumen and create an environment in which they can flourish.