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Why Great Employees Run Away

Employee retention has always been a major challenge for organizations, especially when it comes to retaining the best and brightest talent. Aberdeen’s 2015 Human Capital Trends study reveals three major reasons employees leave their jobs:

A poor relationship with a manager or direct supervisor (48 percent).

Inability to foresee a future in the company (40 percent).

A lack of transparency and communication around internal decisions (28 percent).

To dissect these points, let’s take a look at three important retention questions.

Do you hire bad bosses?

If you think horrible bosses are just good fodder for a funny movie franchise, you’re missing the point (and the loyalty of many great workers). To illustrate just how bad poor management can be when it comes to employee happiness and retention, take a look at this infographic by Officevibe. Notably, 65 percent of employees say they’d take a new boss over a pay raise. Plus, American companies spend an estimated $360 billion each year in employee health care costs as a result of bad bosses.

Gallup supports these findings, adding that “a bad boss” is the top reason people quit their jobs. conducted its own online survey and found that half of us would fire our own bosses if we could. Is the case for hiring better bosses becoming clearer?

Do you reward great employees?

The Aberdeen study found that many best-in-class organizations place an emphasis on hiring from within that is equal to or greater than hiring externally. According to the study, “Placing an equal emphasis on hiring from within…signals to your employees that you recognize their contributions and that you are committed to their growth and development.” It concludes, “Engaging and retaining high potential and high-performing individuals is a critical element of ongoing human capital success.”

To support this, researchers found that most best-in-class organizations (more than 80 percent) are likely to have a process in place to identify job roles that are critical to organizational success and about half are likely to have a process in place to identify high potential talent. This can foster talent when and where it’s needed … and can also reduce the need to replace staplers on a regular basis.

Do you keep employees in the dark?

You may think you’ve outwitted them, but your star employees are on to you. They’re smart. That’s why you hired them in the first place. Much has been said about transparency in the workplace over the years, but few organizations have fully embraced the concept (and reaped the rewards).  Entrepreneur Magazine points out the key drivers of transparency in the workplace in 2015 include:

  • Democratic information sharing across all levels (so no one feels in the dark).
  • Making everyone feel aligned with the bigger picture (show your employees how their contributions matter).
  • Organic innovation (the role of “innovator” is not designated to one specific team).
  • A commitment and investment in transparency (it may require technology investments and organizational restructuring).

Each of these elements contributes greatly to employee satisfaction and, thus, retention. Transparency doesn’t mean sharing sensitive information with everyone in the company who wants it. It means keeping a respectful, open communication channel and offering employees the “why” of where the organization is headed and the “how” of everyone’s role playing a significant role. Sounds like a good idea to us.

Main Image Copyright: tiero / 123RF Stock Photo