Nothing is more discouraging for leaders than when they find out they are losing a high-quality employee—especially when they learn that person is going to work for the competition!  When this happens, too often leaders allow themselves to believe that people are leaving because someone has offered them better benefits or more pay.  The truth is believing this is a lazy and convenient copout.  Though there is chance pay and benefits may have contributed to their ultimate decision to leave, there is always so much more an organization can do to retain their valuable team members. And multiple studies prove that most people don’t leave their jobs for more pay or better benefits.

When good people leave, the best organizations and best leaders look in the mirror and figure out what can be improved to ensure it doesn’t happen again.  Today I want to share five reasons why people are leaving your organization and joining your competitor and what you can do about it!

#1 The Purpose Isn’t Clear

Too often people aren’t sure what the purpose is behind all of the work. Sure, they get a paycheck and they like a few of their co-workers; but at some point in time that isn’t enough. We all want to contribute to something bigger than ourselves and leave our own personal mark on this world. At work, when we don’t know what the point is, we begin to search elsewhere. Companies who give their people a clear and compelling purpose to come to work day in and day out are so much more likely to engage their team and keep them around.  Make sure your company’s purpose is clear and that your people know it.  They want to stay and contribute to a great cause.  They want to know they are making a difference!

#2 Their Role Isn’t Clear

Once the purpose is clear, the next step is to help people know their role in it all. If they don’t feel part of the purpose or understand how what they do contributes to the purpose, people can begin to wonder why they are doing what they are doing. Companies who retain their staff make not only the purpose crystal clear, but they also explain often how each person contributes to that purpose. Great organizations and great leaders help their people know their jobs are extremely relevant.

#3 An Unstable Environment

No one likes the feeling of treading on unstable ground. If our organization lacks consistency in how it operates, behaves, communicates, handles difficult situations, evaluates employees, what it stands for, etc., people are going to feel uneasy. When there is a lack of stability within an organization, people look for places where they can feel more secure. Consistent and predictable patterns of responses and behaviors, even consistent traditions at work, create a secure and stable environment that most of us crave. Some people leave because they feel a sense of unpredictably within your organization so find ways to be more consistent.  This will create stable ground.

#4 Lack of Celebration

Another reason why people leave your organization is because they wonder if anyone cares about their performance or results. Too often people feel their efforts go unrecognized and unappreciated. When this happens, they hope perhaps they can find that recognition and appreciation they crave elsewhere.  Slowing down from time to time and celebrating progress and performance will go a long way in helping your people know you not only notice but also care.  Even small recognitions and celebrations go a long way. Great companies who prevent their people from moving to the competition establish consistent ways to recognize their team and celebrate accomplishments.

#5 Lack of Feeling Cared About

Finally, people need to know someone at work cares about them as a person and as an individual. When people feel like they aren’t even known somewhere, they rarely want to stay. Even worse, when they feel like people do know them but that they don’t really care about them, they also don’t want to stay. Too often people at work feel used or that their value is solely based on their days level of performance. They worry that no one cares about them outside of what they are able to produce at work. Leaders and companies who can help their people know they care about them on more than just a superficial level retain their staff.  When people truly feel cared about, no amount of money can convince them to leave.

So why are people leaving your company and joining your competitor? The cause most likely resides in one, if not many, of the reasons above. To retain your valuable team members and prevent them from joining the competition make sure they have a clear purpose for their work and understand their role in it.  Additionally, work to provide a stable environment.  Finally, make sure your people know you recognize and appreciate their work through celebration, and that you care about them on a personal level. These 5 things will help you create an amazing work culture where the tables will completely turn, and your competitors will wonder why everyone is leaving to go work for you!

Want more help retaining your employees?  Contact me  to learn more about how I can help.

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