When you’re running a company, your employees are some of your most valuable assets. When you have employees in place who work hard and have the skills to produce the results and outcomes you’re looking for time after time, it’s only natural that you’d want to keep hold of them.

However, there’s a wide variety of reasons why employees stay with companies and there are just as many reasons why they choose to leave and look for alternative options elsewhere. We’re going to discuss these issues in more depth, so keep reading.

5 Reasons Why Employees Stay with Companies

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Every business wants to keep hold of its best employees, but what makes an employee stick around rather than looking for opportunities elsewhere? There are many things factor into why people stay with companies, a few of which I have outlined below.

1. They Feel the Projects They are Working on are Important

When employees feel like they’re part of something important, they’ll be more likely to carry on in their positions. Why would they want to leave that work behind when they feel invested in it? Employees want to see their hard work come to fruition and not feel as if they are doing busy work all day.

What you can do: Regularly discuss important projects with every team member who is helping complete them. Communicate to them why the project is important to the company through kick-off meetings, follow up on their progress and provide constructive feedback on the work they are doing.

2. They Can See That Their Work is Making a Difference to Overall Company Goals

As well as knowing the projects they work on matter, employees should feel invested in carrying the business towards its overall goals and objectives as well. If they can see that the work they’re doing is helping the business grow and get to where it wants to be, they’ll feel that they’re playing an important role and they’ll want to carry on doing that.

What you can do: Make sure all of your employees are aware of specific company goals. For example, if you want to produce and sell 1000 units of your product this quarter, you will want to share that information with your employees and regularly give them updates on how close the company is to reaching that goal. It is also a good idea to provide recognition and rewards to your employees for helping you reach company goals.

3. They Believe in and Trust Leadership

People stick around for longer when they believe that their leaders have the best interest of the business in mind at all times and make competent decisions to maintain growth without compromising important core values.

Without good leadership, employees will often feel stranded and ignored, which can negatively impact the performance of the team and the business’s outcomes going forward. But when they believe in and trust company leaders, it’s much easier to feel invested in each day’s tasks and they will feel supported while doing so.

What you can do: Send out an anonymous survey to your employees asking them about their level of satisfaction with current owners and management. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. This survey will help you gauge if you need to make improvements within leadership teams and where those improvements need to be made.

You can also talk to employees one on one and see if there are any improvements they would like to see when it comes to management within your company. It is important to note that opening yourself up to this type of communication will help facilitate trust. However, if done incorrectly, it could leave your employees feeling awkward so make sure you have the right tools and are prepared to exercise empathy based listening before you set up your meetings.

(Recommended Read: Empathy Based Listening: Hearing Your Employees and Setting Aside Your Own Interests)

4. Pay is Fair and Provides Security

Pay is important for any employee and it is a huge motivator when pay is perceived as being fair, reasonable and gives a comfortable level of financial security. These are the things that matter to people. A sense of injustice and unfairness can begin to manifest itself when those boxes aren’t ticked by the salary offered by the company.

Even if you feel you are saving money by paying employees less than the industry standard, you may run into an issue of them finding better pay and dealing with the costs of having to replace them.

What you can do: Look at standard salaries for similar roles across your industry. Is your company on par with the average going rate in your area? If not, you may want to look at adjusting your pay scales, offering better benefits, or simply giving bonuses at the end of the year. Consult with your accounting and HR teams to create a plan that works financially for both your business and your employees.

5. Their Hard Work is Recognized

I have lightly touched on this above, but it deserves its own section on this list. It is extremely important that your employees feel recognized for their accomplishments. When people put in a great deal of hard work in their jobs, they want that work to be recognized and appreciated by their managers and senior staff members.

Unfortunately, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days and 65% of employees haven’t received any form of recognition for good work in the last year according to this Gallup’s analysis.

When that recognition occurs, it provides employees with a morale boost and enables them to feel more confident in their position and role in the company.

One in three workers in the U.S. strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days and 65% of employees haven’t received any form of recognition for good work in the last year.

What you can do: Luckily, it is easy to provide your employees with the recognition that they are looking for. It can be as easy as sending out a weekly memo congratulating specific employees for their accomplishments, choosing an employee of the month or simply telling them that you appreciate their hard work when you pass by their desk.

5 Reasons Why They Choose to Leave

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Just as important as knowing why employees stay with a company is knowing why they leave. A survey from BambooHR of 1000 employees found that nearly a third of them have left a job before crossing the half-year mark. Another survey from Willis Towers Watson found that 50% of all organizations globally have difficulty retaining some of their most valued employee groups.

There are also lots of reasons why people choose to leave their jobs and look for opportunities elsewhere. As an employer, being aware of the factors below can help mitigate the risk of losing top talent and ensure that employees stay with your company.

1. The Business’s Future Seems Unstable or Insecure

When employees are aware of the financial problems their company is dealing with, they tend to feel like it’s time to move on. No one wants to be on a sinking ship; that’s only natural. It’s important to reassure employees regarding these kinds of issues and not allow them to become a topic for gossip in the office, especially if they’re unsubstantiated.

What you can do: Be transparent and tactful when communicating the state of your business with employees. They will be able to tell when you aren’t being genuine and thus will be even more likely to leave. Address issues in company meetings and open the floor to any questions employees may have. Also, give your employees the option to speak with you in private if they are not comfortable asking their questions in front of the group. Answer their questions as thoroughly and as honestly as you can and provide regular updates on changes within the company.

2. Boring and Unchallenging Work

Some people might like an easy ride at work for a short period of time. But over the long-term, no one wants to be held back by work that’s boring and unchallenging. People expect their work to take them in new directions and to offer them some sort of challenge and engagement. When that’s not the case, they might start to look for those challenges elsewhere.

What you can do: Talk with your leadership team and see if there are any employees who seem to complete their work quickly, often talk about being bored or feel as if their skills aren’t being utilized. After you identify these individuals, take a look at upcoming projects and see if they fit into a role within that project then ask if they are interested in the role.

3. No Opportunities for Growth or Improvement

According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn and grow.

Some jobs simply end up feeling like a dead end. When a job is going nowhere and there seem to be no options for growth or improvement within the role, it’s not uncommon for people to start weighing up their options. Growth and improvement is something many employees are looking for in their career and if you want your employees to stay with your company, you need to provide these opportunities.

94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn and grow.

What you can do: Work with department heads to see if there are any seminars, conferences or additional certifications you can provide employees. Similar to what we said above regarding unchallenging work, give your employees the opportunity to work on bigger projects with a more senior team. The benefits of promoting growth and improvement within your business go beyond just keeping your employees on the payroll, it also will help your company grow and improve the quality of service you provide.

4. Not Enough Autonomy

No one wants to feel like they have managers and bosses telling them each move they should make in their work. People prefer to have a certain level of autonomy and independence while they work. By not allowing employees to have that level of autonomy, you risk alienating them and losing them to rival companies. Micromanaging employees can also affect productivity, overall morale and sometimes even their health.

Harvard Medical School instructor Jonathan D. Quick, the coauthor of Preventive Stress Management in Organizations, says that “the leadership qualities of ‘bad’ bosses over time exert a heavy toll on employees’ health.” He also said that research has linked having a micromanaging boss to a variety of health issues including an increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, sleep problems, chronic stress, and it even drives employees to smoke, drink and overeat. (source: CareerAddict.com)

What you can do: Let your employees have more control over their schedules and have regular meetings to check in on their progress. Depending on the project, meetings can be held weekly, biweekly or even monthly at the team or individual level. Have your employees come to the meeting with a list of things they have been working on/completed, things they are struggling with and have a list of your own questions ready to go. Having this meeting will help you loosen the reins while still keeping up with progress and employee work.

5. Poor Relationships with Colleagues

Positive relationships with colleagues can make people want to stay in their positions for longer. People value interpersonal connections and if they feel like those connections aren’t there in the current job, they might see a reason to find a job elsewhere where the relationships with colleagues are better and more productive.

Also, immediately address issues regarding toxic behavior among employees. If an employee comes to you with an issue, quickly assess the situation and take the appropriate steps to resolve it. This is something that shows you value creating a positive and safe work environment for everyone.

What you can do: If you are noticing that your employees aren’t communicating well with one another, it may be time to implement some effective team-building activities. Team-building activities can sometimes get a bad rep because they are seen as corny or a waste of time, but if you put together activities and events with your employees’ interests in mind, you will be very surprised at how their relationships start to improve.

If your business is looking to better retain internal talent, take steps to ensure your employees feel that staying with your company is the best option for them rather than wanting to look for other opportunities.

Sometimes it may take a third-party to help implement changes to help businesses retain their employees and improve their overall approach to company culture. If you are interested in learning more about my consulting services, contact the Eric Maddox team today by calling (918) 238-0055.