6 Reasons Why Large Companies Lose Their Best Staff
As the talent shortage tightens its grip on the construction industry, keeping good employees has never been more vital.
For some companies, it may come as a surprise to find their attrition rates rising sharply as skilled staff who ‘stayed put’ throughout the recession now move onto what they consider to be greener pastures. Some turnover is inevitable and a natural part of business, but in some large companies the rate of employee turnover is signifying something more problematic is at work and needs to be addressed.
As such, companies who hope to retain their best staff in 2016 and beyond would do well to ensure they’re not committing any of the ‘6 deadly sins’ that often have good employees heading for the door…and straight into the arms of the competition.
6 Reasons Your Best Employees Leave
1. Lack of a voice. No-one likes to feel they are lost in a crowd, and large companies often have that effect on people. It’s crucial to have thorough feedback channels in place so that individual employees feel that their concerns and ideas are being heard. A good performance review process is also imperative to keeping staff engaged and feeling appreciated.
2. Poor leadership. Countless articles have been written on the damage poor leadership can do to a team and how many star players leave due to conflict with their managers. Sometimes the underperforming managers have been ‘part of the furniture’ so long that their performance can be both hard to assess and hard to improve, and in large companies it’s generally much harder to keep track of management performance.
If you genuinely wish to save your company from losing its best staff, you must be willing to shake things up and make some hard choices. An external review can be beneficial in this case as it gives you impartial information to work with, and open-minded exit interviews are a brilliant insight into what may be going wrong from a leadership perspective. Perhaps you even have to be ready to accept that your own management style has been causing problems.
3. Burnout accompanied by a lack of recognition. Star performers often get such good results on a regular basis that their higher-than-average output just stops being recognised over time. It becomes so normal for the top players to achieve great things that managers stop congratulating and thanking them for the effort.
This tendency towards treating excellence as normal from key players can be magnified to burnout levels when managers pile on the work knowing that the star player is the best person to do it. This leaves the star player working much harder than the other employees, while getting very little recognition for it. This is a disastrous management tactic that will often lead to resignations. Praise often, reward often, and be mindful of overloading your key players.
4. Bureaucracy. Large companies are renowned for being bound in red tape that employees find frustrating. This inability to ‘get things done’ or being slowed down by company bureaucracy is often cited as one of the biggest reasons that top performers leave companies- particularly if they find the rules pointless or are not being consulted when the new rules are being implemented.
Whenever new rules are being put in place, it is necessary to get input from your key players in each department to assess how the new rules will actually work in practice and whether they will unduly inconvenience staff.
5. Lack of career progression and/or interesting tasks. Not having a clear path to promotion will deter all but the most blindly loyal employees. A lack of career development coupled with uninspiring tasks will have your turnover rate skyrocketing, particularly among your more talented employees.
Companies with good retention rates recognise how important career fulfilment is to their employees, so discuss career goals and promotion paths with your employees, schedule training, and keep staff engaged by allowing them to develop their own projects where possible. Any agreements on training and projects must then be honoured- nothing destroys employee loyalty faster than a broken promise.
6. Hiring and promoting poor staff. When a valued employee sees a poor candidate being hired or promoted, it often makes them angry as they feel it devalues all their hard work. Your great employees want (and deserve) to work with other great employees so that everyone can reach goals through a meeting of minds and a collaboration of effort. When hiring or promoting, always consider whether this person will be culturally suited to your existing team, and don’t be afraid to recognise when you’ve made a hiring mistake. You might also consider bringing your star performers in on the hiring decisions.
There’s nothing more disappointing than watching your key players walk out the door, knowing they’ll be hard to replace. Yet as long as you avoid these 6 major triggers and stay focussed on your employees’ engagement and development, your turnover rates will be the envy of your competition, rather than their opportunity.