Something I hear nearly every time I visit one of our manufacturing insureds is how hard it is for manufacturers to find new talent. When I ask the reason that they are looking for people, they usually respond with one of three answers:
We are growing
We have a lot of people retiring
People are leaving
If they answer number three, I ask why people are leaving. Many times, they don't know. But when they do, it is usually because of one or more of the reasons listed below.
A bad boss. To stop this from happening, make sure your management staff is approachable, open minded, and cares about employees. If your leadership staff is not engaged with your employees, this may cause them to leave.
A lack of communication. If your staff feels no one tells them anything, they may feel disconnected from the workplace. Communicate constantly and openly with all your employees. This is especially true for the younger generation. They like to be involved. When they don’t know what is happening, they feel disconnected.
No opportunity to move up. When people think they are stuck in the same old job, they often feel underappreciated and may start looking for other opportunities. In today’s job market, there are more openings than people looking for jobs. This has become a real issue. You can’t promote everyone to a managerial position. Make sure you communicate with your employees about future opportunities that are coming up. Provide cross-training, job rotation, and challenging assignments to help decrease boredom in current jobs.
Lack of recognition. When people feel underappreciated—or not appreciated at all—they often leave. This is a key component to the turnover we see with the younger generation. What can you do? Make sure you engage with your employees. Tell them what they have done well. You don't have to constantly tell them “good job,” but make sure they know how much you and the company appreciate them. Everyone likes some recognition.
Hiring and promoting the wrong people. This can be a variety of things, like hiring friends or relatives, or promoting people based on seniority instead of skills and performance. When experienced employees feel their work and input aren't valued, they often move on. What can you do? Have a consistent and fair hiring process. Hire new employees based on skills and company needs, and promote people based on demonstrated work performance and fit for the position.
Feeling overworked. Putting too much work on employees can make them feel used and want to leave. To counter that, delegate work evenly and check in with employees on how they are managing their workload. Don’t put more work on your top performers.
Company culture. Employees who feel they are not a match for the company culture often leave. This can be difficult to address since a company's culture develops over time. If you want to get ahead of this potential problem, establish a culture of openness, empowerment, and communication. Most people can and will work in that kind company culture. Also, make sure new hires know and understand your company’s culture.
Financial instability of the company. Most employees work to provide for themselves and their families. If they feel uneasy about the company's future, they will move on. If your company is in financial distress, be open and honest with your employees. Let them know what is going on. If they feel involved, they might stick it out with you. Don’t forget to reward them once the financial picture is improving.
The greener fence. Some employees leave because they feel another company can offer them more. There isn't much you can do when this happens. However, if many people leave suddenly, perform an honest evaluation of your company. Is your compensation package competitive? Do you have a good company culture? Do you have open lines of communication?
Work-life balance. If you overload and overwork your employees, they may leave. Money and job titles aren’t the only drivers for today’s workforce—family and playtime have taken the number one spot for many. If you don’t ensure employees have enough time off, many will move to companies that offer a better work-life balance.
The above list is in no particular order and is certainly not complete—they are simply reasons I have heard from customers and observed in my own career. If you have an exit interview process, you might learn some of the reasons your employees leave. If one or two reasons come up all the time, you should take a serious look at what can be done. Alternatively, it is sometimes better that one unhappy employee leaves the company rather than infecting the rest of the team and making everyone dissatisfied.