Dynamics in the workplace raises every year. The modern workplace has become more flexible, but also more demanding. Some people are surviving in this unfamiliar environment, while others cannot make it. This second group of people leaves the company at a particular moment in time. People from it are often defined as the ones who are not able to meet the rising number of demands, who are not adaptable enough, and who do not have what it takes to finish the job they were given.
According to a Gallup survey in this second group, 45% of people who quit the company are high achievers, who search for better opportunities and find them everywhere else. Companies are losing more than 250 billion dollars (only in the US), from people who leave to search for a different place where they can contribute better. While still, companies are taking on the blaming chair of the person who lives, there are not many companies, who deeply analyze the reasons and see their place in the process. The same Gallup survey also gives data that in 83% of the cases of people leaving a company, the reasons for that leaving are in the company and it is a matter of leadership that will change that negative trend while changing the company for good.
In my experience, I have seen many companies, who do not stress enough on this problem and do not do anything to change the situation they have got to by themselves. There are common reasons who make people think of leaving their job and searching for another company. And these reasons are manageable by the leadership team of every company. My top 6 reasons for employees who decide to leave a company are shared below:
Burn out from too many responsibilities
One of the most obvious reasons and still underestimated is burnout. It is natural when you see someone doing his or her job well, to assign them with more responsibilities. What many leaders do not know is when to stop. People have a capacity. Even the brightest talent and the highest performing employee has its limit. It is the leader of the team’s responsibility to recognize that point and not overpass it. Hidden after the paradigm of talent development many leaders overburn their best talents assigning increased responsibilities while trying to finish as much work as they can. That often starts well for the person, with a lot of recognition, an elevated level of passion and engagement toward the work, but in most of the cases finishes with the person leaving the company while not seeing anything good for him or her and remembering only the long days and nights, the busy weekends and the trouble organizing his or her social and personal life outside work.
A leadership bias and a heavy reason for a bright talent to leave is the style of leading full of micromanagement activities. A person hired to do a job wants to see his or her results while putting the balanced level of energy and following its tempo. Many leaders, especially the young ones who need to show up and prove themselves do not let people breathe freely. To be sure that the work will be finished within the deadlines and the quality promised, the leaders often interfere with their teams while trying to tell everyone how to do their job, at what speed, and to what level of perfection. There is nothing wrong to be there and support the new person in the team, while still learning how to be effective and efficient, but if the leader turns to follow at every small task delegated and dos do not give the person space to bread, then this erodes to something negative as a behavior. This negative behavior makes the person a dumb tool for finishing the work and often reflects negatively on people’s engagement and accountability at work.
Lack of support
The leader who uses this tool to “help the high performer get out of the door” is often the one who causes the most troubles at work. This group of leaders often hire a notable talent, just to let it by him or herself when the moment comes. The leader’s job is to offer support when needed and asked for and let the person do the job how he or she sees it. Hiring someone and not giving enough support to help the person become a valuable contributor to the team is always a waste of time, money, and other resources. The leader who is not there when needed with contacts, relationships and enablement of what the person wants to do is the reason why people fail, leave companies, and achieve success everywhere else.
No clues about team dynamics
I have experimented with leaders from various levels at company structures to prove that as high the leader is positioned the less, he or she knows about team dynamics. Every team has its internal dynamics. There are great with numbers, and people who are great at presenting results, and those who work better in the evening and not in the morning, etc. For the leader, to ensure that the team will be successful, he or she must be familiar with the specifics of the team dynamics. That will allow the leader to plan and delegate better and ensure the results achieved are in line with the company expectations and the team members are well settled and putting their strengths toward challenges and goals. A leader who is not familiar with team dynamics often causes an unconsciously elevated level of stress to all team members that slowly evolves into internal burnout, conflicts between team members, an unhealthy team environment, etc, and ends with people leaving the team while searching for a better place to show up their full potential.
Inefficient and unproductive meetings
I have been a witness of this team destroying elements. Several years ago, I was part of a team where we met weekly to, how my manager called it “discuss priorities and challenges”. The meetings were so poorly led that from the the1,5 hours scheduled we always finished with the incredibly important tasks for the meeting in less than 30 minutes and we started losing time with sharing some useless personal information from other team members’ lives. That caused me a lot of stress and I started searching for excuses not to be present at these meetings, while delegating this “right” to a colleague of my, to represent me there. The leader did not even realize why I did that, but built a negative attitude toward my work, no matter how great my results where. One day, I just made a point in front of the whole team who was built from 86 people in more than 20 countries and asked about the purpose of the meetings and why we lose so much time in unproductive and unhelpful topics. The first reaction of the team leader was to deny the unproductive element in the meetings, but when other people from different countries started the same as me, then the leader could not do anything except to change the format and purpose of the meeting. For every leader, there is an opportunity to improve team meetings. If not sure about the level of the efficiency of the meetings led, the leader must ask the team. Or the team will struggle with the meetings for a period and then team members will take the initiative. Unproductive meetings cause team members to lose internal motivation, disengage toward team goals, and search for different opportunities where they can be more productive while losing less time.
Lack of communication
I pretty much like this one. It is my favorite topic and reason because in a more connected world we tend to lose our communication skills faster and faster. Surrounded by social networks, groups, and communities, we have lost our ability to communicate accurately. That is why a limited number of people, who have learned how to communicate easily become leaders with masses of followers. The weakest part of each team is the level of communication established as a standard. If the leader does not master this skill, then the team struggles. Communication is not authoring an e-mail, about an important task, or sharing the task at a team meeting while standing in front of the whole team. Communication is a skill the leader must master to ensure that what he or she shares is understood by everyone and when there is a piece of information missing others will give a sign or will point on that element, to ensure that the task or job will be finished with the highest level of quality possible. The leader who points to communication as a one-way street where he or she talks and others just listen is causing people to feel uncomfortable and often leads them to the decision to search for an opportunity where they will understand and will be understood
There are many reasons why employees leave their jobs, leaders, and companies. But most of them relate to the leader’s personality and the biases the leader must fight, to become a better team engager and supporter. Pointing on the 6 reasons above can be a helpful step for every leader to help team transformation, productivity, efficiency, and cohesiveness.