I attended a conference recently for corporations trying to handle the increase in burnout and stress-related health problems among their employees. I was astounded to hear numerous managers complaining about their best employees leaving. When good employees walk out the door, the company loses a great asset, and it leaves a bigger burden for remaining employees.
The managers attending the conference offered reasons employees leave, including increased work load, time pressures, and financial concerns. However, when the employees gave their exit interview, these were rarely the excuses. Instead, the number one reason they gave was their manager’s style of managing. What are the areas managers should focus on to prevent their best employees from walking out the door?
The majority of employees who left felt overworked. They felt overwhelmed and as though they could not perform to the best of their ability. A research study from Stanford University clearly shows that productivity per hour declines when the work week exceeds 50 hours. After 55 hours, your ability it is no longer cost-effective.
Employees felt unappreciated when their good work wasn’t noticed. People will work harder and more effectively if their deeds are noticed and praised. Managers are busy and underestimate the importance of showing appreciation.
Employees felt that promises made were not honored. When managers make promises to their employees and don’t keep them, employees lose trust and respect for their manager. Why they broke the promise is not as important as the fact that they did. Their employee feels betrayed, making it easier for them to quit or give up.
Employees felt as though the wrong people were promoted and hired. Good employees are often intrinsically motivated. When they give so much to their company and are overlooked for a promotion, they begin feeling resentful, anxious, and depressed. Their productivity goes down and they get burned out and give up.
Employees felt like there was little incentive to stay. Good employees need to feel that their part matters. When they no longer feel an incentive to stay, their work performance goes down and they lose their motivation. At this point, threats don’t matter because they are emotionally detached.
Employers who see their finest employees leaving must begin looking closely at their management teams. Not everyone can be an effective manager; it requires a high emotional intelligence and a complete knowledge of the company. Below are suggestions that can help:
As the work load increases, managers need to remember that their employees will take on a bigger load, but they won’t continue if their job suffocates them. Increasing work load without raises, promotions, or praise burns them out.
Managers need to know their employees and what makes them feel appreciated. For some, it may be a raise and for others it’s a public award. Telling them, “good job,” may be ineffective if they simply hear it in passing or via email.
When you break a promise at work, you are held to the same standard you would be anywhere else. People see you differently. Don’t make a promise you cannot keep.
Managers need to stay human. They need to understand that their employee is just like them with the same life struggles. Correcting them one-on-one instead of shouting your frustration helps them feel more respected and appreciated.
Employees need to understand that self-care is their work. They need to be able to take 10 minutes throughout their day to sit quietly, breathe, read inspirational words, or whatever will help them manage their stress load. They need to understand themselves enough to recognize the signs of anxiety and to take responsibility for their mental health.
A job is a place of personal growth. In a world that’s rapidly changing, companies must change to stay competitive, and a company’s biggest asset is its employees. Functioning as a team requires open communication and all members feeling valued for the job they do. Being part of a team builds loyalty to the company.