Losing your best employees? 4 reasons why and how to prevent it

It’s often said that a business is only as good as its employees. These individuals embody the mission of your organisation, and it’s their passion and initiative that will innovate the way your business operates.

It’s imperative then, that business leaders make a conscious effort to keep their best employees happy, motivated, and inspired. There are also financial implications for business leaders to consider. According to analysis by Oxford Economics, the average cost of replacing a member of staff is more than £30,000.

losing your best employeesIf you’ve noticed a high turnover of staff, you first need to determine the reasons why employees are leaving before implementing an employee retention strategy. Here we look at four of the reasons why employees leave and how you can prevent them.

1. Unreasonable workload

An excessive workload is one of the top reasons why employees leave an organisation. 32% of UK staff report having excessive amounts of work, while three out of five are working longer hours than they’d like. This leads to staff feeling undervalued, mistreated, and stressed, ultimately resulting in burnout. It also impacts work-life balance, as workers will have very little time for relaxation and will likely spend time out of office worrying about their workload. Too much work can eventually lead to issues like lower productivity, poor quality work, and a drop in morale.

To prevent this, managers should encourage breaks, be conscious of how long staff are working, and use relevant management approaches to ensure employees have suitable workloads. In an interview with SaaS company Precursive, Guy Marsh, Head of Resource Management at Shell, notes there are three key components to good resource management: “You need to know what’s coming in, you need to know who can do that, and you need to know when they can do that.” Keeping on top of this allows you to ensure that your staff aren’t overworked, and gives you a clearer understanding of how long specific tasks take.

2. Lack of engagement

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, only 15% of employees are engaged at work. Some of the reasons behind this disengagement includes receiving little feedback and recognition, poor communication, and lack of training, tools, and resources. Managers can identify disengagement by paying attention to individual behaviour and actions. If a worker was once outgoing and bubbly but suddenly seems reserved, they may be disengaged. Meanwhile, if they appear to withdraw from their work or are absent frequently, these are also signs of disengagement.

To increase engagement, leaders should arrange one-to-one meetings to understand what employees want to achieve, communicate more frequently informing staff of business news, and invite feedback from workers to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. These are all techniques that help to raise engagement levels and build a strong workplace, with research showing that engaged employees are as much as 43% more productive.

3. Poor management

Almost half of UK employees reportedly leave their jobs due to bad managers, citing things like a lack of training, favouritism, or managers taking credit for their work as reasons for leaving. Good managers are caring, communicative, strategic, present, and self-aware. They need to ensure their employees feel part of a team by listening to suggestions, concerns, and challenges.

While becoming a good manager doesn’t happen overnight, there are things budding leaders can do, including asking for guidance from more experienced colleagues, planning ahead, and learning to delegate. Enrolling managers on a leadership course can help to develop their skills and equip them with the right tools and techniques to successfully lead a team.

4. Limited room for professional growth

70% of employees would consider leaving their current position in favour of a job that offers better development opportunities. Staff want positions that facilitate professional career growth, instead of feeling like another cog in the machine. If a worker believes they are not progressing, they’ll leave. If an employee has been in the same role for years, or hasn’t been able to expand their skill set, the likelihood of handing in their notice will increase. The issue links to poor management as it’s up to managers to encourage growth and provide the resources to do this.

So, to prevent staff from leaving, managers must offer educational and career development options where possible. According to Precursive’s Agile Workforce Study, 58% of business leaders still use Excel to mitigate capacity issues, and only 15% of C-level execs feel they are measuring capacity well. Automations and technology can optimise capacity for an organisation and then the time saved can be gifted back to the employee for this development.

It is important to remember that long-term commitment from your employees does not rest solely with leaders and managers – effort is required from both directions. However, by following the above advice and ensuring your employees are as engaged as possible, you’re much more likely to have a happy, productive workforce that will deliver results for years to come.