Why Good Staff Quit Their Jobs, Even If They Like Them

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It’s no secret that it’s important for a business to have good staff. Attracting and retaining good staff is crucial for business success. Many organisations spend a lot of time hiring staff, like head-hunting the high-performing staff of their competitors, conducting multiple job interviews and making applicants undergo personality tests. They also usually vet the past performance and character of job applicants with at least two referees, before making a job offer.

Those processes generally work well in terms of hiring good staff. But often, organisations don’t put as much effort into retaining their good staff. And retaining good staff is just as important as attracting them to join your business in the first place.

When good staff leave a business, they obviously take their knowledge, skills and experience with them. That can leave a void. Not matter, how capable their replacement may be, they will usually need to be trained in organisational policies and procedures, as well as need time to develop effective working relationships with your existing staff. There’s also the time and expense of the hiring process, as well as the risk of a good replacement not being available or a new hire not working out.

So it’s obviously important to retain your best people. But it may surprise you to learn that you can be vulnerable to losing your best staff, even when they like their jobs. Here’s are some of the major reasons why good staff quit their jobs.

They get head-hunted

Just like your business can try and poach high-performing staff from your competitors, they can also do the same to you. All businesses want the best people, and talented people are invariably in demand. Your competitors might offer a higher salary or better benefits to attract your best staff. You need to be aware of the potential for this to happen and be prepared to counter-offer so your staff won’t quit to go and work against you. Better yet, make sure your best people are already very well rewarded and happy at work with a clear career path, and you’ll minimise the chances of them being head-hunted by one of your competitors.

They get bored

Even if people like their jobs, they probably won’t want to stay in them indefinitely. It’s human nature to get bored doing the same thing over a long period of time. Most people like to have at least some challenge and variety in their jobs, and to be able to see some sort of career path. They don’t want to stagnate. If you aren’t providing some variety, challenges and a career path for your best staff, sooner or later you’ll be vulnerable to them quitting to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Provide relevant training and development opportunities so your good staff can upskill and benefit your business even more. You’ll likely keep them motivated and retain them for longer. Everyone likes to feel they are making progress in their working life, especially high performers.

They are overworked

It can sometimes be a trap that the best staff in an organisation get unfairly lumbered with more work and pressure. While that may be justified to some extent if they hold a more senior position, it’s not fair if workloads are unevenly distributed among staff at the same level. That just leads to resentment from the staff getting lumbered with more work. It’s also not sustainable and it might encourage them to quit their job. You can avoid this by making sure there are equal workloads among your staff. If you don’t feel as confident delegating work to some of your staff, you need to fix the situation (e.g. by providing more training to people who need it).

They don’t get on with a boss or co-worker

When a person doesn’t get on with someone they work with, particularly a boss, it can be difficult. Not everyone in a workplace environment is going to be friends, but at a minimum you should encourage an environment where everyone is treated with respect and professionalism. You don’t want any of your best staff to quit over any avoidable issues. Be a role model for how your staff should treat one another.

They aren’t treated well at work

Some businesses make the mistake of focusing on profits over people. Both are equally important. Good staff who are highly engaged lead to better organisational profits. And better profits allow businesses to better reward their staff, helping to attract and retain the best talent. Maintaining a balanced focus on both staff and profits is a win/win situation for a business. Treat your staff well and they’ll generally perform better and be more loyal to your business (i.e. they won’t quit and go elsewhere). And treating your staff well can include both financial and non-financial awards (e.g. praise for a job well done).

Their efforts aren’t recognised

There is often nothing more demotivating for good staff than feeling their efforts go unnoticed or unrewarded. Why would they be motivated to be a high-performer if they feel that no one really cares? This comes back to the need to treat your best staff well. When staff feel that their work is valued, they’ll feel better about putting in the effort needed to deliver the best results.

Too much organisational bureaucracy

Most people don’t like too much red rape or to be micromanaged. That’s especially the case for high-performers, who are usually capable problem-solvers who enjoy taking initiative, contributing ideas and getting on with their jobs.  If your organisational structure and procedures don’t allow for this, you’ll frustrate your best staff. Even if they like their job, they might look for an organisation with a less bureaucratic environment where they’ll be empowered to make more decisions for themselves.   And they’ll quit working for you when they find one.

They can’t see their organisation’s vision in action

Many businesses have grand vision and mission statements. Those statements are often easy to come up with, but harder to implement. That’s because broad statements need to be translated into actionable goals that can be realistically measured and achieved. Businesses that don’t have tangible goals will inevitably frustrate high-performing staff. That’s because talented people like to work toward and achieve tangible goals. It’s important for a business to provide these goals. 

They don’t trust their organisation

Trust is something that can be hard to earn, but easy to lose. High-performing staff need to trust their organisation to stay motivated and engaged. The best way to build trust in your organisation is to make sure the actions of you and your managers match your words. In other words, make sure you and your managers “walk the talk”. If you don’t, you’ll lose the trust of your staff, including the high-performers that it’s important for your business to retain. When good staff quit, it invariably damages a business.

Did we miss any reasons? Have you ever left a job that you loved? Join the discussion in the comments below!

Postado 3 julho, 2017

John C

Content editor, writer, proofreader

I am based in Australia and have over twenty years experience working for major commercial publishing houses (Wiley, Cambridge University Press and McGraw-Hill). I am comfortable editing, writing and proofreading in any topic area. Recent examples of commercial publications that I have worked on are in my portfolio, as well as sample business, travel and sport articles that I've had pu...

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