The 10 Reasons Why Top Talent Leaves

Four million people quit their jobs in July 2022, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, last year alone, more people voluntarily quit their jobs than ever before. This unprecedented mass exit from the workforce is being referred to as, “The Great Resignation”. 

While most will blame the COVID-19 Pandemic, that’s actually only one piece of the puzzle. In the context of total employment during the past dozen years, this “great resignation” is an ongoing trend. Every year from 2009 to 2019, the average monthly quit rate has increased over and over again. COVID-19 only accelerated an existing pattern. 

More than ever before, the American workforce is struggling and no one is exempt. Everyone from McDonald’s to your dentist are struggling to get and keep quality employees. Seeing your best talent walk out the door can be devastating. When you lose a good employee productivity sinks, morale suffers, colleagues struggle, and the workload increases.

To solve this problem and secure your own workforce, we must first understand what is changing each year and why top talent leaves more and more often. 

#1 They’re Not Engaged

Employees who feel disconnected from development opportunities, management, or the organization’s values are more likely to leave. A 2021 Gallup survey found that 15% of US workers are “actively disengaged.” 

According to State of the Global Workplace Report – by Gallup, only 15 percent of employees are engaged in the workplace! That means that of 10 people in your office, at least 8 of them are disengaged in their role right now.

The tricky part of engagement is identifying disengagement when it’s happening and before the damage is done. Typically a disengaged employee will still show up and get the work done, but often do the minimum required. They may withdraw from social activities, call in sick more than usual, and will quickly jump ship if a better offer comes along. 

#2 Management Mishaps

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.” The best talent wants to work with good managers who see and value their impact. If they feel the leadership isn’t delivering they will find a manager who will. 

“When you lose your top talent, the first place to look is at management,” says Wendy Duarte Duckrey, executive director of global technology recruiting at JPMorgan Chase. “Managing teams as a whole is hard. You have to manage to each individual, and invest time into discovering what each member of a team needs both at work and outside of work to do their job to the best of their ability.”

The manager relationship can be tricky because there are so many nuances. Overall, more than 40% don’t respect the person they report to according to Forbes.

Here are a few red flags to look for that indicate a problem with a manager: 

  • When employees don’t trust their managers
  • When management fails to give credit when credit is due.
  • When managers play favorites and don’t offer feedback.
  • When managers are persistently negative or pessimistic. 
  • A manager with a temper. 

Transparency in management can prevent many office conflicts. Read more about this here: 6 Ways to Build Transparent Leaders

#3 You Hired the Wrong Person 

A top performer wants to be around other top performers. He or she doesn’t want to work with your buddy from college or your brother-in-law that you hired because they were going through a rough patch. Focus your hiring process on the skills and perspectives a candidate brings to create a team that will complement and challenge each other.  Learn how to learn more during the interview process here: 15 Questions to Identify Top Talent in an Interview

#4 No Room to Grow

Your top talent leaves because they are ambitious individuals who want to make sure their career is advancing. If your company can’t support their career, it’s a match that won’t last long. 

“Make sure employees are aware of available opportunities to grow and to expand their knowledge,” Duckrey says. “Find out if they are getting the resources to add to and change their roles, to take on more and different responsibilities, to spearhead new projects, to experiment.”

According to Forbes.com, more than 60 percent of top talent don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them. Opportunities for growth can take on many different forms in both personal and professional development. Programs could be internal (lunch and learns) or external (tuition reimbursements), but there should be some type of opportunity for top performers to continue to grow in their careers, personal life, or interests. 

#5 You’re Micro-Managing 

Top talent leaves when they have no freedom to do what they do best. When they aren’t given the independence or decision-making power they need. These are the type of employees who think on their feet and they need the ability to do so. If they are constantly having to check in with you, wait for approval, or submit a request for every change – they’ll eventually find freedom elsewhere.

#6 You’re Behind on Technology

Today’s industries are driven by technology. Whether you run a neighborhood bakery or a technology firm, employees want to work with emerging technology and keep their skills current. They don’t want to work for a company running in the dark ages. 

Rona Borre, CEO and founder of Instant Alliance suggests that when new technologies or upgrades aren’t in the budget, consider sending a few of your top employees to outside training on cutting-edge systems even if you can’t use them in your organization. Borre says this will emphasize that you value their education and skills and are willing to update when the company is able. 

This topic can trickle into your employee benefits as well. Are you giving the latest options to your employees? Beny offers the latest LSA options where technology meets benefits. Beny’s LSA also gives employees the choice of their own lifestyle benefits, so there is no top-down approach, hoping that what you offer will appeal to all your employees.

#7 You’re not checking in 

When was the last time you had a performance review that was truly beneficial? If it was more than a year ago, it’s been too long and your top talent is probably looking elsewhere. Experts agree more frequent reviews are better.

Kira Meinzer, chief people officer at Envoy Global says having open discussions about where top employees see their future is key “[A] simple yet powerful question for managers to ask is, ‘What is keeping you here now and what will keep you here for the future?’”

Top talent wants to stay at the top, they crave feedback and are eager to improve. Neglect is the best way to push them away and into another company.  Find out more details about performance review tips here: The Ultimate Guide to Performance Reviews

#8 Your policies are too rigid

Today’s workforce expects flexible scheduling, telecommuting, remote work and autonomy over their schedule. No one wants to be chained to their desks. The days of 9 to 5 or 8 to 6 are long gone. If your workplace policies are too rigid, it’s not hard to find a company with more flexible scheduling. In fact, this flexibility is often more important than salary. Sometimes employees will be willing to take a pay cut in order to gain more flexibility in their schedule. 

#9 They’re burned out

Why top talent leaves are often due to burnout. A lot of factors are driving the Great Resignation, with one of them being widespread burnout. Microsoft reports in its 2021 Work Trend Index that 54% of employees feel overworked and 39% feel exhausted. You’ve got to pay attention to what is happening at work and at the home. Actually seeing and understanding what your people deal with on a daily basis is essential. 

“Little things that emphasize the importance of work-life balance go a long way toward making employees feel that they’re not just disposable cogs in a wheel, but a valuable asset to the company, and to their families,” says Duckrey.

Offering an LSA (Lifestyle Spending Account) gives the clear message that you as an employer care about your employees outside of the workplace, and you are contributing to their lifestyle leveling up. For more information on LSA’s check out: Why are Lifestyle Benefits Becoming so Popular? and NOT ALL BENEFITS ARE CREATED EQUAL

#10 You don’t appreciate them

Perhaps more than any other reason on this list, this is the most important. In a recent study, More than 70% of top talent don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer. Your most ambitious, talented, and valuable employees should know how you feel about them. It doesn’t always come down to workload and salary digits, it’s about how they feel when they wake up to come to work every day. They know they have the talent and skills, and they will find an employer who appreciates them.  For more ideas check out: THE POWER OF EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION

Conclusion 

A healthy turnover rate is one that keeps fresh minds coming in, top talent staying in, and organically weeds out employees who aren’t providing value. However, few things in business are as costly and disruptive as an unexpected resignation from your top talent. When you are constantly trying to bring in new talent to replace the old, it might be time to rethink your company culture to drive change. 

Each of these reasons can be boiled down to two main factors: belonging and impact. People want a tribe where they are utilized, valued, and appreciated. They also want to make an impact, enact change, and drive real results. If you can achieve these two, you may have found yourself the gold ticket to loyalty, hard work, and creativity.

Learn more about LSA’s here: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN LSA AND AN HSA? and TOP 5 BENEFITS LSA’S ARE USED FOR

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