or the environment they are in,” says Smith. In reality, only 12% actually depart because of money matters.
“I have spent years as a career counselor, working with people who left their jobs. I’d listen to people talk about what they wanted at their next job and money was hardly ever at the top of the list,” says Leigh Branham, a consultant who specializes in employee retention strategies and author of The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave (AMACOM; $24.95). Branham suggests that “an overwhelming three-fourths of the workforce is disengaged,” meaning they are losing interest in their jobs and are in some phase of the departure process.
Here are some of the reasons employees leave:
The job does not meet an employee’s expectations. Retention begins during the interview process, says Smith. Job responsibilities and benefits should be clearly outlined and defined. Miscommunication at this stage sets a bad precedent for the professionalism and integrity of the organization.
The employee and the job are mismatched. This usually happens when management is in a hurry to fill a position. It’s better to take your time and be thorough, even if it takes longer. “Think about it as ‘hire fast, suffer slow,’” says Branham.
There’s a lack of effective feedback. According to Branham, employees experience some sort of disengagement before they decide to leave: “A manager can step in and disrupt or reverse this process by simply sitting down with the employee and asking, ‘How are you doing?’”
There’s a lack of development and advancement opportunities. “Managers and executives need to think of their company as a professional sports team and look at each individual as talent,” says Smith. In a survey where employees rated managers on 67 necessary leadership competencies, developing direct reports ranked last. “The employee’s experience must be managed from their first day on the job to the last,” says Smith. You can’t just hire them and forget about them.