Organizations, especially in Vancouver, are finding themselves in a candidate-centric recruitment phase, in which there are often more needs and opportunity, than available talent.
As a seasoned HR and Technical Recruitment professional, I can tell you that now, more than ever, it’s critical that once you have sourced, screened, selected and on-boarded your employees, that you do everything in your power to ensure they aren’t looking to move on.
Here are a few reasons why employees start to look elsewhere for new job opportunities:
1. Lack of Trust
This problem goes both ways.
If employees do not trust leadership to lead the business objectives and carry the product or service forward or if they don’t trust their managers to give them the best opportunities to grow and develop, they aren’t going to stick around.
Conversely, if you aren’t making your employees feel trusted in their respective roles, that’s a problem, too.
We often hear managers throw their hands up and promise that they aren’t micro managers. I’d like to challenge that. You may not even be aware that you’re micromanaging (this is the first issue!). A lack of self-awareness will cause your team to suffer. You may not micromanage the day to day tasks, but perhaps you are inadvertently managing trivial aspects of a person’s role, such as the tools they use or the people they partner with.
Bottom line: Take a good long look at the way you manage your team — be honest with yourself — are you actually micromanaging them? If so, why? Figure out the answer and start working on your leadership style.
2. Lack of Flexibility
If your company is doing any of the following, I suggest you take a step back and really think about why, and whether it is worth losing employees over:
- You do not provide your employees with a Wi-Fi password
- You limit what they are able to access online
- You do not have flexible working hours even though your business can sustain it
- You do not allow the option to work from home (ever) even though the job could be done remotely anytime or at certain times
- You require employees to go through one person (HR/manager) to escalate concerns, even though you know that this gatekeeper isn’t helpful or flexible
If you want to be successful at managing your team and business, you must be flexible. Afterall, no one likes to feel like they work for a dictator.
3. Lack of Innovation
Employees want to work on exciting projects, use new and innovative tools, and be able to access new ways of doing things to increase efficiency.
If you are stuck in a time warp, your employees are going to notice.
Let’s take, for example, the idea of time and attendance. Are you making your employees fill out forms, then having them pass these forms to managers for approval, who then have to provide the forms to HR or payroll to input and keep track of in a spreadsheet? That’s a lot of work! These types of systems (or a lack thereof) are frustrating for employees, time-consuming for managers, and they leave room for error during manual input by HR and Payroll. Most importantly, these inefficient processes show that the company isn’t willing to invest the time and resources to provide employees with an up-to-date, modern system. Why would an employee stay in a place like that when they know they could work down the street for the same (or better pay) with better, less redundant processes?
Another example of a lack of innovation is when the bulk of the challenging, innovative roles are held onto by a select group of individuals at the top and everyone else assumes support roles. This poor distribution of resources will leave a small group likely feeling an enormous amount of pressure, and a larger pool of candidates under utilised.
4. Lack of True Employee Reward & Recognition Programs
Having partnered with several companies (predominantly within the high tech sector), one thing that I have come across is how creative people can get when they are building employee recognition plans. There is such a clear difference between a slapped together program versus one that was thoughtful and clearly had employees in mind.
A true employee recognition program ensures that:
- Employees are receiving something of actual value to them – if there is no value to the employee, they will not see it as them being recognised
- The recognition isn’t micromanaged by leadership or needing management approval – if there is too much red tape or a cumbersome acknowledgement/approval process, employees will see that the program is not genuine and only works if it aligns with the leadership team’s opinion
- Recognition is given in a timely manner. A job well done, an exceptional attitude or a “wow” moment are things that must be acknowledged in the moment, not months later. For more info on how to create an impactful employee recognition program, check out Guusto co-founder, Joe Facciolo’s recent Rise blog post.
5. Poor Management
We often hear that people don’t quit companies, they quit managers. Far too often, managers find themselves in positions that are beyond their scope, their leadership skills, their people skills and yet, either through a lack of awareness or a lack of desire to do the right thing, they remain in their unfitting roles.
When employees lose faith in their manager’s ability to lead them and help them better themselves, they no longer feel a sense of loyalty to them or the organization.
If an employee is being treated poorly or if there is preferential treatment within a team, and an organization allows this to continue, it is as much the organization’s fault, as it is the manager’s fault.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Being the strongest technically does not mean that the next step is automatically management – the individual could take on a technical lead role instead of being asked to lead people
- As a company grows, sometimes the manager that worked effectively at 100 people no longer works at 250. It is ok for the company to acknowledge that the role has outgrown the incumbent. They can and should hire above the role instead of only considering promoting up into the role
- Managers at all levels require continuous support and training; it is not enough to say that a manager has met the threshold and is now left on their own
6. Lack of training and development, opportunity, and succession planning
Does your organization have a clear career path for your employees? Do your people know what opportunities there are within the organization as they deepen their skills and expand their responsibilities?
Related reading: Boomerang Employees: What You Need to Know Before Hiring One
Far too often, a candidate is brought into a company, on boarded, trained and then left to do the role, year after year after year.
If you do not have a proper performance management program, tracking of training and development requests, succession planning (essentially, an HRIS that holds all your information), your employees are not going to feel like they are being invested in and may start looking for new opportunities with companies they can visualize themselves growing in.
There is a famous quote out there that goes like this:
“CFO asks CEO: What happens if we spend money training our people and then they leave?
CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay”
As the quote implies, it is more important to invest in your employees and have them move on from the organization (but still be a champion for you), then to have a lower standard of employee representing your employer brand.
Make sure that your company demonstrates that it is innovative, trusting, flexible, employee-centric in terms of reward and recognition programs, has strong leadership and offers employees a path to growth and development. If you don’t have these things in place, you can bet that your employees will start looking for new jobs – be it now or in the near future.