028 – Why Good People Quit & How To Retain Them
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Why Good People Quit:
Today’s episode is a review and reinforcing summary of the content covered during my free leadership training webinar, January 18th & 19th, titled 7 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Will Quit This Year (+7 Strategies to Retain Top Talent & Achieve Your Goals). While the 7 reasons why good people quit and the 7 strategies are listed and explained below, if you would like to receive the in-depth training, there is a webinar replay available for a limited time. If you have missed the free replay, please contact me and I’ll see what I can do. If you are interested in some of the articles and research used for the presentation, please visit the employee retention resources page.
Resources Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Webinar Replay: 7 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Will Quit This Year (+7 Strategies to Retain Top Talent & Achieve Your Goals)
Podcast Episode 003 with Gordon Tredgold
Podcast Episode 030 with Peter Docker
Free Management Course: Fully Engaged in 10 Days, Learn 3 Critical Components to Increasing Employee Engagement on Your Team
The Partnership – Learn the fundamentals of management, develop leadership skills, receive one-on-one coaching, and join a community of like-minded people who are all striving to make a difference in their companies, in their teams, and in their personal lives.
Episode 28 – Why Good People Quit & How To Retain Them
Last week, on Wednesday and Thursday, I had the privilege to host 4 live webinars where I spent a total of 6 hours talking about some really important topics and answering some really important questions.
Topics like employee engagement, employee retention, and leadership development
Questions like, why do some managers find success while others don’t or why do so many managers drive really good people, right out the door?
SPOILER ALERT ON THAT LAST QUESTION
Most managers don’t actually learn how to lead until they have been managing people for, on average, 9 years! Which means they have 9 years of trial & error management… which had casualties. Some of you reading this today are those casualties because you’ve quit on one of those kinds of managers. (it’s true, companies wait too long to provide leadership training)
Anyway, I had a ton of fun putting together the content and even more fun sharing it. The response has been really encouraging so I’d like to say thank you to everyone who attended, I had a blast and I appreciate your encouragement!
For today’s show, I wanted to take that 90-minute presentation and shrink it down to a small little podcast episode.
Review & Reinforcement – Why Good People Quit & How To Retain Them
If you joined me for the webcast last week, consider this a review and reinforcement of some really important things that you can be doing to maximize your effectiveness as a manager.
If you didn’t get a chance to hop on, I want to share the core ideas with you because, as a manager, if you understand why good people quit and what good managers do to retain their best? Well, you’ll be a better manager this week.
It’s that simple!
Now, before I hop into the mini training for today’s show, I’d like to tell you why I picked this topic for the webinar and where all this information is coming from because these aren’t ideas that I’ve come up with on my own.
Why did I create this training in the first place?
I wasn’t a very good first-time manager
When I was a first-time manager, I was really bad. like most first-time managers, I thought I knew what I was doing and although I was actually really good at my job, I was passive when it came to employee engagement and employee retention. Go figure, within the first 9 months after being promoted, the 3 employees that I started out with had all left. While I had a bunch of excuses about how it wasn’t my fault (and really ownership can go both ways), it revealed that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. I wasn’t good at building loyalty, I wasn’t good at inspiring action, I wasn’t good at helping people reach their potential.
As a result, I lost my first 3 employees!
Then things changed.
When I found out that my wife was pregnant with our first child, Jake, my perspective changed. Of course, I now needed to provide for my family in a different way, but I also started thinking more about relationships. That shift in my thinking drastically changed how I lead my team. As I result, I started to see success on my team and success in my business and career.
Okay, so maybe that’s an impactful personal experience, but it’s not like I made one small change and figured everything out… I’m not there yet. However, the experiences that I’ve had make what I’m about to talk about… real.
Some Observations on Leadership & Retention
So let me tell you what I’ve seen through the last 8 years of recruiting and consulting. I’ve been privileged to have worked with 100s of companies from mid-market firms to fortune 100 companies, helping managers to recruit, hire, performance manage and retain people.
And what do you think I saw? I saw great leaders engage and retain some really great employees. But I saw more poor managers lose great people. Not to mention, it was my primary job to find these great employees, who were good people working good jobs in good companies… and connect them with an opportunity that would help them achieve whatever it is that they thought they were missing.
I saw great leaders engage and retain some really great employees. But I saw more poor managers lose great people. Not to mention, it was my primary job to find these great employees, who were good people working good jobs in good companies… and connect them with an opportunity that would help them achieve whatever it is that they thought they were missing.
Not to mention, it was my primary job to find these great employees (good people working good jobs in good companies) and connect them with an opportunity that would help them achieve whatever it is that they thought they were missing.
So I’ve heard every reason why someone wants to quit their job and I’ve seen how managers try to retain good people, but more importantly how great managers ACTUALLY retain their top employees.
Learn why good people quit… from the best!
But I want to share one more thing because I want to make this abundantly clear that these strategies… it’s not about me. What I mean is that, I recognize that my experience and expertise is limited, I’m not perfect (as you well know). But I want to tell you, that’s a big reason why I started the Your Best Manager podcast and why I chose to reach out to some of the world’s top leadership experts.
Although I’ve experienced the power of these retention strategies, and although I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t in the business world, in industries from engineering to manufacturing, to retail and food service, to architecture, to insurance, to Oil & Gas & Power…
I want to learn from the best!
From people like Gordon Tredgold from Episode #3 who is listed as one of the top five leadership experts to follow on Twitter, to people like Peter Docker, who travels the world speaking and training with Simon Sinek (and who is the featured interview of episode #30, which will be released this Friday).
So I’ve been privileged to have talked with, worked with, and worked for some great leaders. That’s where this stuff that I’m about to share comes from.
7 Reasons Why Good People Quit & 7 Strategies to Retain Them
Hold on tight because again, I’m cramming a 90-minute training session into, I don’t know, 10 minutes maybe?
Here we go
We’ll start with the 7 Reasons Why Good People Quit (and remember that this is just an overview. For the full training, you have a couple days left to take advantage and watch the webinar replay). So if you aren’t driving right now, you have my permission to stop this podcast, clear your schedule for an hour and a half, grab a notebook, and really dive into this stuff.
Okay, so 7 Reasons Why Good People Quit, let’s go.
Reason #1, Compensation.
This is the most cited reason why people quit their jobs and I doubt anyone listening is surprised because if you’ve had someone quit on your before, they probably got a raise. I’ll be honest – that frustrates me. For starters, I don’t actually believe that money is the primary motivator for people quitting, but because money is the most cited reason… companies buy it!
So they try to attract and retain people by paying more (which has a ton of consequences we won’t get into). That means that most of the time when someone quits, they get a raise… and since it’s easier to say they got an offer that they just couldn’t refuse, than it is, to tell the truth in their exit interview (that they didn’t feel valued, or treated well, or listen to, or whatever the REAL reason is)… well, there you have it.
Why do good people quit? Sometimes it’s because of compensation.
Reason #2, Work-Life Balance.
Again, I’m sure you aren’t surprised, but apparently, some people quit because of this thing called Work-Life Balance.
But really, work-life balance is ambiguous because it means different things to different people.
It shows up as people quitting because of the hours, or because they are dealing with “personal issues” or stress, or they want to work on their marriage, or it’s their health.
We like to package it up as work-life balance, but these are really personal, situational, excuses that ultimately say, “I don’t think the time, effort, challenges or struggles that I am dealing with at work are worth the rewards to my personal life.”
Reason #3, I Don’t Feel Valued.
This one is an interesting one because it’s something that many managers think they are avoiding but in reality, they are just making things worse.
Let me give you an example. I had an employee who gave me some tough feedback once because I was high-fiving her.
She told me that she didn’t feel valued and I said something like, but I’ve already given you a couple high fives today for doing a good job! Stupid answer, I know, but she told me that my high fives were meaningless.
She wasn’t looking for praise to feel valued. She wanted significance. She wanted to feel important and valuable. Sure, praise can be a component of that but so are things like increased responsibility and accountability, and ownership.
Reason #4, My manager sucks.
Not going to spend much time here because we all know that this one is true… okay, I’ll say it… no I won’t!
Here’s what I want you to think about here: I mentioned the leadership development gap earlier. Okay, so for some reason, when we think of an employee quitting on their manager, we imagine of some monster holding a whip!
But I’m going to remind you right now that most managers don’t receive any leadership training until they have been managing people for 9 Years!
So… that means you have a lot of really nice, well-intentioned people that don’t know how to lead.
Just some perspective.
Reason #5, My Company sucks.
Okay, now I’ll say it: People don’t quit companies, they quit managers.
Well actually, yes, they do quit companies. Sure, you can ultimately blame company leadership but people quit companies when they don’t feel they have job security or when they don’t agree with corporate decisions. They quit companies when they feel restricted by red tape or when company communication is lacking.
Why do good people quit? Well there are lots of reasons why a company could be blamed for pushing someone out the door.
Reason #6, Lacking Capabilities.
Well, that doesn’t make sense! Aren’t we talking about why good people quit? I understand that’s why some people quit, but not your top employees, right?
Well, it’s called perfectionism… both the manager’s perfectionism and the employee’s.
Sometimes, regardless of high performance, good employees don’t feel like they are good enough or performing at a high enough level. They don’t think they are meeting their boss’s expectations or their own expectations and under the pressure, they quit.
Reason #7: It’s the Wrong Job
Yes. Sometimes that great employee is simply in the wrong job.Their interests, their passions, their goals… just don’t align with their current job, and although they are performing at a high level, it’s only a matter of time until they are enticed to a new opportunities or burn out because as performance grows, so does responsibility, and with responsibility comes challenges, and at some point, the challenges just aren’t that fun anymore when you aren’t passionate about what you do… I’ve been there.
Their interests, their passions, their goals… just don’t align with their current job. Although they are performing at a high level, it’s only a matter of time until they are enticed to a new opportunity or burn out because as performance grows, so does responsibility.
With responsibility comes challenges and at some point, the challenges just aren’t that fun anymore when you aren’t passionate about what you do… I’ve been there.
Wooh! There are 7 Reasons why good people quit.
Overwhelmed? Yeah… well, 70% of the workforce didn’t want to go to work today… so there are going to be a lot of reasons, or excuses, of why people quit (even if they are top performers).
So let’s continue steamrolling through this and move onto the strategies.
7 Strategies to Retain Your BEST Employees
Strategy #1 – Communicate Performance Incentives
We’re going to go back to the first reason why good people quit for a moment here – compensation. But I want to stress that this strategy doesn’t just refer to Money.
Here’s the core of this strategy:
How many times have you heard of someone quitting because they wanted something that they didn’t feel they could get at your company, or on your team, but… well… they actually could.
Or how many people have you known who have unrealistic expectations when it comes to compensation or promotions or awards… or any other incentive?
Don’t make assumptions like your employees should know the opportunities available to them. Don’t make assumptions like your employees actually know HOW to obtain those opportunities, and Don’t make judgments like, well, they SHOULD know these things.
Communicate, remind, review, discuss, coach, repeat. Your job as a manager is to lead, but your job as a leader is to not just point the way, but guide them along their journey.
Strategy #2 – Ask Good Questions… then Listen.
Alright, so if you are going to motivate and lead someone toward their goals, whether they are compensation related or not, you can only do that if you know what they want.
And you can only do that by getting to know your employees. By grabbing a coffee with them and being inquisitive. By being prepared with and equipped with intentional, pointing questions that you can ask your team members on a regular basis.
And by listening to those answers.
It’s simple. If you want to know what your employees want, ask them.
Strategy #3 – Build Quality Relationships.
If you haven’t registered for my free course yet, Fully Engaged in 10 Days, you should do that, because I go in depth on this one. But at the core of it, you need to do 3 things.
- You need to be authentic
- You need to be vulnerable and share stories
- You need to value your employees and listen.
Yes, this is absolutely aligned with strategy #2.
Strategy #4 – Celebrate
And no, I don’t mean throw a football around the office and have fun (although those can be nice things when appropriate).
I mean observe.
Slow down. Pay attention.
Great leaders know when to stop and appreciate the moment. They know when to stop and say thank you, when to take a break, and when to recognize a milestone.
Ambition is great, but sometimes it can be blinding when you are solely focused on one big goal. So enjoy the journey as much as the destination here… your employees will thank you.
Strategy #5 – What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)
Let’s go back to my employee who didn’t like my high fives.
Our conversation changed from being about insincere praise into a discussion about what she actually wanted to get out of her job. We talked about “significance” and what she wanted to achieve personally AND professionally.
This is the SINGLE biggest impact you can have on employee retention.
Find out what your employees want (through asking questions and building relationships), and then help them get what they want.
Turn EVERYTHING you do into an opportunity to push your employees one step closer to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Strategy #6 – Hire the right people.
Okay, no brainer here.
If you want to retain great people… hire the right people.
But it’s actually more than that. This strategy is about communicating expectations up front.
If you know why people quit (and we’ve talked about 7 reasons why), address those during the interview process.
I’ll use compensation here as the most obvious application: Anytime someone quits for more money, you’ve got to wonder what they through their earning potential was when they were hired, right?
And so I don’t mean show them the comp plan in the interview (although that’s not necessarily a bad idea), but talk to them about their compensation goals!
What do they want to achieve long term? If you can’t provide it… guess what? Wrong hire.
Strategy #7, Provide Training & Development
Strategy #7 really wraps things up well.
If you have executed on strategies 1-6, you can now confidently know that you have some great people, who are highly engaged and motivated… so invest in them!
Whether it’s through your coaching, formal training, conferences… make sure that you are helping your employees get better; helping them improve not just their weaknesses, but their strengths.
Invest time AND money into helping your top employees, your future leaders, your partners, your potential catalysts for change… help them reach their potential!
Well, there you have it. 7 Reasons Why Good People Quit and 7 Strategies to Retain Them
Again, I go way more in depth on these reasons and strategies during the webinar, so if there is still time, check out the webinar replay!
In Closing… let’s close this leadership development gap!
But I’m going to close with this, and I also introduced this on the webinar, but there is a big problem when it comes to leadership development. If you are a manager listening and you want to grow your career… and you are within, say, your first 5 years of management, you probably haven’t been given much leadership training.
Sure, you’ve been taught how to manage (hopefully).
Been taught how to submit reports, how to fill out a performance review, how to execute on your tasks and your team’s tasks, but you probably haven’t been show how to inspire change, how to constructively give feedback, how to graciously receive feedback, how to leverage an employee’s strengths to counteract their weaknesses, how to resolve conflict, how to motivate the unmotivated, how to discipline and correct underperformers or bad behavior, how to build a fully engaged, highly effective, incredibly successful team.
So, I’ve got an opportunity for you to take a look at. It’s called The Partnership.
Alright, that’s all for today, let me know if you have any questions!