Your Best Employees Are About To Quit. Here’s how to retain them!
I’m going to share some urgent bad news with you.
Your best employees are about to quit!
January is the most popular month for job changes. Which means that you may be one of the lucky managers who will welcome the new year on the receiving end of a resignation letter.
You: “Hey, how were your holidays?”
Employee: “Uh, good… good… family time and all that, how were your holidays?”
You: “Yeah, same, it was a nice break… but I’m recharged now and ready to go!”
Employee: “yeah… about that, um…”
(Happy New Year!)
Fast Company Magazine actually suggests that nearly half of workers globally could leave their jobs in 2017. Look around your office. Half.
Maybe it’s inevitable.
In fact, your business would be running very poorly if your leadership team assumed that people wouldn’t quit. Attrition is normal and sometimes a very good thing, regardless of whether the manager or the employee makes the decision.
But the real scary question isn’t whether or not one of your employees will quit. The keep-you-up-at-night question is actually, WHO is going to quit?
A recent article by Time Magazine claims that 2017 is going to be the best job market in years! The reason? According to Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor (quoted in the Time Magazine article), this is because of the abundance of options in the market and the likelihood of job hoppers earning a 10-20% pay increase.
Here’s the thing. Sure, there are lots of job opportunities out there, but who is going to fill them? The simple answer is, the most qualified candidates will fill them.
But who are these candidates?
I spent over 8 years working in a professional recruiting & consulting firm where I helped hundreds of companies hire people. People within manufacturing & logistics, oil & gas, engineering, insurance, architecture, fortune 100 companies, small businesses, etc.
Let me share something with you that you probably don’t want to hear (but you already know). Some of the best placements, and certainly the majority of placements I made… were with candidates who already had good jobs.
I not only helped companies hire people, but I helped great employees quit their good jobs to pursue better opportunities.
This even remained true in the middle of the economic challenges that have plagued the oil & gas industry over the past few years. Thousands of people laid off, but I was hiring people who already had jobs.
So what does this all mean?
It means that regardless of the economic conditions in your market and in your industry, it’s your best employees that you need to be concerned about losing… because they are the most qualified and most sought after candidates in the market.
And that’s only ONE reason why your best employees will quit this year.
So what do you do about it? Well for starters, you need to be aware of what’s going on.
You need to understand how your employees are thinking and you need to understand why people quit their jobs. Without understanding why this may happen, any strategy you try to implement will be based on assumptions; you’ll be taking a shot in the dark.
That’s why I’m hosting this free live masterclass on January 18th and 19th, 7 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Will Quit This Year, and 7 Strategies to Retain Top Talent and Achieve Your Goals.
Regardless of the fact that I made a living off of luring great employees away from their, often poor, managers… I now spend all my time helping managers lead more effective teams.
I mentioned a second ago that many of the professionals who I’ve helped my clients hire resigned from jobs working for poor managers. I didn’t say they left terrible, uncaring, self-absorbed, cruel managers (although I’m sure some of them did).
So, I’m not hosting this free webinar to help those kinds of managers manipulate their employees into staying. I want to help you: the leader who truly cares. I want to help you uncover opportunities to increase the engagement and performance from your employees.
And at the end of the day, I want to help you achieve your own career goals, which you can only accomplish by executing on your primary job function as a manager – delivering results.
So I’d like to invite you to join me on this live event for free.
Just click the image below to pick a time that works for you and register.
For an added bonus, I’m also giving away a free copy of my mini ebook, The Inquisitive Manager: 10 Questions That Will Make You A Better Leader, Instantly, just for showing up!
But I’m not going to leave you hanging here either.
January 18th isn’t very far away, but I want to give you a few things that you can do RIGHT NOW to ensure that your team starts off 2017 on fire!
3 Steps to Keep Your Best Employees from quitting
First of all, everything I’m about to share is included in the free management course, Fully Engaged: Three Critical Components to Increasing Employee Engagement on Your Team. You can register for this course right now and on the next business day you will begin to receive 10 emails with 10 video lessons over 10 business days which will walk you through developing quality relationships, setting goals, and building team expectations.
The Number One Reason Why Your Best Employees May Quit
Regardless of any statistic you may find, great employees quit jobs because they don’t believe that their current job, position, company or boss will take them where they want to go in their career.
This is significant but it’s also extremely easy to remedy.
But you might be thinking, well who says that every employee leaves their job because of ambition?
I didn’t say that.
I said that employees who quit don’t believe they will get where they want to go in their career. Sometimes where they want to go is… nowhere. I don’t mean to make that sound negative, but we need to recognize that career means different things to different people.
There are some great employees who consider getting out of work on time (consistently) to be the single most important achievement. For others it’s money. For some, it’s position and power. For some, it’s social recognition. For others, and maybe this sounds crazy, it’s about seeing a smile on their customer’s face… or their boss’ face.
But this is true for the majority of instances where an employee quits his or her job. Each and every employee believes that their current situation will NOT allow them to achieve whatever it is that they deem important.
Let’s talk about the solution.
As I said earlier. It’s actually really easy.
Ask your employees what they want. Literally.
This does take a little time and intentional relationship building, but the insights you will gain are critical to leading an effective team… not to mention retaining your best employees.
I’ve already mentioned that my free management course goes in depth on this subject, but I ‘m going to break it down this way.
Step 1: Develop quality relationships
Before you can even consider increasing employee engagement, retaining top talent or helping your employees accomplish great things, you need to spend some time building and developing quality relationships.
This means first and foremost performing some kind of self-evaluation. Are you trustworthy? Are you a credible leader? Do your employees believe that you have the experience and expertise to help them overcome challenges? Now, I’m not questioning whether you are qualified to lead your team but I am asking if your employees believe that you are qualified.
Regardless of where you land here, you can increase your credibility and loyalty by sharing personal information and helping your employees get to know you. When you are coaching your team members, use real stories to showcase similar situations you have experienced. When you have one-on-one opportunities, talk about your career. Be vulnerable and allow your direct reports an opportunity to get to know you and learn about who you are.
Secondly, and potentially more importantly, listen and serve. Be inquisitive. Ask questions and learn who your employees are. Listen to the information they give you and uncover opportunities to serve them. How many employees can honestly say that their manager makes their job easier? But what if you actually did that for your employees?
That’s how to develop a quality relationship.
Step 2: Learn how to set goals (and teach your team)
After reading the following stat, I can confidently say that you are probably not very good at goal setting. And if you are anything like I was (and often still am), you also don’t like goal setting. Why? Because it doesn’t work… or does it?
Here’s the stat I read:
Only 3% of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals, and by every statistic, they accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all. (http://www.briantracy.com/blog/general/setting-goals-and-objectives-5-myths/)
Let that sink in for a moment.
I was part of the 97% for way too long. I hated setting goals because I never accomplished anything. Circumstances would change, interests would change, distractions would come, and my willpower wasn’t very reliable.
But the second part of that statistic… “TEN TIMES AS MUCH”. That means that you could accomplish ten times as much this year as previous you or the current you. Doesn’t that sound crazy? But let’s take it one step further. This also means that if your team sets SMART Goals (we’ll break that down in a moment), they will accomplish ten times as much as other teams.
So how do you set and accomplish goals?
First of all, you need to set SMART goals. Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. You need goals that are clear, you need to have a way to know when you actually accomplish them, they need to be realistic, they need to align with your priorities and your day-to-day responsibilities and lifestyle, and there needs to be a sense of urgency.
Next, you need to write your goals down and make them visible. It’s not enough to just write down your goals on your business plan. Your goals need to be visible… everywhere. They need to be on your desk, on your whiteboard, on your door, written on the bathroom mirror at home, hung on the wall.
And finally, you need to review them regularly. If you want to actually accomplish your goals, you need to be intentional about reviewing your goals every day. Whether that’s during your daily prep, during a team meeting or right after you return from lunch. It doesn’t matter, as well as you are reminding yourself of what your goals are. Every day.
But that’s not good enough. You need to ensure that two additional things happen.
Please don’t miss these points.
1. Make sure that you set both personal AND professional goals so that performance in your current role will impact the achievement of your personal goals.
2. Then teach your team to do the same thing, which is going to be the most impactful recommendation I have for you today. (What did I say was the number one reason why employees quit?)
Step 3: Build Team Identity
What does your team stand for?
What does it mean to be part of your team?
What is the cost of non-conformance?
We’re talking about team identity right now, but maybe you have some concerns about that third question.
“Non-conformance? I thought we were talking about employee engagement and employee retention!”
Well defined, communicated and enforced consequences contribute to employee engagement and therefore employee retention.
Picture a fully engaged, high-performance team. Imagine a group of employees who walk into work every day, fired up to be there. Think about a team that has a clear identity, a clear purpose. Think about the ideal team that you want to be leading.
Now imagine that one employee doesn’t meet standards or doesn’t “conform”. What do you think would happen to that team if you, as the manager, or even if the other employees were to let that counter-culture behavior go without consequence?
Well, one bad apple can dilute the message or dilute the identity. It doesn’t mean as much to be on the best team when top performance isn’t a minimum expectation.
So there need to be consequences for non-conformance. If you want engaged employees; if you want to retain your best employees then you need to build a team identity that they will be proud to associate with.
As the manager, it’s your responsibility to establish team expectations and set the bar. Sound a little like a dictatorship? Well, if you close your office door for a couple hours and walk out with a rule list then that’s exactly how you’ll be perceived.
This may surprise you. Setting team expectations can be a motivating experience for your employees. It’s called collaboration. Your direct reports crave this.
So, book the boardroom for a couple hours, gather your employees together and start to talk about the kind of team they want to be a part of. Craft a team vision, build out your team identity, set some team expectations and agree upon the cost of non-conformance.
So where do you stand now?
Let’s recap for a minute.
We’ve determined that there is a good chance some of your best employees are thinking about quitting their job this year. In fact, odds are that if they leave, they’ll make the decision in January.
We’ve also determined that the number one reason people quit their job is because they don’t believe that their current job, position, company or manager will help them get to where they want to go.
But you now have a response. Three steps.
- Develop a quality relationship – You are intentional about getting to know your employees and allowing your employees to get to know you. You are increasing your perceived credibility through sharing personal information and you are building loyalty through listening and serving.
- Learn how to set goals (and teach your team) – You are crafting SMART goals and coaching your employees to identify personal goals and integrate those goals into their performance at work. Which means that high performance in their job will result in great accomplishments outside of work… which is a pretty good reason to come into the office each day, right?
- Build Team Identity – You are collaborating with your team to create expectations that will foster a culture that they can be proud to identify and associate with.
So remind me, why are your best employees going to quit?
It couldn’t be because they don’t believe that working for you, for your company, won’t take them where they want to go. It couldn’t be that.
When you follow these steps:
- Your employees trust you.
- Your employees clearly understand how performance in their role can create new and exciting opportunities for them personally and professionally.
- Your employees also resonate with your team vision and feel like they are part of something special.
Although the number one reason why your best employees may quit is because they don’t believe that their current job will take them where they want to go…
It’s not the only reason.
So register today for the free live masterclass: