Why good people leave - 3 tips for keeping good staff
In the past 20 years I’ve seen a lot of very good people leave their jobs. Excellent people, with a good work ethic. Solid team players, who are both loyal and trustworthy.
As you settle in at your desk for 2019 and start thinking about the exciting year ahead I'd like to share with you the number one reason why good people leave their jobs.
Care to take a guess?
The number one reason why good people leave their jobs, according to almost every study every conducted, is because of their relationship with their immediate manager. The quality of your relationship with your staff will have the biggest impact on their future at your organisation.
When underperformers leave, that's fine. No problem at all. Often people are simply not suited to the role. No matter how much time you spend trying to make it work, it just isn't going to happen. In my experience, it's probably better for all parties that they leave sooner, rather than later.
When good people leave your team it can very demoralising. You have every right to be upset.
Of course it will happen from time to time. In fact, some degree of turnover is a good thing. However, with some careful planning and through investing the right time and energy you can certainly reduce the chances of them leaving.
3 tips for keeping good staff:
1. Hire well. Recruit people who are aligned to your companies culture, your values and help strengthen your team. Never rush recruitment. Get actively involved in the recruitment process. Have a robust system for recruiting. Always be on the lookout for high quality people to join your team.
2. Continually work on your relationship. Listen to them, support them, help them in setting achievable goals. Ignoring them just doesn't work. Think positively about them. Talk positively about them. Praise them in public every chance you get. If they are struggling, find ways of supporting them. Make time for them. If you want the relationship to be successful you need to think, talk and act in that way. Be the best leader they have worked with by demonstrating real emotional intelligence. More than anything you have to want them to succeed. Let them know they have a future with you and set a clear and realistic path motivating them for the future.
3. Train and develop them. To keep high achievers you need to ensure that the work they are doing ticks three important boxes. Think of it like triangle. The work needs to be challenging; interesting and enjoyable. Keep a very close eye on this. Everybody eventually becomes demotivated if they keep doing the same repetitive tasks year in year out. As a leader, create an environment that encourages people to learn new skills; to take measured risks in their careers, to work outside their comfort zone. Percy Cerruty (Herb Elliot's) coach famously said "The only way a human being can grow is to work outside their comfort zone".
Everyone wants to feel valued and important:
From my experience, working with a broad range of clients over the past 20 years, the tipping point for good people leaving is when their leader stops investing time with them. This is very dangerous. As soon as someone feels they are not part of the solution or the longer term vison they start to feel demotivated. This can happen very quickly. They may still be physically at work, but really in essence, they are just being paid "appearance money". Everybody wants to feel they have a key role to play in shaping the company's future. Be very careful if you start placing your own needs and personal agenda ahead of your teams.
Too often I hear leaders saying that their people are not committed. They are struggling to get the job done. Be careful if you are using this language. This reflects badly on the leader. As a parent you know full well that if your children are playing up or underperforming you have to take some responsibility for that. As a coach of a sporting team if you're team are struggling you must take your share of responsibility. Blaming others is a sign of weakness.
Little things can make all the difference:
As the year unfolds, if you want to keep your current and future stars, maintain your focus on doing the little things right.
* Lots of 1-1's - You have to spend time with people to show them you care. 80% of life is in fact just showing up. Do not conduct endless overly formal performance appraisals. Be human. Chat about work and if appropriate non work related topics. Find common ground and build on it. Remember work is only one component of who they are.
* Be empathetic when the going gets tough, not sympathetic - Guide them through tough times
* Encourage them to generate ideas and listen closely to their ideas and suggestions
* Upskill them and set them fresh, realistic new challenges
* Sharpen up your own leadership skills and re-ignite your own motivation
More than anything treat them as mature responsible adults. Find the right balance that suits them between structure and space.
Don't try too hard to be someone that you are not. Be realistic. Work closely together to get the job done and celebrate your successes as you go.
No one ever said being a leader was going to be easy. People can be tricky.
Everybody you work with needs different things from you. If you really want to keep the good people on your team you have to put a plan in place. Just assuming they will stay is fraught with danger.