Your Employees Are Leaving

It happened again. One of your star performers is leaving and you had no idea he was even looking!  He’s been with you for several years. You’ve watched as he’s been promoted through the company.  He’s been involved in some key projects over the years and you’ve invested in outside training to enhance his skills. But now he’s gone…Just like that! What happened?

This scene is becoming increasingly common. Far more common than in the past. The thing is…we don’t think it will happen in our company. But it will, if it hasn’t already.

You’ve probably heard that unemployment is very low these days. You know it is incredibly difficult to find good talent, let alone great talent. The best employees are already working. Many are working in your company. So WHY are they leaving?

All employees have different perspectives about the desire to leave their current employers. According to LinkedIn’s Talent Trends 2014, only about fifteen percent of your employees have no desire to work somewhere other than where they are working today. Only 15%! That means that everyone else might leave. But not all employees are actively looking. That number is roughly 25% as well. That means that the remaining 60% of your employees are not actively looking, but still might leave. A percentage of that group hasn’t even thought about leaving, but if given the right circumstance, they would consider it.

Why would they consider it? Well…think about it.

If you are struggling to recruit highly skilled and talented employees, do you engage a recruiter to help you with the search? Many companies are. Many who never considered it before are now reaching out for help to find the right people. Paying the price to find talent. How do you think these recruiters find those great people? As we said before, the best talent is already working, so someone has to seek them out and plant the seed of better opportunity.

So how do you keep your talented workforce?

Everyone is busy. We are doing more with fewer people. As a result we end up focusing on tasks and activities just to keep our heads above water. There are things that just don’t get done. One of the many responsibilities tends to be giving individual attention to employees. Not just sending individual emails or discussing tasks and upcoming projects. Personal attention.

You might ask, “Why does this matter?” As humans, we have many needs and desires. As our lives evolve, these needs and desires shift. What was once interesting can become uninteresting. What was once challenging becomes less of a challenge. What once inspired them is no longer inspiring. Unless we are having frequent conversations with our employees, we can miss these changes in desires, allowing someone else to attract our best and brightest.

Let’s be realistic. We’re not talking about badgering employees on a daily or weekly basis. What we are suggesting is having routine discussions with individuals about how they see their career progressing. Are you asking about their aspirations? How we you help make their future come true? What barriers do they face and how can you help remove them? Maybe you only do this once a year at review time. And if you are, you are doing more than most.

This sounds easy and you may think that the leaders in your company are already having these discussions. But are they really? They were trained to have these conversations. They were told to have these conversations. But they are busy. They have good intentions of having these discussions.  But are they?

Are you? Are you discussing goals and challenges with the individuals on your leadership team routinely? Modeling and discussing your expectations of them to do the same goes a long way. Maybe they need some development in this area of coaching.

“But I don’t have time!” Well, here’s the reality. If you don’t make the time to have these important conversations, the consequence may be that you end up using that time instead to recruit and train the person who replaces your talented former employee.

Your company already consists of some amazing people. Extraordinary people. And 85% of them could leave you at any time. Don’t risk losing them because you didn’t make the time.

Are your employees leaving? Maybe it is time to find the time to meet with your employees.

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