Voluntary turnover is the number one factor influencing workforce planning needs according to the most recent AgCareers.com HR Review report. Industry employers cited voluntary turnover as most significant at 74.26%, well above things like retirements (38.61%) and recruitment difficulties (48.51%). It has always been a best practice to focus on retaining your A player employees, but it sounds like our industry human resource leaders are emphasizing the challenges they face there. Let’s dive into three common reasons good employees make the decision to leave their employer, along with potential safeguards to hopefully reduce departures.
1. Sanctioned incompetence.
When we keep someone who is unproductive and underperforming on a high performing team, we are rewarding (paying) for mediocre. Our A players can quickly become frustrated by the lack of results and dead weight, and they’ll begin looking elsewhere. Safeguard against this scenario by ensuring performance metrics are clearly outlined and measured, regardless of the role. This simple (but often surprisingly overlooked) action can serve to place accountability on the manager and team member, so performance and team dynamics can be addressed before good employees get fed up and leave.
2. The Grass looks Greener elsewhere.
There’s a lot wrapped up in perception here, because sometimes it’s true the grass is greener where there’s a shiny new role and company, and sometimes it’s not. Good employees know they have options they can explore, and if there’s a lot of stress or new challenges in their current role, they may begin to “just browse” around. Now, there are always going to be better salaries, better commutes, better etc., but there’s almost always a trade out as well. Safeguard against this scenario by trying to keep communications flowing in order to minimize that initial act of starting down the path of browsing new opportunities. It may be possible to reduce an employee’s stress by simply understanding their perspective, and ensuring they don’t feel isolated. No one has a crystal ball to predict the future, but when employees can’t see the whole picture, it can be easy to imagine all kinds of scenarios. Help them see their current struggles are temporary, and they may realize that the grass really is greener in your organization.
3. Lack of Praise and Recognition.
There’s lots of advice out there about the importance of positive reinforcement. Parenting experts say to try things like praising your child six times for every one time you say something negative……now I don’t know about you, but when I really paid attention to my dialogue with my kids, I found I was doing a lot worse than I thought with that ratio. It’s just more natural for us to hone in on what’s going wrong than what’s going right. It’s also all too easy to slip into taking good employees for granted. After all, they are the ones who dig in and do things because it’s the right thing to do, not because someone asked them. The safeguard for this one is to simply be intentional and continually look for ways you can show appreciation and recognition. Do your employees have a voice; are their ideas heard/considered?
There are countless other reasons good employees leave, but once you take a few moments to consider just a few, it could trigger more general awareness. There will still be those great employees that leave, but we can continue to live and learn through the use of good exit interviews. Check out why you need to do exit interviews in this AgCareers.com blog.