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Attracting, and retaining, great employees is one of the most important pieces of the corporate success puzzle, and a true understanding of why people quit their jobs is essential knowledge for effective management. The hiring process is time consuming and can oftentimes be an onerous experience, even with assistance from employment agencies. And from the potential employee’s side of things, the job search process is never one that would be described as fun. Also creating a different relationship dynamic in today’s job market, is the proliferation of work from home positions, and the many companies that offer that option to their employees.


According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, the generally accepted, and long-standing, top reasons for attrition are a dislike for one’s boss, the belief that there is no real opportunity for professional advancement, and finally, when a better opportunity is offered elsewhere. And Inc. magazine takes it a step further in their article outlining why the best employees leave. Their findings show that bad bosses are the main culprit when it comes to attrition, but they also have found some simple changes that can be made in order to ensure that a firm’s top team members are happy and thus less likely to move on. Simply put, top performers are most satisfied when their work is valued, they are challenged, and the firm and their role within it is centered around a strong sense of clarity. An organization with excessive, and unnecessary bureaucracy, and a lack of trust between management and staff, are two examples of models that do not achieve favorable attrition rates.


A common issue amongst the most competent of staff members, is being overloaded. Everyone understands that their is a natural ebb and flow for work loads, and being overburdened during intense projects or times of year. But stellar employees are often “rewarded” for their high level of quality output with more work. If a great team member sees that incompetent peers are consistently given less work and fewer responsibilities, their patience may soon grow thin. One way of combating losing employees in this situation, is to ensure that they are compensated for their extra efforts through both promotions and salary increases. Bosses that pile the work on their best employees without recognition will have a very difficult time keeping a competent team in their department.


In continuation of that point, research shows that many times it is people quitting their bosses, rather than their jobs. According to a Gallup poll that surveyed over one million workers that are currently employed in the United States, the most prevalent reason people gave for leaving a position is an unfavorable environment created by their supervisor or boss, and dissatisfaction with how they are treated.  When people see their boss as an ally, see them as someone that has a clear vision for their success, and a proven leader, they are more likely to have higher job satisfaction, and thus be more likely to remain in their position. Bosses that are respectful of their employees’ personal lives, and understand that they do have a life outside of the office, are also more likely to keep good employees on their teams. This philosophy needs to be more than lip-service to be effective. It’s all about leading and keeping your employees and staff inspired.


In order to create an environment that fosters employee longevity, management must be aware of how their employees are treated by their direct supervisors and the company at large. By creating an atmosphere that is supportive and recognizes the contributions of all of their staff members, companies will be much farther ahead in terms of employee retention and satisfaction. It is not surprising that team members believe that they deserve to be recognized, valued, and fairly compensated for all of their efforts. Employee perks also go a long way. By integrating these principles, successful managers will make strides in retention of their best employees and motivate others to strive for excellence.


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