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Don't let me go: Why good employees leave

  • Published at 05:21 pm December 6th, 2017
Don't let me go: Why good employees leave
As the corporate cultures in the country continue to evolve, companies are watching their employees with concern. Even with the job market the way it is, turnover rates are on the up, and it’s less and less likely to come across people who choose to stay with a single company for life. Even the “good” employees – the loyal, hard-working, and passionate ones are likely to disengage as their interest in their job dissipates with time. Michael Kibler, who has spent much of his career studying this phenomenon, refers to it as brownout. Like candles guttering out, even top employees slowly lose their fire for their jobs. “Brownout is different from burnout because workers afflicted by it are not in obvious crisis,” Kibler says. “They seem to be performing fine: putting in massive hours, grinding out work while contributing to teams, and saying all the right things in meetings. However, they are operating in a silent state of continual overwhelm, and the predictable consequence is disengagement.” The good news is, this situation is avoidable, and it doesn’t necessarily involve tons of money, but rather, a change in managerial strategy. Here are five surprising reasons why good employees leave.

No growth

In this day and age of instant gratification, when patience is passé and everything is on demand all the time, employees are less inclined to wait for that promotion or opportunity for career advancement. If at any point the workers feel like they have hit the ceiling at the current job, you can be sure they’re looking for the next place to start. Creating a dynamic structure, or providing concrete motivation, not just in terms of salary, but also by making the good employees stakeholders in the big picture can actually convince them to stay on.

Tolerance for poor performances

If you’ve ever had to do a group project in school or university, you know that the success of the project usually depends on that one person who actually does all the work while the rest of the team disappears. And if you’re that one person carrying the load, you must remember the loathing you felt towards the slackers. The same case applies at work. If there are person(s) who are not applying their best to the job, or holding up the process, the pressure to meet deadlines and carry the project through falls on the top talent. Over time, this leads to burnout and resentment and the workplace environment becomes very toxic. Managers who wish to retain their star performers must absolutely address personal issues head on.

Lack of appreciation

Believe it or not, a hefty pay-check won’t always guarantee staying power. The person doing the grind, putting in the hours needs to feel like his/her work matters, and is noticed by the big brass. Labour Relations scholar and author of How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love and CEO of Purpose Meets Execution, Louis Efron talks about the power of “intrinsic motivation”, and that it may often trump the outside incentives, such as pay-check and punishment. Companies that recognise a job well done, and show appreciation for hard work are more likely to inspire corporate loyalty than companies that don’t.

No empathy

Let’s face it. Life in Dhaka is hard. There is always some exigency looming around the corner, and sometimes even the best worker falls short, or needs time off. This is where it’s tantamount for the managers to be present and available to listen. And sometimes, when there is a problem with the existing system within the workplace, the worker may have a valuable suggestion for improvement. Showing them that there is scope for their concerns and suggestions to be heard and taken into account goes a long way. This is not to say that the bosses need to be involved in the minutiae of their employees’ lives; but a certain amount of empathy is definitely necessary.

No fun

This one’s frustrating, but true, and increasingly important. When the work is repetitive, there is a high chance of boring the best employees into jobs somewhere else. For businesses, this means that attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent depends on reinventing their work environments, blurring the line between work and play. The workplace culture needs to incorporate opportunities for autonomy and innovation, in order to keep up the feel-good factor. Thankfully, companies in Dhaka are waking up to this, and workplace cultures are relaxing slowly, and several offices have even incorporated an element of fun into their workplace design. Ultimately, the thing to remember is that people don’t leave jobs; they leave their managers. So if your company is bleeding talent, maybe it’s time to shake the structure.