Owning or managing a business with any number of employees is not always an easy task, especially when you regard how easily employees can jump ship for other positions or a higher income. Yet, on the other end of the scale, I have encountered various businesses where the majority of the team has been working at the company for a number of years. This got me thinking: What makes your employees stay for the long run, and what makes them leave?
To start the investigation, let first look at the main reasons why employees would, in fact, leave a company.
- Relationship with superiors at work: Very little explanation needed here. A strained relationship with a manager / director or owner is one of the largest reasons why employees leave.
- Bored and unchallenged by the work itself: I have been guilty of this one myself. Getting bored at work creates a feeling of not being fulfilled professionally. Any job looking more interesting will seem appealing to this person.
- Relationships with co-workers: Good, healthy relationships between staff is a major factor of overall satisfaction at work. I contrast, strained relationships will create feelings of resentment at the workplace in general.
- Opportunities to use skills and abilities: This point relates to point #2. Lack of opportunity to use skills, leads to boredom at work.
- Contribution of work to the organization’s business goals: By not involving an employee in the larger goals of a company makes the employee feel less valued and acknowledged.
- Autonomy and independence: Think of that evil word “micro-management”… By constantly monitoring and checking on employees, and not allowing them to use initiative, they would feel you do not trust them enough to get the job done.
- Meaningfulness of job: Relates to point #5. If the employee feels his/her work carries little value, they would most probably feel that their contribution carries no weight.
- Organization’s financial stability: Simply put: If a company does not have a healthy financial status, the chance is there that employees will get salary cuts or be retrenched. The only solution is to look for a different job.
- Overall corporate culture: It might not necessarily mean you have a bad corporate culture – it only means the employee does not fit into your company’s corporate culture. Since an employee spends many hours at work, this is an important deciding factor.
- Management’s recognition of employee job performance: Not giving credit when credit is due makes employees feel undervalued. See point #7 and point #5.
Reading through this list might bring out facts we already know, but we do not always act upon it as we pull up our shoulders and think, “Oh well, somebody better will come along”. WRONG. There are ways you can retain your employees by making them feel more valued.
Being an employee myself, albeit a manager, I have worked for various employers and I have left some companies for some of the reasons stated above. The single most important aspect I have missed at some of my previous employers is training – be it in-house or the opportunity to go for formal training at an external institution.
Richard Branson was right when he said: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.” While many people would argue and say some employees would leave regardless of the amount of effort you put in to develop their skills, I believe he was referring to employees in general, where this approach will in many cases be successful.
“The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.” Yet another quote by Mr Branson. By valuing your employees enough to invest time and money into their development, they will feel more important and that will reflect in their quality of work (yet again, taken in overall scope – of course some individuals will continue to be an issue).
Benefits of training your employees not only induces a more positive culture in the office, but can also benefit the company as a whole. Regular training and learning opportunities are an investment that helps employees to prosper and develop their careers while giving your business a highly skilled workforce and a competitive advantage.
Staff turnover and recruitment
Staff who receive ongoing training are more likely to commit to their employers business because:
- completion of the training develops their careers
- training enables employees to take on greater responsibility and, possibly, later do higher paid work at your company.
Studies reveal that organisations with lower staff turnover spend the most on training and education. Minimising staff turnover will benefit your organisation. Replacing staff is a costly process, not only for recruitment costs, but also because valuable skills are lost in the process.
Increase workforce flexibility
Training increases the skills set of your workforce enabling your staff to engage in a wider range of tasks and responsibilities. Greater confidence and motivation leads staff to become less reliant on management for supervision. The benefits of trained staff have been shown to flow through to customers who become more satisfied with the improved level of and services provided. Richard Branson was correct on that one!
Improved staff attitude and morale
People enjoy learning when the material is relevant to their interests and many will be eager to apply their new skills and knowledge in practical situations, i.e. the workplace. Staff who possess developed skills are generally more satisfied and positive in their jobs. By investing in staff training, staff would often feel that:
- their employer has confidence in them to do the job
- the company values them by giving something back other than their salaries.
As a result, employees will become self-motivated and develop further competencies such as leadership and working more effectively as a team.
While this article does not address issues such as salary disputes and other common problems, employee training plays a large role in development and retention.
We recommend to speak to our specialist training branch, view their website by visiting www.prefsoltraining.co.za