|LB@keepingthepeople.com (913) 620-4645 http://www.keepingthepeople.com|
|E-Letter Volume 13 Spring Issue, 2008|
In this issue:
"Truth lives in the cellar; error on the doorstep."|
It hurts when good people break the news that they are moving on. It doesn't just take an emotional toll, but a financial one as well--customer service is disrupted, sales and customers may be lost, other employees are shocked and distracted, and now we have to take on the work of finding a replacement and getting the new person up to speed.
First of all, a few words about those of you who responded:
The need to keep in mind that these findings represent the perceptions of those who went to the trouble to find the website and complete the survey (supposedly because they were inherently interested in why employees leave and stay). So, what follows may not represent the views of your workforce. That said, here are the findings:
Root Causes of Your Decisions to Leave:
Respondents were asked to check from a list of 39 possible reasons for leaving (or write in) as many as five factors that first caused them to start thinking about leaving a previous job they eventually left voluntarily.
The contributing reasons for leaving that received the most "votes" were, in order:
We also asked, "What could your employer have done differently to cause you to change your mind and stay?"
The conclusion: 66% saw realistic chance that the situation could have been salvaged.
Did You Try to Improve Things?
The survey asked how employees "How did you chose to handle the situation before deciding to leave?" Here were those responses:
One survey comment worth noting:
"Any disagreement with management causes defensive reaction and retaliation; viewed as damaged goods."
The lesson here for managers: as many 35% of employees you may want to keep may be keeping silent about their concerns. It is up to you to initiate a dialogue with them.
Did You Stop Working As Hard?
The survey asked "To what extent did your thoughts of leaving your employer cause you to give less effort in your job?" Here were the answers:
The implication for managers from this statistic is that 71% of employees who have disengaged and are thinking of leaving are also likely to withhold effort in their jobs.
"How Long Were You Employed?" we received the following responses:
Observation: There were no clear conclusions to be made about this tenure data, other than the fact that employees are susceptible to departure at every phase of the employment life cycle.
How Long Before You Finally Left?
In response to the question "How long was it from the time you first started thinking about leaving until the time you actually left your employer?" we received the following responses:
Observation: As we can see, a vast majority--78% were gone within a year, and 93% had moved on within two years.
Were You Looking While Working?
We asked "Did you actively seek employment while still employed?"
Observation: Most of us would probably agree that employees who are actively seeking employment are giving that much less effort and enthusiasm to their current jobs. Were there subtle signals that their managers could have picked up on?
Did You Already Have a Job?
We also asked "When you left your employer, had you already accepted a job with another employer?"
Observations: Two-thirds of those had no doubt been taking their eye of the ball in their final days. Was anyone caring enough to notice? How unhappy do you have to be to quit without having another job, as the other third did?
Of that third who said "no" we asked "Did you have other sources of income to fall back on?"
Observation: Over half of those who left without jobs also were willing to risk doing so without having income to fall back on--revealing another degree of desperation to escape whatever may have been "pushing" them out.
Did You Tell the Whole Truth?
In response to the question, "When you announced you were leaving, did you tell the truth about why?"
Observation: Although 64% in the affirmative was somewhat more than I would have expected, I wonder what the percentage would have been if we had asked "Did you tell the whole truth?"
Some of the respondents comments were revealing:
"Mostly, but not completely"
"Not the whole truth"
"My manager was not interested in an exit interview, so I wrote a formal letter outlining my reasons."
The survey also asked respondents "When you announced you were leaving, how did your employer respond (check all that apply)?
Here were the most common reactions, listed in order:
Observation: When valued employees leave, many smart managers make it a point to say, "We'll be keeping a seat warm for you if you find out the grass isn't greener." And yet, only 8% of our respondents got this response from their managers. It pays to remember that one of our best future recruiting sources is our former employees.
There were a couple of interesting comments:
"Told me that things would be worse at my next employer - 20 years later he was wrong"
In response to our question, "What specifically, if anything, did your employer offer to do to keep you?" we received these responses:
Observation: It is generally not advisable to offer more pay as a last-ditch effort to keep a departing employee, yet almost 20% reported receiving such an offer. The better alternative: offer instead to change some other "push factor" that caused the employee to consider leaving in the first place. For more about this, go to: http://www.keepingthepeople.com/newsletter/vol-06-holiday-2005.html.
"Offered more responsibility and possible promotion"
"Did not try to keep me, although I was highest sales producer"
We asked respondents to write in their answers to this question: "What was the main thing that attracted you to your new employer?"
These were the themes with the largest number of write-ins:
"More money and bonus, but the challenges were primary attraction."
Not surprisingly, better opportunity (#1) and more pay (#4) figured prominently as attractions to new employers. These are the two reasons most departing employees give when companies conduct their own exit interviews. In these data we find at least partial support for the conventional wisdom that "people come for the pay and the opportunity, but they leave managers," except it seems that our respondents were just as likely to leave senior leaders as direct managers, if not more so.
Finally, the fact that desire for "new challenge and learning" beat out "pay" and "company reputation/culture" is significant. The lessons for managers--think twice before cutting training budgets, and never underestimate the power of learning and new skill acquisition to Generations X and Y. In these days when "long-term employment" no longer appears to be a realistic expectation, "long-term employability" via continuous learning and new challenge, has taken its place.
We asked respondents, "Please choose the one of the following that best describes your motivation to leave your organization." The choices and response rates were:
The final question was: "Looking back, do you feel you made the right decision?" to which:
In the Summer issue of Keeping the People Report, I will report on the results of our free "Manager/HR - Motivations for Employee Turnover" web survey (http://www.keepingthepeople.com/surveyStart.cfm), which has now been completed by 332 managers worldwide. We will compare and contrast their perceptions about why employees leave with the employees' perceptions we reported in this issue.
If you have questions about the survey results, please call or e-mail Leigh Branham.
The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It's Too Late, by Leigh Branham (AMACOM Books, 2005).
Keeping the People Who Keep You in Business: 24 Ways to Hang On to Your Most Valuable Talent, by Leigh Branham
To order either of these books click here.
Keeping the People, Inc. helps organizations link employer-of-choice strategies with business strategies, conduct third-party post-exit interviews and surveys, conduct engagement surveys with current employees, and provides the management coaching and training needed to implement those strategies.
Copyright, Keeping The People, Inc, 2008
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"Engaging & Retaining All Four Generations"... Call (913) 620-4645 Or send an e-mail to: LB@keepingthepeople.com Web site: www.keepingthepeople.com
Copyright, Keeping the People, Inc. 2005. Keeping the People Report is written and edited by Leigh Branham.