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Why employees leave companies

June 3, 2010

Bad managers, lack of career choices, low compensation, not good benefits etc. Mostly the fault is in the companies and the managers when they are not able to hold on to employees. Specially true of you look at them as a resources that can be taken away from the company into another company for a seemingly better rewards. So companies have these engagement models and look at providing total rewards framework. However not always does the person who moves jobs gets the total reward that he is looking for or finds something else that is not pleasant in the new job.

While the above is true, there is also an underlying reason not talked about so often and this time the fault is with the employee. Fundamentally people leave jobs in hope. Hope for a resolution of existing set of problems. They move in to another job and face another set of problems. Sometimes on the wedding night and sometimes when the honeymooning is over. And then the search starts all over again till the time they find something manageable or their acceptance level of reality increases. This is similar to the death of romanticism in some arranged marriages when the dreams and reality don’t meet.

It is this hope of seeking happiness, of addressing problems, of a better financial situation, of exceeding the expectations of others from him. A search for meaning might also play a part in this hope.

Unless we realise this important facet of employee behaviour, our other efforts will only be partly successful. Since this differs from individual to individual systemic interventions can go only half the way. We need to spend more time with employees to understand their hopes, aspirations etc. and attempt to provide those opportunities in our companies.

Some companies have HR interventions where they try to make the managers spend non-work time with their teams. Often this is merely socialise for team building but some also attempt to get a hang of their pulse. Only when we do this can we be comprehensive in our understanding of why people leave jobs.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Praval Upadhyay permalink
    June 3, 2010 1:11 pm

    Dear Hasan;

    There is a complicated mix involved when a person takes a decision to part ways.

    There are a very few who like changes and would like to explore unchartered territory. Most individuals would prefer to stay with a known devil rather than trying to understand a new one.

    Hence, I would approach your point of view with caution.

    I also feel a critical point missed above is mostly employees leave when they feel they are not being treated fairly. Dissatisfaction sets in when an employee feels that he has not been adequetely rewarded for his efforts while another colleague gets a better deal. This might happen as the colleague might have a boss who is better negotiator and is able to bargain a better deal for his team.

    The affected employee would have valid facts to justify his point of view but there would be very few listeners to his cause. This makes him unwanted in the system. This is more true for bright and performing employees as they are inherently competitive also by nature and would not take any defeat lying down. Thus; the effect is more dangerous on organisations as they end up loosing good guys.

    The reason for such a situation is mostly lack of transparent reward system and lack of proper communication systems with in the organisation.

    An important aspect of handling such cases better is to have listening post with in the organisation where these employees can officially register their point of view and find a solution. A hollow listening post will not work. I strongly feel that such an employee will not exit without fighting for his cause and this ombudsman like structure can be really helpful in retaining talent.

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