No company wants to have a reputation for having unhappy employees. Yet it’s not that rare: According to a labor market study by Robert Half, 35% of office professionals surveyed say they are dissatisfied. To prevent termination, employers must evaluate the exact reasons for dissatisfaction and take effective countermeasures in good time. Robert Half personnel expert Jennifer Hartmann reveals how best to do this:
The reasons for dissatisfaction among employees are often home-made
Actually, you were about to go over planning for the next quarter with your top employee – when he informs you that he is quitting. And you are blindsided. When a valuable employee leaves, supervisors often wonder:
Could I have prevented this termination?
Of course, private reasons or a desire for change can never be ruled out – but most of the time, the reasons why employees quit lie within the company itself.
Why employees turn their backs on their employer of their own accord, knows Jennifer Hartmann, associate director at Robert Half. And it provides tips on how to prevent good people from leaving.
Because losing good people hurts not only professionally, but also financially. Finally, every change of personnel costs time and money – all the more important are measures for employee retention.
Jennifer, why do employees quit their jobs on their own initiative??
Jennifer Hartmann: In fact, supervisors often have to hold their own noses when it comes to this: Lack of appreciation by the boss Is one of the main reasons why employees leave.
Anyone who performs well day after day, but is not even worth a simple "thank you" to the superior, is frustrated at some point. People who feel unappreciated often complain about Lack of promotion opportunities And resign as soon as he sees the next rung on the career ladder within reach elsewhere.
Not to be neglected are also the topics Stress, overwork and – interestingly enough – also underperformance on the job. Especially today, in times of digitalization and strong digital change, the resilience of employees is put to the test.
If the pressure is not sufficiently absorbed, permanent stress and overwork are usually reasons for termination.
According to this, these are all reasons over which you as an employer have direct influence?
Jennifer Hartmann: These are in any case the crucial, yes. Of course, there are also reasons for termination that – at least at first glance – lie outside the employee’s own sphere of responsibility: If, for example, a Competitor lures the employee with an irresistible offer and the employee lets himself be lured away.
But even then, employers should ask themselves:
Why did we not see the value of the employee and improve accordingly??
A salary that is too low contributes decisively to the fact that good employees become unfaithful to their previous employer when they are offered a job.
An employee seems satisfied, everything is apparently top – and yet he suddenly quits. Do you know this phenomenon?
Jennifer HartmannYes, these are often the very reasons why customers come to us and request temporary staffing. If everything seems to be fine, but the next moment the employee is fired, there is usually only one conclusion to be drawn from this: That there was a good reason for the employee to leave the company.
That’s when supervisors often have Problem with perception. You may be very busy yourself and have no time to pay attention to the concerns of your employees – which is of course unfavorable and should not be a permanent condition.
Or they consciously or unconsciously close their eyes, according to the motto: It won’t be so bad. There are usually clear warning signals for dissatisfaction with employees.
What are the warning signals that should set off alarm bells??
Jennifer Hartmann: For example, it’s relatively easy to tell when an employee is feeling overworked or stressed: He or she is having then calls in sick more often, especially directly before and after weekends. Body language is also an important indicator of whether an employee is upbeat, committed and motivated in his or her work, or whether he or she is constantly brooding and seems crushed by the workload.
In addition, there are employees who have already resigned due to dissatisfaction. You don’t care about anything – you don’t get involved in meetings, don’t make constructive suggestions and don’t participate in team events anymore.
You should also pay attention to Signs that indicate employees are actively preparing to change jobsHe or she takes a single day of vacation every now and then – possibly to introduce himself or herself elsewhere? -, dodges when you want to discuss longer-term projects – or demands an interim report card. At the latest this is a hint with the fence post.
How can you prevent the dismissal in these cases??
Jennifer HartmannFirst of all you should Observe conspicuous behavior and take notes. Also collect facts and indications, such as the sick days of the last time. But that is only one side of the coin. You should also Critically question themselves:
What have you done or failed to do as an employer to get to the point where the employee is unhappy??
Then you make an appointment to talk to the employee. In the so-called Talk about staying You should then express your suspicions quite openly and ask him whether he is actually thinking about quitting.
If this is the case, the next step is to find out why. Ask your employee to be open here as well – and mean it: You should be prepared for criticism, even personal, and respond constructively.
Because that’s what it’s all about: You want to prevent the termination and keep the employee. If his plans to change jobs are not too far advanced, you have a good chance of turning things around if you take the right measures.
And what concrete measures are effective when you want to retain employees?
Jennifer HartmannThis always depends on the individual case. Basically, of course, you have to offer something and thus a Take a step towards the employee. If you have listened well in the stay interview, you will know what is on the employee’s mind.
What is he missing in his job, what are his goals, what is bothering him??
Employee retention often works through small things and doesn’t even have to be a big cost factor. Appreciation and motivation by you as a supervisor does not cost any money, but is extremely valuable and can significantly improve the employee’s attitude.
Other example: The employee is Work-life balance lost, he feels permanently overworked. Perhaps it can already help to spare him the travel times to the office on one or two days in the week and to approve home office. Or you increase your team with qualified temporary workers to provide relief.
Of course you should also consider Desire for more salary or more exciting tasks Have an open ear and check sympathetically to what extent you can respond to it.
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