Steven has worked at the same consulting company for the past seven years. When he started, he was a single man out to prove that he deserved to be on the partner track at his firm. Over the course of the seven years, he got married, moved to a bigger house in the suburbs, and recently had his first child.
He’s never complained about his job or the money he made, but he’s noticing that things are starting to shift at the firm. The partners are nervous about their ability to grow business in the slowing economy and the pressure is mounting for Steven and his co-workers to do more in less time.
As the pressure to perform increased, the acknowledgment and appreciation he thought he deserved for all his extra effort decreased. The partner meetings, which once included those on the partner track, were no longer open to him because of the increased workload. He was not informed about the specific expectations he was to fulfill so he started to feel insecure in his role and question his long term prospects with the company.
How do you think this tale will end?
- He takes a better paying job elsewhere?
- He stays in his job, putting in extra hours and effort with a smile on his face?
- He stays in his job, putting in extra hours and effort complaining about it every step of the way?
- He leaves the company in a lateral move to work in a better environment?
Any of the above are certainly possibilities and every individual has to make the choices that are right for them, but I’m talking to business owners and the executive team. How would you feel if a solid performer left their job to make a lateral move for no more money? Are there people on your team who physically show up for work, but don’t bring their best selves to their role?
As business leaders, it’s easy to dismiss the issue of a good employee leaving as a money issue, but three of the top four reasons people leave jobs have nothing at all to do with money. Still, 62% of employers plan to increase compensation for their existing employee base and 32% will offer higher starting salaries for new employees, according to The Corporate Leadership Council, an association of human resource executives.
Save yourself some money and focus your efforts on making a positive impact to avoid the other three reasons people leave jobs.
According to a 2008 Harris Interactive survey which included more than 3,000 hiring managers and HR professionals in multiple industries and companies of varying size, people leave jobs for the following top four reasons:
- Don’t feel my employer values me.
- Employer doesn’t pay enough.
- My efforts are not recognized or appreciated.
- Not enough career advancement opportunities.
Before you throw more money at the problem, ask yourself and your management team what can be done to express appreciation and recognition of good efforts as well as results. Brainstorm ways that you can demonstrate evidence to your team that everyone is important and valued. Make sure everyone in every role is clear about the future opportunities that exist for them as they grow with the company.
Fortunately for Steven, and the company he has been loyal to for seven years, his manager put some effort into the three areas giving Steven good reason to stay.
Merit Gest is President and Founder of Merit-Based Development, a Denver based firm specializing in onboarding top talent. She is one of a small handful of specialists in the world certified and trained in both Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Transformation Tools, giving her a unique perspective for hiring, onboarding and retaining top talent.