As an employer, managing retention is a key aspect of keeping your business running smoothly. Onboarding new employees is incredibly expensive, between hiring and training, and if a company is regularly losing its best employees, it’s unlikely that it will survive over the long term. If your company is losing the best employees within the organization, it’s a good idea to look at why, and consider what can be done to solve the problem.

These are some of the most common reasons that good employees leave bad – or neutral – companies.

Better Opportunities

Gen X and Baby Boomers tended to stay in the same industry, and sometimes the same job, for decades. Millennials often switch not just jobs, but careers, multiple times in their lives. Raised with a broader educational base and a more vibrant sense of the interconnectedness of the world, Millennial employees are often looking for a new opportunity.

They don’t necessarily define this just in terms of compensation or benefits, but in terms of making new connections, learning new skills, and progressing with the skills they have.

What should you do? If you can, help your employees travel to conferences and events where they can learn more about their field and improve their skills within the industry. If that isn’t feasible, at least make sure that the employees who are interested in moving up within the organization have the chance to improve their skills and develop their abilities.

Better Compensation

Sometimes employees do leave because they can get better pay somewhere else. Companies often have a fairly limited salary range they can offer, after all, and if a bigger company can pay more, it’s hard to keep the good employees from jumping ship.

What should you do? Look for non-salary based methods to improve overall compensation. Student loan debt forgiveness plans are incredibly helpful for most employees, as are flex time benefits and good, basic healthcare programs. Again, talking to your employees to find out what they’d value is beneficial, and will help companies succeed over time.

Bad Policies

Since retaining key employees is very critical thinking, companies need to make sure that their policies are not chasing away good employees. There is a rapid shift occurring, especially amongst Millennial workers, that is redefining good policies. While their elders wanted to know about retirement plans and health insurance, focusing primarily on compensation, Millennials are often more interested in flex time, work at home policies, and forgiving scheduling that allows for multiple jobs.

Companies that don’t respond proactively by creating policies that will attract and retain the youngest and most passionate employees are, over time, going to see their potential recruit pool shrink, and struggle to retain good employees.

What should you do? Regularly talk to your employees about the policies you have in place. If employees are raising issues, don’t let “Well, that’s the way we do it,” be a good enough answer. It may be the way that it has always been done, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good way to do it for your current set of employees. Many employers also fall back on “If we do it for you, we’ll need to do it for everyone.” If it helps the company retain key employees, it might very well be worth it.

Bad Management

For many employees, having a direct supervisor without a lot of talent for team management or people skills is a big reason to leave a company. After all, no matter how much you love a business, if you are frustrated every day by the process of simply trying to do your job, you aren’t going to be happy with that company over the long term.

Many habits can make a team leader into a bad manager. From micromanaging to a failure to set adequate goals and help the team meet them, managers can be one of the most destructive forces to morale in the entire business.

What should you do? To keep track of how managers are performing, companies should regularly talk to team members and find out how they feel about team leaders and managers. They will need to find ways to talk to team members that work with their specific company culture; not every employee will respond well to an anonymous survey.

Merely collecting information won’t be enough, however. Companies must also track that information and follow up on it. Bad managers need to be shown better team leader skills, managed out of the organization, or at the very least, moved to another position where they will not be affecting a team’s morale.

Keeping employees is more complex than it was just a few decades ago, but the innovation and passion of modern workers are well worth the effort that employers can put into the project.

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