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Why Employees Leave – It’s Not Always About A Bad Boss

Why Employees Leave – It’s Not Always About A Bad Boss

We have always heard, “An employee never leaves the company, he leaves the boss.”

This might be true in most cases, but not always. It’s not always the boss, there could be a lot of other reasons.  Modern day work culture dynamics are constantly shifting. Employees, nowadays, have one thing or another that they are looking at when they have their ideal workplace in their minds.

As a matter of fact, everyone has a separate set of preferences apart from the position they are applying for in a company. And sometimes these hygiene factors make a lot of difference when people pick their next jobs.

Here is where Employer Branding comes into play- when a company showcases what, apart from work, it can offer an employee. A good example for employer branding would be Google. Many of us are attracted towards the company because of the perks being offered. Be it casual dressing, or having sports and games to play during office hours or sit on bean bags and work and nap pods (as shown in ‘The Internship’).

It’s no secret that companies today spend a lot of time in turning their office premises into a “Cool” place to work. I mean if we look back just a generation, our parents are still going to offices which are “typical.” – soulless cubicles with no privacy or personality.

My own workplace has bar stools, bean bags, and some fancy-looking chairs and tables for aesthetics.

Employees, today, leave an organisation for a lot of reasons – having a bad boss is just one of them (bad being a subjective term). Today, people obviously look for good work that adds value to them and gives them constant growth and learning opportunities. Unlike earlier times, when all anyone cared about was a steady paycheck.

And, the other side of the coin, their leaving shouldn’t be seen as a negative sign. The company and the individual have come together for a purpose and it’s a two-way street. Rather than pestering the employee to stay, probe what was that one pain point they felt so much so that they needed to part ways with their current company. What was that one incidence that made them take the step they took? It could be anything – as vivid as not getting enough challenges to the most common of them all, salary issues. My experience of 2.5 years in the HR industry has given me a few insights into employee attrition.

They Are Not Aligned With The Vision And Mission

They don’t have that same sense of belonging towards the company that they did before. They are not able to see their goals merging with the goals of the company. So, basically, what they want to achieve in their career is different from what the company is trying to achieve. Since they can’t walk together they feel it’s better to part their ways.

This can be solved when you sense disinterest in the employee and then HR should jump into the situation and ask about their personal goals of that and if there are any roles in the company where they are better-suited. At least, startups can do that, as one person wears multiple hats.

They Are Not Satisfied At Their Current Position

It often happens that sometimes when an employee is hired for a particular position, in times of firefighting they might be arbitrarily shifted to a newer role (HR to Marketing etc.), something they can manage for a short period of time. And that too, only some employees.

In such cases, if the company wants to retain this employee who is excellent in their current position, it should be very clear to communicate this while hiring someone and should also look at the flexibility, i.e. if the person can work in a cross-functioning capacity.

Their Job Is Not Challenging Enough

Today, people are not looking for easy jobs. They want challenges. Yes, some of you might think if they want challenges they should get into adventure sports. But, in my opinion, there has to be something challenging, interesting, and engaging in their role that makes the employee look forward to in order to come to work every day.

Also, the employee must feel that whatever she/he is doing is not prosthetic but adding real value to the organisation.

They Are Not Motivated

This is one of the more difficult things to figure out. For each one of us, motivation is different. Someone will feel motivated when they are paid well, for others, it might be having a managerial position/leading a team. For some, it might be appreciation both in cash and kind, some might need a kickass job profile. So,  this is the most difficult part to figure out – for both employee and employer, and finally to come to an amicable resolution.

They Do Not Feel Valued

This one is, again, very tricky… Making the employee feel that whatever role he is performing, whether big or small, is valuable and adding value to the organisation.

For example, if the office boy isn’t there in the office, cleanliness goes for a toss, no coffee, no clean utensils etc. This will affect the productivity of other employees. Now, the office boy needs to feel that if he isn’t there, all of the team is going to be affected. This feeling of contributing has to be essentially passed on to every employee -that their presence and absence both creates a lot of impact on day-to-day working.

Their Sense Of Belonging Disappears

The employee doesn’t feel that they belong in the organisation. It could be because of the peer group or team they are working with, or the authority-responsibility balance.

The employee might be working really hard and be good at his job, but if they feel undervalued at making all this effort and having it go unrecognised, they are going to look for better opportunities.

In Conclusion

All of us have experienced it either as an employer, employee or colleague – a co-worker leaving, an employer departing or a teammate changing jobs. The thing is to face these things head on and not brush them under the carpet. And all of these can be sorted by a concerned HR manager talking to the employees and addressing their concerns.

Someone can easily witness these changes in the behaviour of the employee. They are withdrawn and listless or you can sense other signs of not deriving satisfaction out of work. Restlessness and not being happy in the workplace are the major signs of identifying an employee who might or might have the above issues. And talking with them will give you a clear picture whether the issue can be resolved sortable or not, because no organisation would want to have people if they are not happy or satisfied and deriving value.

We all spend 70% of our adult lives working if our second home, our workplace, does not nurture us, who will?