Want to Retain Your Employees? Don’t Do These Five Things

Jan 15, 2020

Are you frustrated and fed up with employees who up and leave just when you get them trained?

Most employers I talk to face the same challenge and are puzzling over how to change this dynamic in their business.

After all—you NEED your employees to achieve your dream of a successful business—right?

So, why do employees quit? Do they want too much and don’t really want to work hard? Are employees unable to have loyalty anymore? Do millennials simply not have the attention span to focus on one thing at a time?


Well, I will tell you this—people ARE expecting more from their employers and their jobs these days. And employers need to pay attention.

Here are five reasons why employees leave their jobs:

  1. They don’t feel like their employer and/or supervisor cares about them.

Employees want to know they are seen as real people. They have lives and interests, and worries that keep them awake at night. They want their bosses and their teammates to value them as people and to care about their lives.

Some supervisors only speak to their employees when they need them, or want something from them. Or to complain about their performance. This leads to high levels of resentment for the employee.

Remember the old ‘savings account’ analogy? You need to fill the account with positive interactions before you can take a ‘withdrawal’ of negativity. The rule is to have 5 positive interactions with each person for every one negative or demanding one. Otherwise, your emotional account is overdrawn, and your employee will start looking for another position.

  1. They don’t feel respected or valued.

Your employee is expending their energy doing what YOU want them to do to achieve YOUR goal and make YOUR business succeed. They are doing their best and coming to work every day, working by your rules. They bring their skills, talents and energy to your goals and vision. They are spending a precious part of their career helping you succeed. They want to be respected and valued for doing so.

Yes, you pay them. But that’s not enough.

Do you tell them you appreciate them? That your work makes a difference? That they are really good at what they do? Or, do you micromanage them and only meet with them when something isn’t going well?

When employees feel like their work isn’t appreciated, they will start looking for a job where it is.

  1. They don’t feel like the work they are doing is meaningful.

Everyone wants to make a difference, to spend their time and talents making their community, the world, and their customer’s lives better. When a leader doesn’t take the time to develop a compelling vision of how the company is making a difference in the world it is easy for employees to believe what they do every day doesn’t matter.

They also want to know that what they do actually makes a difference to the success of the company. Whether it is a janitor, a receptionist, or the highest paid engineer—every single person in the organization should know what value they add to the success of the organization, and have a direct line of sight between their position/job responsibilities and profitability.

If an employee isn’t shown how much impact they are making they will likely find a company where they KNOW they matter.

  1. Their supervisor lets them down.

People want to work for other people they respect and trust. When leaders prove themselves untrustworthy or not worthy of respect, people leave. Lying, not following through on commitments, lack of temper control, arrogance, gossiping about other workers—all kinds of things lead people to lose respect.

Employees also feel let down when supervisors don’t step in and take care of problem behaviors within the team. When everyone knows one person slacks and doesn’t preform up to snuff, if supervisors don’t step in and fix it, they let the entire team down.

Another common area that disappoint employees is when their supervisor doesn’t advocate for or support them. Whether it is for raises, promotions, or other recognitions, if a supervisor isn’t fair or doesn’t step up for her team, people feel let down.

When employees don’t have a supervisor they can trust and respect, they go looking for a job where they can have that.

  1. They don’t feel like they can be themselves at work.

Work places can be very welcoming and comfortable. When they are, people typically don’t leave.

But, workplaces can also be dog-eat-dog, where gossip, back-stabbing and other toxic behaviors flourish. Some supervisors even allow teams to scapegoat certain employees or actually encourage discrimination of some employees!

When those things are happening, employees come to work guarded and scared. They are constantly watching their backs. It starts to feel like a middle school playground—rife with threats. They feel like they just need to keep their heads down and their mouths shut to survive.

No one wants to work in a place like that.

When employees don’t feel like they can come to work and just be themselves, they are going to leave as quickly as they possibly can.

Good employees feel pride in themselves and their work. They want to work at a job that matters and that they take pride in. They typically don’t stay in a job where they feel put down or not respected.

When leaders take the time to value, respect and appreciate their employees, create a positive work culture, and be a terrific leader, you will likely reduce your turnover rate to almost zero.