5 Reasons Your Employees Are Currently Thinking of Leaving You.

You may not associate employee motivation and retention issue with recruiters – after all surely we are in the business of talent acquisition, not talent retention?   In reality recruiters are uniquely placed to understand what motivates employees and keeps them happy – and what does not.

Experienced, specialist niche recruiters will have interviewed hundreds, even thousands of employees in his or her sector over the years, ranging from the very happy to the downright disgruntled.  They will have been given detailed information in what candidates like about their current job, what they liked about their past jobs, and what they are looking for in the next one.  In a very real sense it is part of job to understand what makes employees happy – because provided the candidate is currently employed, we need to find a role for them which is delivering things they are not getting in their current one. Or else why would they move?  And yes sometimes what they are not getting is a market rate salary – but often they are, and there are other drivers for moving to another company.

This may be one of the reasons that of the 2012 Sunday Times Best 100 Small Companies to work for 11 of the top 50 companies (including the number 2 spot) are actually Recruitment Consultancies. It seems we have been listening – and applying what we’ve heard to how we motivate our own staff.

And yes need I say it – the Digital revolution has changed and moulded the way employees want to work and how they see themselves within the workplace  and what they expect from their employers and their careers.

So in this post- and because we all love a list –  I thought I’d share a relatively light-hearted look at “ 5 Reasons Your Employees Are Currently Thinking of Leaving You.” Please note this list has been collated from interviews across all levels and various roles within UK Digital, Mobile and Integrated Marketing Agencies – employees and employers in other industries may not recognise themselves here.

1      Can’t see where they can go from here in your organisation.  Everyone needs  a sense of where they are heading in their careers. We increasingly need to be managers of our own careers too – no more jobs for life or even industries for life – and and if employees believe they can’t progress within the agency they look without.  Don’t wait until they hand in their notice to FINALLY get around to putting that extra management tier in place.

2         No-one else in the company wants them anywhere near their client’s budget. They were hired for their knowledge and skills in an emerging technology and given a lovely “Head Of….” title (mobile, social,) but having been lured by the opportunity to work on 360 degree marketing campaigns and take their specialist skills to a new strategic level with leading brands, they find they only get brought in to the pitch meeting to “stick a bit of mobile on” at the end.

3         We Got Bought.  The founders of the company are in The Hospital Club ordering up a storm and the Board Directors have their calculators out working out what their shares are worth.  And some of your highly skilled designer/developers  now have 2 tube changes to get to work and getting 3 new job specs  a day via their InMails on LinkedIn. You do the math.

4         The job they were promised turns out not to exist Agencies are by their nature fluid organisations – clients leave, large accounts are won (hopefully) and senior managers move on.  But  particular the world of the VC start-up some companies and hiring managers can get a little carried away by the vision they have for their own success. Putting a rather optimistic spin on what clients you currently have and are about to get may seem like a legitimate way to attract investment and other clients – but your employees expect better and if they feel like you’ve conned them in to joining your are off to a very rocky start indeed.  You can’t say on the one hand “your are obviously an intelligent, smart, highly capable person and I want you on my team” and “ I’m going to lie to you because I think I can get away with it” on the other.  If the first year is all about winning  new clients then say so. You may even get the best person for the job that way!

5         Cry Freedom. Their ex-colleague who worked  in the same job  last year is getting 3 times as much money freelancing.  No pension, no benefits maybe.  But they see the £££££ signs and ability to get some variety (and avoid some of things that they weren’t happy with in the previous 4 points above) and it looks very tempting.  Going freelance may seem like a risk – and it certainly is a risk which increases the further advanced in your career you are –  but when freelancers with a particular skill are in demand it can actually feel to some people that they are gaining more control of their own careers and the satisfaction they are getting from their work. Because, frankly, if they don’t like it they can move on. And they will get time to start that blog/develop that App/start that Reiki course they’ve always wanted to do. (They won’t – but by the time they find out they’ll already be gone).

And finally here is a very interesting article I came across yesterday while researching for this post, which illustrates that because “candidates” and  “employees”are in fact all  just “human beings”what motivates and pleases them is therefore endlessly complex

Either that or Harvard Business School has an endlessly complex amount of ways of  generating theories to keep people at work for more time……?!

I’ve quoted this in full  from the excellent www.businessinsider.com

“Turns out it’s a total myth that to inspire innovation in your company you’ve got to give your employees a bunch of free time to work on pet projects.

New research from Harvard Business School shows that to make people feel like they have more time, you’ve got to add tasks to their schedule — so long as those tasks involve helping other people.

It’s an interesting paradox.

But it’s becoming obvious that just giving free time isn’t the answer. Under Larry Page, Google famously killed off its 20% free-time strategy. Ditto for Red Hat. It gives zero free time to most employees and 100% free time to the rare employee that has proven to be the best and most innovative.

Since nobody can put more physical hours into a day, managers who want to give their employees a sense that they have free time need to address “psychological time,” says Michael Norton associate professor of business administration for Harvard Business School.

Norton and his colleagues recently published a paper called Giving Time Gives You Time [PDF]  

In it, they discovered that if employees feel like their time is well spent, they feel like they’ve got more time. They are happier, more productive, more enthusiastic, and more satisfied. Happier employees are less likely to quit. They are also more likely to bring their best, innovative ideas to the company.


Time management tends to be about helping employees do things faster, or do fewer things. Some of those strategies are terrific. But we wondered if there were things we could add to someone’s schedule that would make you feel like you had more time,” he told Business Insider.

The researchers conducted four experiments where they forced some people to spend a chunk of time doing a task that helped someone. They sent other people home, giving them an unexpected windfall of free time.

The people who helped others said that they felt like they had more time than those given free time.

For instance, they called students into the lab and told them they would be taking part in an hour-long experiment. At 45 minutes, they told some that the experiment was over and they could leave. They told another group they needed to stay and spend those last 15 minutes editing essays for low-income students in high school. Those who edited essays were more likely to feel that they had more time than those who got 15 minutes free.

Interestingly, when people were told to spend time on themselves, they did not report feeling like they had more time.

Norton says managers can use this research in a couple of ways.

1. Make employees participate in a company volunteer effort, particularly if they can use part of their workday to do it.

2. Let employees know how their day-to-day tasks are helping others. If they can hear how the employee helped a customer, this will also make them more satisfied with their job.

3. Use fun strategies to encourage team members to help each other. Norton tells of one experiment where salespeople were given $20 bonus money and told they had to spend on another team member. Those teams sold more than other groups that were told to spend the $20 on themselves.

By giving people the right kind of time, they will give it back to the company in productivity and innovation

Cartoon in this post by the hugely talented Rob Cottingham http://www.robcottingham.ca/cartoon/about/

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-professor-discovers-a-cool-secret-to-making-employees-feel-like-theyve-got-more-time-2012-5#ixzz1x6aS4nJq



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