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Apr 13, 2016
This article is part of a series called Classic TLNT.

Editor’s Note: It’s an annual tradition for TLNT to count down the most popular posts of the previous 12 months. We’re reposting each of the top 25 articles through January 2nd. This is No. 3 of 2016. You can find the complete list here.

The success or failure of a business usually comes down to its talent.

Businesses spend a lot of time, money and effort finding the right people, hiring the right people, training the right people and paying the right people to help make their business successful. They hope that all of the time and the effort that they put into their employees allows their business to grow and be successful.

There was a time that all of the effort that a business put into an employee resulted in the employee sticking with the company for their entire working career. Employees were loyal to the company they worked for, even if the company was not treating them as well as they should.

A greater ongoing push to retain talent

All of that has changed, and employees are no longer quite so loyal. They will leave if they find something better or are not happy with the job they are in.

This has caused companies to spend more and more time and money trying to find the best employees they can with the hope that they can retain them.

Despite their best efforts, good talent can, and does, leave. The goal of businesses is to limit the amount of talent they lose, but in order to do that, they need to have a better understanding of just why employees are leaving.

The answer can be different for every organization, but there are often similarities in why talent is looking elsewhere.

10 things that drive employees to go elsewhere

Here are 10 of the most common reasons that good employees are leaving to go work somewhere else:

  1. Too much work – Many businesses are trying to cut costs, and one way to do that is through a reduced workforce. That means employees are having to do more. The business may say they are just trying to increase productivity, but to the employee, it just looks like management wants to make them work harder. Businesses also will put more responsibility on their best employees that have already proven to be productive. This can also cause an employee to lose motivation and start to look elsewhere.
  2. No recognition – People need to be praised and recognized for the good work they do. But, many companies focus on negative feedback rather than accentuating the positive. If they fail to recognize the employees’ contributions, they risk losing the employee to a place that will show that they appreciate them. Employee rewards can come in many forms — from raises, to awards, to simply letting people know they are doing a great job. It is all about communicating to employees that the work they do really does matter.
  3. Setting the wrong priorities – Many employees feel that the only thing businesses care about is making money. And, they frequently see cost cutting measures as an attack on them. They do not think the company cares about them as people and does not believe they are more than just part of the company’s workforce. No one wants to be treated like a number, and employees will leave the places that treat them like that.
  4. Not being technologically savvy – Yes, there may be a few employees out there who actually worry that technology will take over their job. The best employees, however, embrace technology and all that it can do for them to help them. More importantly, businesses that don’t embrace technology will lose employees to  businesses that do. A good way to be in synch with the latest technology trends would be moving your business to the “Cloud,” if you haven’t done so already. For instance, implementing a technologically advanced cloud-based business phone like Dialpad improves communication and allows employees to work from wherever they want, increasing both their efficiency and productivity. This can help with employee satisfaction and reduce some of the reasons causing employees to leave.
  5. Lack of follow through – When an organization tells employees that they are going to do something and then don’t do it, they cause resentment that is tough to reverse. This lack of follow though causes them to lose trust in the business. In turn, they will look for a place that is better at honoring the commitments they make.
  6. Not hiring the best – One bad employee is the best way to drive away a great many good ones. The best employees shouldn’t feel like they have to pick up the slack for others. This is also a problem when less capable employees are promoted over the best ones who deserve it. This causes those best employees to wonder just what it takes to get ahead.
  7. Not helping employees to grow and improve – Your best people want to learn new skills and continue getting better. If the organization doesn’t foster their growth through ongoing training, classes, and other programs, they will find another way to do it — and that will probably be somewhere else.
  8. Not utilizing your employees’ creativity – The best employees often know more about the way that a business works than anyone else. It is important for a business to utilize the creativity of their employees to find better ways to do things. Giving employees avenues to do this makes them feel like they are an important part of the business’ success and allows them to take ownership in the business.
  9. Keep them in jobs where they are bored and not challenged – While no one wants to be overworked, employees also don’t want to be bored. If a worker isn’t challenged to better themselves, they will stagnate. But, if they are challenged intellectually, they will push themselves to do more than they may have thought they could accomplish.
  10. They stifle their employee’s spirit – Many businesses simply put employees into the job they are most needed at, however many workers find that this doesn’t allow them to pursue their dreams and their passions. Some organizations fear that allowing employees to follow their dreams could limit productivity, but if they aren’t allowed to stretch their wings, they will look for places to work where they can.

Finding a healthy balance

Organizations need to find a healthy balance between protecting their business, and, making sure that they keep their best employees happy. In the end, people leave not because of money or because they hate their job, they are doing it because they do not like the way they are treated.

This is something that all business can — and should — address. They should evaluate the way they treat their employees and should make sure the employees are a part of the process.

The ultimate goal should be finding ways to get employees to invest themselves in the business. When this happens, employees will not only stay, but they will find ways to help to make all of the employees the very best employees.

This article is part of a series called Classic TLNT.
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