Why do people keep leaving you? Turnover is expensive on many levels. Monetarily, we have expenses related to recruiting, onboarding, and downtime while the new employee gets up to speed on their job. Continuity is an issue when we lose experienced workers. We lose institutional knowledge every time an employee quits. Finally, it has an emotional impact on an organization. The higher the turnover, the lower the health of the organization.
I have seen this time and time again: people leave because they don’t feel appreciated. Workers are putting in their time with little to no recognition. As a leader, I make an effort to listen to what is important to my people. I get to know them and understand what impacts their day-to-day happiness. Then I take notes, put them in my calendar, and remind myself to follow up with a phone call or card. I try to recognize significant events such as birthdays and anniversaries. In full disclosure, I am not perfect at this and can get better.
But more importantly, I reach out to them when I know they have something weighing on them. People want to feel appreciated. In my research on employees’ perceptions of organizational support, I found that the more people felt supported by their organization/leadership, the higher their job satisfaction, engagement, happiness, and loyalty. Put simply, people are more likely to stay if they feel the organization and their leadership cares about them.
I hate it when people leave an organization and say they are leaving for money. They technically might have found a higher-paying job, but let’s be honest: they would not have looked for a new job if they were happy at work. If they felt appreciated and supported, most people would not leave for an extra $50 a week. The transition of learning a new system, creating new habits, worrying about insurance costs, and just the general unknown of new leadership is stressful, and I believe if you ask most people, they would prefer to stay where they are in their current organization.
The bottom line? Say thank you! Appreciate your people. Love is in the little things. That is where people will notice. Did you congratulate them on their kid’s award? Did you recognize their anniversary? Did you ask how their mother is doing when they are taking care of her? Do you show that you really care about your people? Take 5 minutes each day! Put a reminder in your calendar to get this done. Write a thank you email. Make a check-in call. Find out what is going on and what support they need. It will save you lots of time and frustration if they leave you.
Dr. Katie Ervin is the founder and CEO of Catalyst Development. She has contributed to Brainz Magazine and the Forbes Business Council. She is currently writing her first book.