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Why Great Employees Leave Big Firms

Monday, March 19, 2012 by Slaughter Development

Employee retention is crucial to maximizing productivity. So why do the biggest companies fail to retain their best employees?

A recent article from Forbes lists ten reasons why large enterprises struggle with employee retention. The full article is worth a read, but companies of all sizes should take note of the bullet points:

  1. Big Company Bureaucracy.
  2. Failing to Find a Project for the Talent that Ignites Their Passion.
  3. Poor Annual Performance Reviews.
  4. No Discussion around Career Development.
  5. Shifting Whims/Strategic Priorities.
  6. Lack of Accountability and/or telling them how to do their Jobs.
  7. Top Talent likes other Top Talent.
  8. The Missing Vision Thing.
  9. Lack of Open-Mindedness.
  10. Who’s the Boss?

Most of these employee retention problems are really employee engagement issues. Forcing workers to follow silly procedures (#1), changing your objectives without warning (#5) or generally meddling in people’s work is classic micromanagement. Nitpicking on past performance (#3) instead of future opportunities (#4) only highlights the problems with performance reviews. And naturally, why would anyone be engaged if their work is boring (#2) or the company seems to have no direction? (#8).

Everyone wants to increase productivity at work. But if people don’t event want to stick around, they certainly won’t be inspired to get more done! Employee retention is a prerequisite to any increase in efficiency. Workers must want to keep their jobs before they will begin to work smarter, faster and better.

In our consulting practice, we’re often asked how to improve employee retention. The answer is always a series of questions: do people have real autonomy? Do they have a sense of purpose? Do they have the opportunity to grow as professionals?

When the answer to any of these is “yes”, there is an opportunity to address problems with employee retention. Individuals will contribute when they are truly connected to the work. Change your culture and change your future!

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

What Happens to a Dream Deferred? - Employee retention. It’s something every company wants, but few achieve. But what if we knew the reason that employees leave?
Read on »
No Review; Plan And Do - Robby Slaughter, founder of Slaughter Development, recently addressed a dilemma posed in the B2B Social Media Digest regarding performance reviews. His suggestion: “We don’t need to review, we need to plan and do.” Read on »
Performance Reviews Still Stink! - Every employee dreads the performance review, and research shows they are a waste of time. A new Wall Street Journal piece notes they may finally be losing steam. Read on »
Want to learn more? Register now for the 2012 Productivity Series

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