Why Talented Employees Leave – 3 Reasons

The beginning of a new year can also be a trigger for valued and talented employees looking elsewhere and starting a job search for a new role. In this post we explore the common reasons given by candidates, and what you can do to retain your valued staff.

Why Talented Employees Leave – 3 Reasons

If you want to retain your most talented construction engineering employees, it makes sense to understand why they might want to leave. Then you can do your level best to put in place strategies to keep them, and their skills, within your company.

The New Year is often a catalyst for employees to start job hunting. Our inboxes and online registration system are testament to that, with a surge of new technical candidates making contact with us at this time of year. Time off over the holidays, New Year Resolutions and Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year, calculated based on weather conditions, debt levels, time since Christmas, motivation levels and time since failing our New Year Resolutions – may all trigger a valued employee to look for a new job.

There is plenty of research into why employees leave, reasons include issues with other members of staff, cultural fit, or not feeling appreciated and valued by their manager or the company overall. While these reasons may come to a fore in the New Year – having had time to reflect over Christmas many employees want to make a change – these are not exclusive to January.

However, when we talk to candidates who contact us after the Christmas holidays there are three common reasons we hear again and again at this time of year. They are all ‘New Year Resolution’ type reasons, which in my opinion are also opportunities for the savvy employer. A timely intervention now could channel these goals and resolutions, enabling you to retain your talented employees and for greater benefit of the business.

But you need to move fast! If you value your most talented employees, you will find that other firms do too. While we may have many new candidates looking for new roles, it will be the most skilled and talented that get snapped up first, and you may find it difficult to replace them once they’ve gone.

3 Reasons Employees Leave In The New Year

  1. They want a challenge

Some people make a New Year Resolution to run a marathon or cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Others decide they want to be challenged at work, pursue their passions, learn new skills or be given something different to do. While a radical change may be difficult to provide, there could be smaller changes that can made that help your employees fulfil these goals.

The best way to explore this is to talk to your employees. Have a conversation about their professional development; they may have some good ideas about how your company can provide them with the challenges they want.

  1. They want clear goals and rewards

This is different to wanting a challenge; instead it’s about wanting to feel empowered, that they’re making a difference, and to get better job satisfaction. This should be achievable within the role they have, they don’t need to leave to be given goals and rewarded accordingly. But many employees feel directionless. They turn up, tackle the list of tasks to do that day, and go home with no sense of achievement.

Goals motivate people and so do rewards. Take the opportunity to have a conversation with your employees about how to measure performance and set goals – aligned with their motivational triggers – and also explore ways to reward employees for a job well done. Rewards don’t have to have monetary value, praise is often missing in the work environment and can go a long way to making employees feel valued and that their contribution is recognised. A combination of praise, incentives and rewards generally works best.

  1. Lack of work-life balance

There is an undeniable trend to more flexible working, which can be very difficult to provide in traditional industries and workplaces. But it shouldn’t be ignored because as well as having obvious benefits for employees (working to a schedule that suits them better) it also has benefits for companies. Employees who have more autonomy over the way they work are more focused, more productive and creative when they are at work, they also feel more valued by their employer if they are able to work from home on occasion or take time off to attend to personal things.

The Christmas holidays often highlight any issues with work-life balance. Perhaps your employee missed their child’s Christmas Nativity Play because they needed to save up holiday for the Christmas break. Time spent with their family may make some employees rush back to work, but others realise that they want more time with their family all year round.

It’s not just working parents that want better work-life balance. Younger generations no longer subscribe to the 9-5 model, wanting to work in a way that allows them to pursue other interests too. Many Millennials see work as purely a means to fuel their lifestyles, often working for a period of time and then leaving to travel or experience other things. Finding ways to retain these employees, such as sabbaticals or reduced hours, could help your company retain their skills and any investment you’ve made in training, and reduce the amount spent on recruitment and on boarding new recruits.

Now is the time to address any issues your most talented employees have that may have made them resolve to find a new job this year. Take the time to have a conversation (it doesn’t have to be a formal performance review) to find out what your employees need from you to stay.

And if you can’t incentivise them to stay, get in touch with us! Just as you may lose a talented employee at this time of year other firms do too, and they’ve probably already been in contact with our consultants about finding their next role.

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