Many employers think that money is the key to attracting, hiring and keeping good people, so pay increases, bonuses and other financial rewards are often the main tactics used to try and keep employees motivated. Paying someone an extra $300 to $400 a month may cause a temporary increase in morale or productivity, but is unlikely to have any long-term impact. That fact is also reinforced when employers conduct exit interviews and ask departing employees why they decided to quit. Typically, the response most often given is for more money. However, if an employer hires good people to begin with, he or she will learn nothing from this exit interview strategy, because good employees almost always make more when they go to their next job. Instead, employers should be asking why their people started looking for another job in the first place.
The challenge for employers is to create an environment in which people motivate themselves to perform at a higher level. Here are some of the reasons people give for leaving a job:
• Organizations are continually trying to restructure to become leaner and accomplish more with fewer people. The end result is that one person is doing the work of two or three people, and often taking work home to try and meet their deadlines. The result is stress and burnout, often ends with an exit to another company.
• Lack of job satisfaction is another major reason employees leave their jobs. If people don’t like their jobs, or lack opportunities to learn something new, they seldom get any positive feedback on their job performance. Conversely, if they do a good job they are often rewarded with more work than their fellow employees, and the exit door begins to look very appealing.
• Little or no upward mobility. Many organizations today fail to provide opportunities for people within the organization for growth and development. With no internal promotion opportunities, the future can start looking pretty dim.
• People typically don’t leave organizations, they leave people. Most working people spend more of their waking hours at work than at home. If employees don’t like the people they work with, they may ultimately feel compelled to leave even when they like the organization as a whole.
• Finally, the most significant reason people leave is due to poor management. The leadership of an organization creates the culture of an organization and if its leaders are poorly trained, have poor or no people skills, are biased, communicate poorly, intimidate or threaten their subordinates, the organization will consistently have problems with productivity, motivation and turnover. If an employer is plagued with low morale, poor productivity, high turnover and similar symptoms, he or she should first search internally for the source of the problem before ineffectually throwing money at it.