Seven reasons why companies lose their best staff

Employee retention is important for any business, but some do seem to continually get it wrong. Even big name, household brands – who have no trouble in attracting talent – fail to have a successful talent management strategy in place. Here are seven reasons why large companies could fail to keep hold of their best people:

1. They don’t listen to individual needs

In big organisations, it can be easy to treat employees as a unit rather than as individuals. HR resource can often be stretched and some employees will get very little face time with HR staff or even their own line manager. Day-to-day business can tick along under the guise that all employees are blissfully happy – when actually there are frustrations bubbling underneath. Making time for one-on-one feedback with employees and listening to/acting on individuals’ suggestions and concerns is very important for employee satisfaction.

2. They can’t work around company restrictions

Bureaucracy in large corporations can be a common reason for employees looking to move on. Most executive level employees will understand the reasoning behind supposed ‘red tape’ but they may feel disgruntled if they’ve had no say in particular decisions, processes or rules. It’s important to get the ‘buy-in’ of your top talent before establishing important protocols.

3. They don’t offer career progression opportunities

Large firms can often mistakenly assume that a strong salary and benefits package is enough to engage their best talent. Of course, monetary reward is important, but it’s not the only type of reward sought. Most employees will want to know there’s genuine opportunity for career progression and ongoing development in their role. Failure to provide a clear career path with the company can soon lead to disengagement.

4. They ignore conflict

Conflict can sometimes go unnoticed and unaddressed in large corporations, simply because nobody realises it’s occurring. This could be conflict between colleagues, or an unsuccessful and unproductive relationship between a line manager and a team member. Conflict or an unsavoury atmosphere soon begins to chip away at morale and motivation. A regular ‘health-check’ of your entire workforce is a good way to keep an eye out for any problem hotspots and deal with them promptly. Facilitating anonymous feedback/satisfaction surveys from all staff could be a helpful temperature check.

5. They don’t communicate of the vision

This sounds like an obvious point, but it’s so easily neglected. Employees want to feel excited and passionate about the business they work for and need to see a clear vision on the horizon. If an organisation fails to promote the brand internally and fails to successfully communicate the goals of the business as a whole – employees can soon lack direction and drive. If there’s a lack of vision, people may look for inspiration in a different place.

6. They don’t employ effective leadership

At every level, there needs to be robust leadership in place. A lack of strong, consistent management is a prevalent reason for an employee exodus. As outlined above, encouraging open, honest feedback is a good way to highlight any pockets of dissatisfaction within the company as a whole – which may point towards poor management in a certain area. Organisations must ensure that their employees are equipped with good leadership, inclusivity and communication skills – which may involve additional, ongoing training.

7. They pay lower than market average

If you’re paying your employees a salary that is significantly lower than the market rate, you need to really incentivise them to stay. If you’re not working hard to keep them engaged and providing decent progression opportunities, then money becomes a much bigger issue. Remember that it can be more expensive to lose good employees and hire new ones than giving someone a pay rise that they might deserve.
Find out more about employee retention in the Michael Page Employer Centre.