The real reason why workers quit
May 19, 2017
• New survey shows disconnect between managers and employees
• “Once turnover begins, it’s often too late to stop it”
How likely are employees to look for a new job? What are the reasons they decide to quit? And do executives even know why?
The short answer is that many executives are clueless. And with four out of ten workers looking for a different job, the fogginess at the C-level could be critical to a company.
In a new report from staffing firm Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI) of Menlo Park, managers and workers did not exactly see eye to eye on the causes for turnover. In the survey, chief financial officers, so good at counting every bean in the jar, think workers want more opportunities to move up the corporate ladder and failing to find the right rungs, leave for other companies.
Were it so complex.
The answer is much more basic: Workers leave because they want better pay and benefits, the survey shows.
And the emails are flowing with resumes these days. More than four in 10 workers (42 percent) tell the Robert Half survey that they are likely to look for a new job within the next year. For respondents ages 18 to 34, the number likely to seek new employment in the next 12 months jumps to 68 percent.
Part of the retention challenge for executives is simply understanding why a good employee might want to leave. Inadequate salary and benefits is the top reason workers say they would quit.
Here’s the disconnect. CFOs reported the number-one reason they think good employees would resign is limited growth potential.
“Once turnover begins, it’s often too late to stop it,” says Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald. “Employers should not assume their teams are content. They need a pulse on how employees truly feel about their job and the company, and a willingness to take action when necessary.”
Managers of financial teams don’t seem overly concerned about turnover. More than half (54 percent) of CFOs said they have no retention worries, and only 9 percent are very concerned about employee turnover.
“Retention should be an ongoing focus,” says Mr. McDonald. “Accounting and finance professionals have more job opportunities today and, if they leave, are harder to replace.”
Robert Half offers five tips to reduce turnover:
• Gauge job satisfaction
Don’t presume all is well. Ask people what they think about their work, such as how interesting or challenging they find it. Regular one-on-one meetings are effective, but for brutally honest feedback, such as worker happiness with management, consider conducting an anonymous survey.
• Increase salaries
It is no secret that money talks and persuades or changes minds. If it has been some time since you’ve evaluated your company’s compensation structure, benchmark current employee wages. Strive to offer above-average compensation for your city and industry.
• Leverage bonuses
These financial incentives are one way to retain highly skilled team members, especially if your company is undergoing a major change like a merger or acquisition. In addition to merit-based rewards, look for opportunities to award spot bonuses following key projects or periods of extraordinary performance.
• Help employees recharge
Even well-compensated staff are more likely to quit if they are continually stressed and overworked. Increase the chances of keeping staff by allowing them the freedom they crave. Think autonomy, flextime, remote work, on-site amenities and generous paid time off.
• Show them the way
If employees don’t see an obvious path upward within the company, they’ll make their own way out the door. Keep today’s top performers and tomorrow’s leaders motivated by having regular discussions about in-house growth prospects, as well as your company’s willingness to invest in their future.
About the data
The surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms. The survey of workers includes responses from more than 1,000 U.S. professionals age 18 and over and employed in office environments. The CFO survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.