Almost half my staff that quit in the past 20 years probably did so because of me.
It’s hard to admit.
Ego gets in the way and I allow myself to believe the reasons they have given, instead of the deep and underlying reason, ME.
Take a long look at yourself in the mirror. Are YOU the reason why your staff quit?
Most likely, YES!
Even if they make up an extremely plausible reason, the number 1 reason staff leave is the boss!
Why I’m interested and you should be too…
In the 10 months since the first client signed up with VA Platinum, we have hired 40 staff in the Philippines to work directly with clients in Australia.
I have made promises to these clients that to the best of my ability and knowledge, their new staff will be in their business for the long haul.
Therefore, I need to understand why they left their past employer in the first place, to join our business. I don’t want to make the same mistakes as those employers and disappoint my clients.
It’s unfortunate, but most good employees quit their jobs for reasons within the business owner’s control.
I aspire to be a great employer. But more importantly a great coach and leader of a select few that then coach and lead many others.
Looking for ways to expand my understanding of staffs’ wants, needs and frustrations is the focus for the remainder of this year.
Recently, I sent out an Employee Satisfaction Survey which is a fancy way of asking them, what can I do to not F&*K up our current relationship and why did you leave your previous workplace?
I also asked them to tell me what would I have to do for them to go home and rave about our company to all their friends and family. Not just say they like working here but rave about VA Platinum with gusto and authenticity.
In this article, I want to present the results of the survey, showing why my staff left their previous jobs.
1. Issues with Management
Issues with management were the largest response in the survey.
Overall, 45.83% of the staff cite poor management practices, unfair treatment, favouritism, office politics, and abuse of power as the reason why they choose to leave their jobs.
It’s not just whether the boss spoke to them in a rude way, or didn’t show appreciation. The survey revealed it’s the more subtle undertones of the office that eroded them like water constantly dripping on a stone.
Despite how attractive their salary package was, it did not offset the stress they get from poor human resource management.
Understandably, most employees find it easier to just walk out than work under management whom they perceive to not treat them fairly.
What do staff expect?
What I like about my employees is that they are never too shy to speak their minds. In giving staff the opportunity to voice their opinions, as individuals and as a collective, they can take control of their work environment.
Allowing them to speak their mind in the right place and time avoids potential misunderstanding.
Communication is the key to any good and lasting relationships. Hence, management should proactively support an open-door line to all employees, creating avenues for raising personal opinions, void of any judgments and prejudice.
Also, they cited that paying close attention to the quality of management work (and the rate of attrition you can attribute against their performance) is an important way to fully understand what the problem really is.
2. Problems with Work Schedule
Working late nights or sudden changes in work hours comes in second.
In terms of the response rate, 20.83% of my staff attribute their voluntary exit from their jobs to conflicts brought about by their work schedule and the sudden changes around it.
They say that work schedule is a devil in a box for most of them.
They mention that some of them suffered from being asked to work mandatory overtime and mandatory weekend shifts, even without prior notice.
Asking employees to work too many hours in a week robs them of their chance to enjoy their lives outside of work.
On the other hand, some staff left their previous jobs and came to me because of getting tired of working at night.
Many Philippine companies operate on a graveyard shift to support American and UK clients.
And for some employees who have lived their lives working on graveyard shifts, physical and mental health issues have become a common problem.
These then prompt them to look for other opportunities that allow them to work during the day.
What do staff expect?
One of the brighter aspects of working for an Australian-owned company is that the Philippines is only 2hrs behind Australian time. Therefore staff work the same hours as their Australian clients, meaning a client starting at 8:30 am in Australia is 6.30 am in the Philippines.
Given that they come to work early, and go home early, it gives them enough room to explore hobbies and personal activities.
Some staff also mentioned that being clear about their work schedule prevents conflicts in the future. This means that both employees and employers should be responsible to adhere to the time that has been mutually agreed.
It’s too hard to expect that you’ll have happy employees when you beat them every day with extra work.
Trust that your staff are mature and rational individuals who are adept with the tasks you give them. That said, if there’s any work left to accomplish, employees will most likely render overtime voluntarily and not feel begrudgingly obliged.
3. Being Overworked & Under-compensated
16.67% of my staff cited this as their reason for jumping ship.
Looking over the collected data, it seems that this issue is common among staff who have rendered the longest tenure in their previous work.
As stated in their responses, staff are asked to move up in positions within a company such as becoming an acting supervisor without being offered the benefit of a pay increase.
Because of their extensive experience, they were usually provided the enduring task of being special trainers for the newbies, while all along their actual workload remain as is.
Some companies think that they can simply get away with being understaffed by doubling (or in some cases, tripling) the workload of their experienced staff.
Cases of under-compensation happen not just when there’s a lack of monetary benefit, but when the company fails to appreciate and compliment the employees for a job well done.
Additionally, some staff mentioned that some of their employers forget that they have feelings too and that they are in need of being acknowledged as valuable members of the team.
What do staff expect?
If there’s a conclusion I can get from their responses, it is this: Overworked employees are sad employees.
Therefore, they suggested that the employers must be responsible to motivate them well, with the right benefit and right encouragement.
Allocating tasks based on an individual’s capacity to work in a day and not overestimating his/her skill and experience are the top two things to consider when delegating work.
Some employees also said that running recognition programs to celebrate their little successes (i.e. being most punctual, having no attendance issues, etc.), and giving out certificates or other takeaway gifts can go a long way in displaying encouragement.
Having frequent social events help them cope with daily stress and gives them some chance to have fun with their co-workers.
4. Other Reasons
The rest of the responses are split between a few personal reasons. Of course, not all job exits are bad. Some of them are even personal and in good faith.
Here are some of them, based on the data collected:
- Decided to go back to school
- Wanted to be a full-time parent
- Change of work environment
Keeping employees happy is part of every business owner’s responsibility. Going through the extra mile to understand what your employees like and dislike contributes so much to the overall harmony in the workplace. I believe that being a better boss is a lifelong journey. But it’s totally worth getting into especially when you know that you are making a difference in other peoples’ lives.