AMA has a job board specifically geared toward marketing professionals seeking jobs and seeking employees, so we found it fitting to offer words of wisdom from a seasoned recruiter. For hiring managers who strive to prevent their A+ employees from leaving, executive search expert Olivia DeLuca has valuable advice.
DeLuca’s Advice on Retaining A+ Employees
In the world of executive search, I am always discussing career progression with my candidates. When employees walk me through their career transitions, I can see the big picture behind their career growth and trajectory. While many of us will have to leave a job at some point in our careers for reasons beyond our control (corporate restructuring, poor business performance, department-wide layoffs etc.), what can sting you as a manager are the the A+ employees who leave voluntarily. Here are the most common reasons people leave their current employers:
(1) No Room for Growth
It might sound cliché, but it’s true. When a good employee is primed and ready to take on a bigger and better role, you have to be prepared. The first step to growing a team for longevity is knowing what your employees want in the first place. This requires two very important prerequisites. The first is caring: You have to truly care about their career aspirations. The second is time: You must dedicate time to ensure their contentment and longevity.
Taking the care and time to sit down with your employees one-on-one over coffee or lunch can be labor intensive, but it’s a necessity for a good manager to do so. Talk to your employees about where they see themselves within the company and, dare I say, outside of your organization. Then, work within your means to support their goals.
(2) They Are Spread Too Thin
Maybe you are a lean start-up or perhaps a huge corporation that recently consolidated jobs. Some people thrive in a fast-paced environment, but the tipping point is when employees are burning the midnight oil and still feel like they are sinking. Here are the most common causes of employee burn out:
- One employee is doing the work of 3 people and hasn’t been promoted or given a raise.
- Employees are unable to gain internal buy-in or are denied resources they need to feel successful.
- Employees are traveling too much. Despite the hotel points and airline miles, traveling can make people feel behind on their day-to-day work and puts their personal lives on hold.
(3) The Organization Has Changed Direction for the Umpteenth Time
There is not a week that goes by that I don’t hear a phrase like, “We’ve had 3 CEOs in 2 years.” The lack of company vision can be disheartening to anyone, especially to good employees who are dedicated to the company goals and values. When everyone including the C-suite loses sight of what those values are, it affects morale. There is nothing you can usually do about this. However, if you lead a team, you can create a favorable micro-culture inside your own team in an effort to help them (and you) ride out the storm.
(4) An Employee is Offered an Opportunity he Can’t Refuse
The prospect of a fancy new position can woo even perfectly content employees. Add a title increase, a reputable company, the opportunity to put their stamp on something, increased pay, and you have the recipe for a resignation.
Maybe the star player on your team ran in to her former boss at a conference and he begged her to join his team. Maybe a friend made a casual introduction. Maybe she entertained a conversation with a sharp recruiter. Whatever the catalyst, there probably is not much you could have done to prevent this from happening. If the employee was content before this new opportunity came along, you could make a quick counteroffer with a promotion and play up the comfort of staying with a company and boss she knows so well. If you are able to make this promotion counteroffer quickly and this employee really was worth it, then shame on you for not promoting her sooner. Lesson learned.
(5) Personal Reasons
Though this is often given as a reason why employees leave, it is far less common than you might think. Often, employees try to keep reasons for leaving general and vague, and personal excuses are an easy way out during an uncomfortable resignation meeting. Perhaps her husband’s job moved out of state, or maybe his commute is killing him. Maybe she is leaving to earn her MBA or he wants to take a year to travel Asia.
When it comes to personal reasons, there isn’t much you can do. Retaining top talent is important to everyone. While keeping top talent is not always within your control, there are plenty of resources to ensure the long-term success of your team.
It’s always a good idea to think about why employees leave because thinking in these terms will help you keep a pulse on employee satisfaction. Doing so may take extra time out of your already busy days. However, finding and training new employees would likely be even more time consuming than keeping your current high-performers happy. In today’s corporate culture, employee loyalty is extremely rare. One way to ensure that your employees remain loyal to you is to show them that you care and that you’re truly invested in their career development.
About the Authors
As the East Coast practice lead for one of the country’s top executive search firms dedicated to digital business, Olivia DeLuca specializes in uncovering digital marketing and eCommerce talent nationwide. Olivia is based in Tampa and provides leadership consulting and team development expertise to Internet retailers, dot-com start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, marketing/advertising agencies and advertising technology providers by building marketing departments at all layers—from the C-level to associates.
Social Media: Linkedin
Chiara is Digital Content Creator and Blog Manager for AMA Tampa Bay. She is Co-founder and Director of Winning the Fight, a non-profit organization specializing in neurodegenerative disease research. Chiara is also a freelance digital marketer for small businesses and is finishing up her MBA with a specialty in marketing from the University of South Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Chiara lived in Washington, DC. She earned her BA in International Studies from American University’s School of International Services in 2007 and worked for Booz Allen Hamilton and the Department of Defense thereafter. Her hobbies include obstacle racing, running, swimming, kayaking, SCUBA diving, and opera/classical singing. She also loves country music and chocolate!
Email: Chiara at [email protected]
Social Media: LinkedIn