So what can you do to prevent your employees leaving - 19/05/2017

We have all been there, the crisp white envelope gingerly placed on your desk by your star employee, or worse still, that same employee, envelope in hand, who is hovering outside your office door looking sheepish at 17.25 on a Monday asking for a ‘quiet word’.

It is a tired old axiom but unfortunately a true one that people do not leave jobs, people leave managers. This isn’t necessarily your fault, you haven’t intended to manage an employee out of the business, you are not a terrible manager who cannot motivate and engage with your staff effectively, most likely you cannot motivate and engage all of your staff effectively and therein lies the problem.

So, why do your employees actually leave? I would bet money that it is because one of the below reasons;
  • Poor internal communication
  • Poor job design
  • Perceived lack of equity in the workplace
  • Breach of their psychological contract

So, what can you do to prevent your employees leaving ? It’s all in the exchange!

Study’s show that positive exchanges between line managers and employees reduce an employees desire to leave an organisation (Morrow et al 2005). What is a positive exchange ? It’s a conversation with an employee that isn’t necessarily about the task in hand that leaves both parties feeling positive. This can be about anything, the football score, the kids school play, what you both did at the weekend. The challenge is knowing your employees well enough to know what they consider a positive exchange and how often they want to engage in such an exchange with you.

Remember, everyone is different and how you interact with each employee must change to suit their needs and expectations, believe it or not some employees are happy with minimal exchanges with you as long as they are positive. Back to my list of real reasons why your employees are leaving, obviously talking to your employees about the football will not change these problems and they do need to be addressed, however the negative effect of those factors on an employee’s desire to leave can be mitigated by having a positive relationship with a line manager generated through positive exchanges. In layman's terms, people will tolerate imperfections in their working life if they have a great relationship with their manager. 

Get to know your employees and have those positive exchanges before you are on the receiving end of one of those white envelopes.
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