The Top 4 Reasons Employees Disengage and Quit

The Top 4 Reasons Employees Disengage and Quit
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Unfortunately, There Are Many Reasons Employees Disengage and Quit
Talent leaders should be keenly aware of the reasons employees disengage.  Our annual employee engagement survey research results tell us high levels of employee disengagement create 12% lower profits, 19% lower operating income, and 28% lower earnings per share.

The Cost of Employee Attrition
Additionally, each employee that leaves their employer costs the organization 1.5-to-2 times on average the employee’s fully loaded salary. And that doesn’t take into account the waning productivity before they left, the effect on team morale, or the time off the job for those involved in hiring their replacement.

What to Do?
Your first step is to understand the reasons employees disengage and leave and then to do something about it.

Defining Employee Disengagement
Let’s start with defining employee disengagement.  Employee engagement experts know that the first step is to use a valid tool to measure level of employee engagement.  Our Best Places to Work Employee Engagement Survey breaks employees into four profiles:

Highly Engaged Employees
Employees with highly engagement favorable ratings who:

  • Are Advocates of the organization, its leaders, managers, employees, products, quality and future outlook
  • Give high levels of Discretionary Effort and are always thinking of ways to do their jobs better
  • Intend to Stay over the next 12-18 months because they feel loyal and connected and it would take a lot to get them to leave

Moderately Engaged Employees
Employees with moderately favorable engagement ratings who are holding back where there is often the greatest opportunity for increased performance.

Barely Engaged Employees
Indifferent employees who lack motivation and are at risk for leaving.

Disengaged Employees
Employees with negative engagement ratings who lack commitment and are most likely impacting the productivity of others.

The Top 4 Reasons Employees Disengage and Quit
Let’s look at four reasons employees disengage and eventually quit:

1.  A Poor Fit For The Corporate Culture And A Poor Producer On The Job
This is an employee you don’t want to stay. Even if you can boost their skills, they will never change enough to truly fit. Workplace culture matters as it accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.  Culture:

  • Is the way employees behave when no one is looking
  • Includes the norms and standards of behavior that permeate the organization
  • Is shaped by the unwritten rules of how employees get things done and how they relate with one another

A cultural misfit will drag others down with the friction of their unacceptable modes of behavior.

2.  A Poor Culture Fit But A High Producer
The good news is that they do their job well. The bad news is that they are most likely damaging the rest of their team. This was probably a hiring mistake where there was not enough attention paid to corporate culture fit and too much paid to the skills the candidate brought with them.

These are often the toughest employees to let go because of their production, but their departure often brings a breath of fresh air for a team and is required to support a strong and healthy culture.

3.  A Good Culture Fit But A Poor Producer
In this situation, there is a lot a good manager can do.

  • Are performance expectations clear?
  • Does the job role take into account the employee’s strengths and interests?
  • Does the employee need additional training and coaching to develop relevant skills for the job?

These under performing employees often need targeted training and coaching support for them to lift their contribution.

4.  A Good Fit Culturally And A Good Performer On The Job
Do whatever you can to retain this high performing employee. Many factors help engage and retain top talent.  What can you change to keep this employee from leaving?

  • Evaluate the relationship with the manager
  • Take a look at the job role and how it aligns with the overall business strategy
  • Examine the rewards and recognition systems
  • Be sure there is a compelling career path forward for high performing employees

The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, there are many reasons employees disengage and quit. To be in a better position to attract, engage and retain top talent, hire smart based on attributes of high performing employees and your strategic direction combined with a clear understanding of the cultural fits that matter.

To learn more, download The Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement.

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