People leave organisations for so many reasons. While some are changing jobs to a better paying one, others are doing so because they are unhappy at their jobs. Let me use a line of a popular R&B artist, R. Kelly, in one of his songs “when a woman is fed up, there’s nothing you can do about it” to argue that you cannot stop an unhappy employee from leaving when he’s got his mind made up. However, there is a lot HR can do to prevent a mass exodus.
Do not expect me to do a list of prescriptions on how to keep your employees as not every situation is the same. As you read along, this piece will likely raise more questions than solutions. In tackling attrition of employees, there is need to know what makes people unhappy. A tough question to answer, you would agree. Even the brightest academicians and psychologists are still unraveling the human mind.
Despite this handicap, I will make a simple attempt at understanding what makes employees unhappy in the workplace. Remuneration, work life balance, job satisfaction, poor managerial supervision, unfriendly colleagues etc. The list is endless. It would however be myopic if we attribute the source of of employees’ unhappiness to the workplace alone. Personal and social issues like relationship problems, drug abuse, gambling are all factors that can affect employee’s well-being and happiness.
Managers and other Supervisors have a major role to play at gauging the mood and temperament of their Staff. From my background as a HR person, I would argue that people are the most important asset of an organisation. Consequently, don’t just manage resources, manage people as well. A lot of Managers are only interested in getting the work done and pay little attention to the person doing the work. If given the opportunity to appraise such Managers, I will recommend a People Management development course for them.
Research have it that most people leave their jobs because of bad Managers. If someone is quitting his job because of you, then you shouldn’t keep yours. Some few cups of Coffee with your team can lighten their day and go a long way to building strong friendship. I know of supervisors who scream at their employees for making small errors. This could degenerate into hatred and withdrawal from the Staff.
While I am a huge fan of the exit interview, it is not all revealing. Out of some kind of ‘respect’, not all employees exiting a company are forthcoming with why they are actually leaving. Probably the need to get a good reference from previous employer might be the reason for the ‘respect’. Perhaps, the exit interview is only fulfilling all righteousness and a mere academic exercise. Why then does it have to get to this stage?
HR should get close to all employees by demystifying the ‘HR myth’. There are so many strategies that can be deployed to achieve this. Employees involvement and participation, work-life balance, competitive reward package, promotion and salary increment are all ways of making your employees happy. If they remain happy, they will stay. In addition, there are those intangible ways of connecting with your team; remembering birth dates, coffee time and so on.
If you’ve got other ideas, please drop them below.
Bashir can be reached on Twitter @El_De_Bash