Three Things That Will Drive Your Best Employees Out The Door

Full disclosure—I’m a bad manager. As the CEO of an executive search firm, I tend to overlook important management responsibilities and mainly focus on recruiting, sales, marketing, schmoozing and other creative activities. It’s like a good baseball player that segues into a terrible coach. The skills in one area don’t necessarily smoothly transfer over.

Since I recognize that this is not good for my business, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve. Fortunately, in my line of work, I have a front-row seat to closely observe what techniques smart managers use to keep top talent and the actions in which they drive people out the door.

Since you worked so hard to attract talent, it is nonsensical to do things that drive them away. Here are three things that drive great employees into the arms of your competitors—and how you can avoid this from happening.


 1. Not paying people fairly. Compensation is a big reason why people come to me searching for a new job. Interestingly, most job seekers are not mercenaries when it comes to compensation. They just want to be paid a little more—what’s fair. Of course, more money is always better, but people tend to view jobs holistically. What good is the money if you are mistreated, lack growth opportunities and feel trapped? Experienced job seekers understand that there may be limits as to how much the company can pay.

If an employee feels financially taken advantage of, they will become disenchanted, their work will suffer and they’ll eventually leave. This ends up costing more money in the long run, as the manager will now have to take the time and effort to recruit a replacement, pay a fee to someone like myself, train the new employee and you’ll most likely have to offer a premium to entice the person to leave their current job and join your company. The most practical and advantageous approach is to pay people well enough so that they feel appreciated. If the company is in a situation in which the budgets are legitimately tight, it’s best to be honest. A reasonable person will appreciate being told the truth as to why their compensation can’t be increased at a certain period of time. The manager should follow through by letting their employee know that she believes that they are worth it and will try her best to reward them in the near future.

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