Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Specializing in Employee Opinion and Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Improving the Workplace

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.

Part 1 - The Survey Says,

An alarmingly high 33 percent of employees today intend to leave their jobs within the next few years.

Part 2 - Analysis of the Problem

The 5 major reasons why employees intend to leave are presented below along with our recommendations for retaining these employees. (These findings are based upon a comparison of the views of employees that intend to stay and those that intend to leave.)

  1. "I realize that staying here is unwise for me in the long run."

    Leavers feel they have little opportunity for promotions, personal growth, or pay increases at their current organization. They therefore decide that they would be better off starting anew somewhere else.

    Supervisors should engage in frank, open discussions with employees about their long-term future with the organization. In some cases, employees may discover that they have more potential with the organization than they had thought. Telling an employee that he or she is personally valued by the organization can have a powerful, positive, long-term impact. It is often exactly what employees are starving to hear.

  2. "I feel 'apart from' rather than 'part of' this organization."

    Generally, leavers become psychologically disconnected from the internal grapevine, spirit, and mission of the organization.

    The strongest bond that ties employees to their organizations is "the people." To retain these disconnected employees, organizations must develop approaches for keeping them connected to their coworkers. For example, consider assigning employees to a new work team or sponsoring more social events. Also, encourage more meetings and face-to-face communications rather then relying exclusively on email, which often hopelessly isolates individuals.

  3. "I no longer enjoy the work."

    Leavers are typically unhappy with the actual work they are performing. Most often, this is because they feel their skills and abilities are not fully utilized.

    Continually challenge employees to use more of their skills and abilities. Rotate them through different jobs or work assignments. Provide additional training. Also, enrich their jobs by providing them with more decision-making authority.

  4. "I walk the hallways in fear."

    Many otherwise competent, self-assured employees live in perpetual fear of making a mistake, saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, and losing their jobs. They spend a great deal of their workdays in a constant state of paranoia.

    Organizations that foster a fearful work environment are destined to have a non-committed and paralyzed work force with little ability to act decisively, take prudent risks, or contribute fully. Management must step back and take an objective look at what they are doing to intimidate and stifle employees. A confidential employee survey can also help management better understand these employee concerns.

  5. "I no longer trust management."

    Many leavers feel that management does not treat them with respect and dignity. They therefore view all management actions and communications with cynicism and distrust.

    Once lost, an employee's lack of trust in management is very difficult to restore. To do so requires persistent, continuous openness, and honesty. Increased face-to-face communication is key.

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