Here’s Why Top Performing Employees Leave, And How You Can Prevent It

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“Here’s my resignation letter.”

You probably didn’t see that one coming, huh?

And it wasn’t just from any mediocre employee. It was one of your top performing employees. You’re stunned. You thought everything was going smoothly and he or she was satisfied with their job.

You thought dealing with high performance employees were easy. What could’ve possibly went wrong?

Here’s the deal:

It’s self-explanatory that when you lose your top performing employees, the progress of the company gets affected (in some way).

These employees don’t hesitate to go because they’ve the right skill set that other companies are desperately looking for.

You lose employees when they aren’t interested and engaged with the company anymore.

How did that happen? 

Here’re critical mistakes that make top performing employees leave their companies (and how you can do your best to prevent it from happening):

1) Lack of Discipline

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Imagine a work culture where co-workers don’t obey company rules, and do what they want; coming in late, doesn’t want to work in a team, pushes job responsibilities to others etc. This is the last place any employee who seeks for a serious and committed work environment wants to be.

If co-workers are rebellious and obnoxious with no fear of consequences, you need to get far away from there ASAP. While management needs to properly assert their authority and ensure employees are behaving professionally.

Discipline is a key factor for top performing employees. They want to have fun – but at the same time, they want to be somewhere where everyone fulfils their duties and success is celebrated.

2) You Take Advantage of Them (Even If You Try Not to)

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A company is the life and blood of any entrepreneur. They work hard, made sacrifices and basically achieved the dreams of many others to be where they’re today. And they continue to do so wholeheartedly.

But there’re also bosses who depend heavily on their employees, especially top performing ones. Yes, you value them and want to keep them for as long as possible – but you also tend to rely on them far too often than needed. Feeling guilty yet?

Everyone wants to feel needed, especially by their boss; but too much can make employees feel overwhelmed and eventually cause job burnout.

That’s when they start to doubt whether their time is worth investing here. As a boss, you need to have regularly check-ins with your employees to ensure they’re able to cope and if there’s anything else you can do to lessen their workload.

3) You Tolerate Poor Performance

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The quickest way to send these top performing employees out the door is to ignore and put up with repeated inadequate performance from others. This doesn’t mean they’re perfect or don’t make mistakes at all. They probably had their fair share of mistakes, but the difference is, they look for ways to improve and ensure they don’t repeat the same mistake again.   

Poor performance can hurt a company’s reputation. If you were to tolerate poor performance, ensure you have a valid reason. Top performing employees understand this, and they want to avoid doing anything that could cause any negativity presence to the company.

However, even top performing employees lose motivation and interests for their work when they realise they’re no different from someone who puts in minimal effort and faces no consequences for their actions.

It can’t be helped that in every workplace, there’s a black hole. But bear in mind that one person has the ability to hinder the progress of a team, especially your top performing employees. 

4) You Treat Everyone Equally

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This can be a tough one, and act as a constant dilemma for many bosses.

No one likes workplace favouritism, especially when the person who the boss favours, isn’t them. But workplace favouritism exist.

Let’s be real. We’re humans. We have feelings. We like some people better than others. Period.

The workplace is competitive. Everyone wants to impress their boss. Imagine working super hard, and even helping the company reach a milestone, but your boss doesn’t seem to reciprocate back the way you want him to. Instead, you still get the same treatment as your other co-workers.

This can really hurt the employee’s feelings and make them feel unappreciated. This doesn’t mean you should start treating the employee as your ONLY favourite and neglect the other employees. Rather, show him your appreciation by recognising him in front of other co-workers, or treat him to a meal or even consider promoting him for an advanced position.

To retain top performing employees, you can’t expect to treat all your employees equally. When you do so, you’re showing your top performing employees that no matter how well they excel in their responsibilities, they’ll be treated no different from someone who does nothing more than showing up for work. 

5) You Don’t Recognise Achievements ENOUGH

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Everyone likes to receive compliments; whether it’s from a friend, family member or co-worker.

The little things like a pat on the back or a simple “well done” aren’t so little after all. When you reward employees, it tells them you care and notice the effort they’ve put in. And that’s what motivates them to continue to press on. 

Employees who aren’t receiving enough work recognition have very little to no motivation to get out of their comfort zone.

Think about how YOU would feel if nobody cares or even take a second look at the work you’ve done. You’ll begin to feel empty, sad, neglected and start to doubt your self-worth.

Top performing employees want their work to stand for something meaningful. When you help your employees exceed their limitations and unleash their can-do attitude, they realise that they can do what they initially thought they couldn’t, because of negative self-talk.

Think about how recognition can inspire employees to want to push themselves, take on new projects and challenge their limitations.

Say thank you, recognise great work, acknowledge that something took time and effort to be given to you.

6) You Overwork Your Employees

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Job burnout is an uprising issue happening in the workplace. Employees who feel exhausted, lack of enthusiasm and feelings of frustration are more likely to quit compared to co-workers who feel at ease. Perhaps, they’re shouldering a massive amount of workload, or a lack of financial or social rewards.

You need to feel happy and motivated to be at your best state at work. The same goes for your employees. Therefore, why not start to cultivate and build a positive work environment?

Smart businesses assure management is aware that employees are practicing work-life balance. A terrific way to avoid job burnout is to strengthen the relationships at work by scheduling company activities of fun that boost team morale and job satisfaction.

You can also do that in-house by ensuring a well-stocked pantry or having occasional lunch outs with the team. Be realistic when it comes to assigning projects to employees; not based on getting work done, but ensuring they’re passionate and challenged by it.  

Celebrate employee success and empathise with those facing work challenges.

Take care of your people and they will take care of your business. Click To Tweet

7) You Don’t Explain the Big Picture

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If you think assigning employees “work” for the sake of keeping them busy – soon, they’ll all be leaving.

Employees who see no purpose in their work, have no reason to stay due to lack of satisfaction and rewards. All employees must understand the company’s mission and goals to be able to contribute to the overall success of the company. By doing so, employees can develop a sense of loyalty and commitment towards the company.

This is where communication plays a HUGE component. Employers need to be involved in ensuring employees are informed of important company announcements, and that they understand how different departments work and how each of their outputs play a vital role in the company success.

To encourage knowledge sharing, allowing employees to freely participate in meetings from other departments can allow them to learn and at the same time provide insights altogether.

8) Lack of Awareness

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There’re many circumstances that associate with lack of awareness. Workplace issues that arises from someone’s lack of awareness is not uncommon either.

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We may not have the intention to offend someone, but our actions tell them otherwise. This causes the other party to have a negative outlook on us. Our lack of awareness creates tension and conflict between both parties.

For example, an employee completed a task you asked in a different manner, so you assume he’s incompetent and doesn’t listen to instructions. However, from the employee’s perspective, he has found a better way to compete the task and wanted to get your consent.

Don’t wait till employees realise you’re not a good fit for them. Don’t underestimate the little things, for they may not be that little after all. Make your intentions clear and precise to avoid any negative feelings.

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