Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Do Your Best Employees Quit?

I’ve been thinking about the Champlain College Workforce Development Center’s Online Human Resources Workshop “Finding and Keeping the Best People” beginning in a few weeks and wondering why good employees leave seemingly good positions and move on. Is there one overarching theme, or a wide variety of reasons? So, as a good librarian, I did some research. What I found left me with more questions than answers along with some skepticism.

Posts from consultant’s web sites lean heavily on bad management behavior as the top reason employees leave. That may be true, but when the next sentence proposes their management coaching program as a solution, I begin to question the research.

Posts that rely on information gathered from exit interviews also leave me wondering. Are most people really honest with human resources during an exit interview? We have all had it drilled into us to “never burn bridges” that I seriously doubt any valid conclusions can be gained during an exit interview.

Also, I’m not convinced that people are really, truly honest with themselves about why they quit. It is a lot easier and safer to say “another company offered me more money or a promotion” than admitting a personal or organizational failure to yourself, family, and friends.

Obviously, there is more than one answer to this question, but one thing is certain. Keeping the best people first requires finding the best people; this means making sure there is a good match between the job and the applicant. The position must make the best use of an individual’s skills and abilities.

Ask yourself these questions?

Hiring managers – Are you truly honest with yourself and the applicant about the position, expectations and organizational culture?

Applicants – Are you truly listening to the hiring manager to determine if the position is a good fit for you, or are you just focusing on “winning the job”?

What are your thoughts on “Finding and Keeping the Right People: HR Best Practices”? Tell us what you think and join our online conversation by enrolling in this workshop beginning November 1. For more information and secure online registration, visit

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