You can likely remember at least one moment when a good employee left your organization. It stings. It hangs a dark cloud over morale, makes other employees question their own future, and sends everyone scrambling to cover their work.  Finding a replacement can be daunting with the expense and time needed to recruit, hire, and train.

This year we’ve gone through a mass exodus of employees leaving their jobs.

In July alone, 4 million people left their jobs, widening the gap of job openings to nearly 11 million jobs. On top of that, 55% of people recently expressed that they consider themselves to be “currently looking for work elsewhere.”

There are all kinds of theories and opinions as to what exactly is happening, but in many ways, people are quitting for the same reasons they always have. The difference is that more dramatic circumstances, like the pandemic and scrambling to work remotely, have led to a more dramatic response.

With that in mind, it’s worth revisiting the most common reasons that good employees walk out the door. Here they are:

  1. Failure to engage. If there’s one thing that should be micromanaged, it’s people’s wants, needs, and goals. As people’s lives change and grow, so do their desired outcomes. Defining an employee’s motivations once, and then using those motivations to make decisions on their behalf, will not keep pace with their rapidly changing life. Someone who at one period of time wants nothing more than flexibility and time, may reach a point in her life where she wants higher pay above all else. There’s no way of knowing, except by asking.
  2. Rigid rules and regulations. If there’s one thing that shouldn’t be micromanaged, it’s useless metrics like hours of “butt-in-chair” at the office. People want to be evaluated for the work they’re getting done.
  3. Failure to foster growth. Blocking people from their passions, failing to develop people, not challenging them sufficiently, and failing to engage their creativity…All these actions hinder employees from reaching their potential. When good employees sense that they’re missing any one of the above, you can bet they’ll start dreaming of those other jobs.
  4. Overworking people. Burnout, stress, anxiety, and depression are all too common at work. Encourage work-life balance and set realistic expectations for not just what can get done in a day, a week, or a month, but also what will support their long-term success and well-being. Treat it like a marathon, not a sprint, and you may find that your good employee does the same.
  5. Not honoring commitments. Nothing lets an employee down quite like overpromising and underdelivering. Overpromised bonuses, vacations, opportunities, and promotions…You name it, overpromising burns trust. It also tells good employees exactly the kinds of things they can find elsewhere—somewhere where people follow through.
  6. Hiring and promoting the wrong people. Hire and promote the wrong people, and you’ll not only lose the trust of your employees (especially if you’re promoting someone over them), but you’ll also surround them with people who hold them back from their potential, get in their way, or make the working experience a bit less fun.

From Insights to Action. The list of ways that managers and organizations send their employees packing extends far beyond these six. Addressing every reason individually can be overwhelming and tough to know where to begin. So, how about starting with one easy-to-understand and highly impactful skill set—one that addresses many, if not all, of these issues? Emotional intelligence (EQ).

Emotional intelligence (EQ), or your ability to recognize, understand, and manage your emotions toward positive outcomes and relationships, drives performance at every level of the organization. EQ gives people the skills they need to have important conversations, to hold each other accountable, to give and receive feedback, to effectively manage stress and burnout. That’s why EQ skill development has been linked to significant improvements in retention and engagement across a variety of industries—just check out these studies in health care, finance, hotels and tourism, and sales as proof.

For 66 strategies to improve your emotional intelligence, check out our book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. To learn more about emotional intelligence and TalentSmart’s EQ products and services, contact TalentSmartEQ at 888-818-SMART or visit us at https://www.talentsmarteq.com/contact/