How to stop your employees from leaving you

This weekend I was reading an article on the reasons why employees leave.  The article was developed based on the responses of over 1000 employees which were surveyed on what influenced their decision to quit, switch or change companies.

How often, as managers and leaders, do we come across situations when our team members put in their papers?  It is a regular occurrence in the course of a year, right.

The article also very nicely brought out the seasonality of employee turnover…two phases in particular seemed interesting to me; [a] post annual reviews when it is at its peak and [b] sometime in the middle of Quarter 3 when there is a surge in hiring at lateral levels to bump up the capacity for Quarter 4.  I am sure most of you would agree with this.

Ever wondered what are those reasons why employees quit, switch or change companies? 

The article listed top 10 factors along with their impact on employee turnover in percentage values to overall [percentage values derived on the basis of responses provided by employees surveyed].

Well, I was not completely surprised with what was the biggest reason for employee turnover.  Any guesses?

The most obvious reason that comes to our mind in a flash is Compensation & Remuneration, right.  Interestingly it was 5th in this list of factors driving employee turnover.  Wow…and all along we were worrying about our team members leaving because he/she was offered a better pay package.  In terms of percentage value, it influenced only 9% of those who were surveyed to switch or change their companies.

The top 4 reasons cited by employees were the ones which we know, but are hard to register and measure the impact of as they are somewhat intangible.

Below is the table which shows the top 5 reasons along with their % impact.


As it is rightly said…

People don’t work for the company, they work for their leader


People don’t leave the company, they leave the leader

I always felt that pay package was used as a scapegoat to blame for an employee leaving the company but the real reason was mostly never captured and if captured, it was not investigated and analysed and if analysed, no proper corrective measures were put into place – which overall points to the failure of leadership in the company.  I am sure if we review the notes from exit interviews or candid one-on-ones with those who have left the company, what is mentioned in the article would be obvious.

So how do you stop your employees from leaving you? 

This is a vast topic in itself which spans across leadership, systems and processes, performance management, career path building etc. etc.  But if I were to mention one very important factor to curb employee attrition/turnover then it would be faith, trust and belief you share with your team members and employees.  I believe if the team members have faith in their leader’s ability to help them succeed, then I am sure they will remain loyal to their leader despite any odd failures of the leader.

In this article, I have tried to suggest a few very simple things which can help one build and retain the employee faith, trust and belief.  I have tried this and it has ensured one of the lowest attrition rates for my teams across 10 years of my career.  But before I do that I would like to talk about the types of leaders which I think is important.

In my view, there are two types of leaders; Traditional leaders and Transformational leaders.

Traditional leaders see the employee-boss relationship as a transaction, money in exchange for labour.  Whereas the Transformational leaders know and recognize that employees want much more than that.  In my view, it is the transformational leaders who see it as their responsibility to help their team members succeed and provide them with an environment to develop and grow as professionals.  These are the leaders who understand that key to organization’s success lies in providing an environment which ensures the success of his team members, if they succeed – the organization will succeed.

Below are a few things which would help your team members succeed and you in winning their faith, trust and belief as a leader.

Genuine Respect and Affection.  This may sound a little touchy-feely, but if you possess genuine respect and affection for your team members, then you are more likely to have a focused concern that is exclusively for that person’s good.  Your team members would automatically come to see and understand that you truly care about them, believe in their abilities and want to help in shaping their future in the right way.

Spend time understanding each of your team members and developing his/her Growth Path.  No one wants to be exactly where they are forever.  Create a culture that allows your people to grow and expand by giving them challenging assignments, training and developing their skills to maximise their potential to succeed and realise the growth they could have.

Give them a sense of Fulfillment and recognize their Contribution.  A feeling of fulfilment is by far the best feeling you could give your team member, he/she then becomes your believer in your vision and very willing partner in your efforts in building the team.  Also sharing with them what their contribution was and how it helped achieve a unified goal goes a long way in building the trust and faith in you as a leader.  Emphasize the ways that their work matters to the organization and how much you value their contribution.

Share a Vision and give their tasks a Meaning.  We are meaning-seeking creatures.  Share a vision that demonstrates that all of your team members are engaged in a larger purpose – a unified goal to achieve and demonstrate how the contribution of every single individual is equally vital and would help fulfil the purpose.  This will add sense and a meaning to their tasks and their contribution, and will make them feel valued.

Give them a responsibility for something you know they could do well, even when they are about 60-70% ready for it.  Mentor them and stand by their side to help them succeed with that task.  This way you not only boost their confidence but you also are building their skill sets which will help them in their growth.

Let me ask you a question at this point.  What do you expect from your senior?  What would make you decide to move on?  If your answers match the factors and pointers quoted above then these are the same factors and pointers which will apply to your team members too. 

So take a moment and make a decision…would you like to be a Traditional leader and continue losing your valued team members or would you rather be a Transformational leader and retain the talent?

Happy Employee Success and retention! [I assume you’ve chosen to be a Transformational leader]

Explore posts in the same categories: Leadership, People Management, Team Building

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