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The Three Causes of High Turnover: Part 2 – Staying in the Room

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If people are leaving your organization, one of the big reasons is the culture of the organization. Some places are just not good places to work. How does that happen?

This is part two of our three-part series on the causes of high turnover. Last time, we discussed how problems in the hiring process can cause people to leave your business. This time, we’ll talk about what happens inside the company.

Empty Room in an Apartment

© Flickr user Ian Burt

Staying in the Room: Culture and Employee Engagement

Let’s get down to it: one reason why people leave is that your company is a terrible place to work. That frustration could arise from one factor or a combination of factors, such as:

The people
– Are your employees working for a micromanager? Are your employees insensitive or overbearing? Do they interrupt people when they are speaking or trying to concentrate? Are they mean spirited or just annoying? If this is the case, you may already know—you’re just ignoring or dismissing it.

The simple fact is that you don’t have to like the people you work with, but you can’t dislike them. If people keep quitting after a short period of time, take a close look at who is staying. And if people are being asked to leave, it’s possible that the the supervisors are being unreasonable. Do exit interviews, and really listen!

The work – If employees seem to have to drag themselves to work and are quick to leave at the end of the day, it could be the tasks themselves that are driving them crazy. Work can’t always be fun, but it should be engaging. This is especially true if someone was hired to do one task and has shifted to “other duties as assigned.” Boring, tedious, or difficult work can drive people away.

Furthermore, sometimes the work is much harder to do because the employee doesn’t have the training, the resources, or the technology to do the work properly. And if there’s no forum to discuss how to get these, they are likely to move along. Therefore, check in with your team members once in a while to ensure that they are engaged.

The process – I’ve seen companies filled with perfectly nice people and where the work is stimulating, but employees are still quitting left and right. The problem is often maddening bureaucracy. It’s hard to get anything done in an environment with crazy company policies that don’t make sense.

For example, some businesses require that you arrive at your desk by 8:00am, regardless of whether or not you have a meeting. Others keep the supply cabinet locked, so if you need a pen you have to find a supervisor. Or, your personal computer has more processing power than the one issued by the company, so you end up bringing it from home. These issues can drive people up the wall and lead them to look for employment elsewhere.

Exit Sign

© Flickr user Adib Roy

Creating a Culture People Don’t Want to Leave

What’s the solution to ensuring that people don’t leave your organization once they find out what’s really like to work there? Communication. Talk about the company. Do anonymous surveys. Aggressively review your policies and procedures. Pay attention to what else is happening at other companies. Be open minded about new ideas.

And remember, it’s the other people that make the most difference. As the Harvard Business Review article explains:

The best thing you can do for employees—a perk better than foosball or free sushi—is hire only “A” players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else.

If you want people to stay, make your company one worth staying at. That’s the secret to keeping.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
@lorraineball First probably depends on the business. But second is likely training, especially with regard to sales. - 4 weeks ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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